Geospatial Education — Multiple Pathways for Success

Hello, and welcome to another
Directions Media webinar sponsored by the Pennsylvania
State University. Today’s webinar focus is
Geospatial Education– Multiple Pathways For Success,
Surveying the Community College Educational Landscape. Hi, my name is Joe Francica. I’m the editor in chief of
Directions Magazine, and I’ll be your host along with Wes
Stroh of Penn State who will be your moderator today. We’re going to focus on the
choices that individuals have in both their career in
education paths in geospatial technology, and we
thank you for joining us for this webinar. As you can see on the map that
will be presented to you, we have a large global audience
that has registered over 250 people who are joining us
today from a variety of industries including advertising
and insurance and transportation, as well as in
education, and some of you who may be looking for jobs. Regardless of your industry
affiliation, we’re confident that today’s webinar will have
something of value for you. We’re also going to honor
your time today by finishing within the hour. We also encourage you
to ask questions. This is certainly you’re time. In your control panel there’s
a section called questions. You can open up that dialogue
box, and you can do this at any time during the webinar And we’ll respond to as many of
the questions that you have in our session at the very
end of our webinar. Whatever questions we are not
able to field in the allotted time, we will certainly be sure
to follow up with you in an email after the webinar
has concluded. So don’t hesitate to
ask questions. Also what I wanted to remind you
of is that we’re going to be taking a few polls today. So we ask you to really
respond to those as straightforward as possible. They’re going to help our
panelists determine what your interests are. So it really helps if you give
us some feedback on that end. Finally, a copy of today’s
webcast is going to be recorded, and all of you who are
registered for today will be receiving an email with a
link that you can view this on demand at some future time. You can certainly pass that
on to colleagues as well. And we’re also going to
take a brief survey when we have completed. So as you exit the webinar
today, we’re going to see how you thought that we’ve met
your expectations. So please give us some feedback,
maybe tell us what you like to see in a future
webinar as well. If you’re not familiar with
Directions Magazine and all of the things we have to offer at
the Directions Media, we have two daily publications, our
flagship product, Directions Magazine, as well as our All
Points blog, The longest continually running blog. That will keep you updated
on breaking news in the geospatial technology sector. We also have the industry
channels. These are specific to
your interests. We have channels based on remote
sensing and state and local government and location
intelligence. So we ask you to check
those out. I think that will be a helpful
way to keep up to date for the news of the day. We also want to remind everybody
that we have our Rocket City geospatial
conference for 2011 coming up, November 15 and 16th
in Huntsville. Finally just a few thoughts
on what’s going on today with our webinar. We’re going to address the
opportunities in geospatial education for those entering
college or those currently employed, but looking to
increase their skills. We will also present information
for educators, and how a new set of guidelines
are helping to provide self-assessment of course and
curriculum development that enables them to teach the
skills most in demand by today’s employers. We’re at a critical juncture in
geospatial technology where there will be more jobs
available than the number of trained professionals
that exist. So while your skills may be in
demand, it may behove you to take a look at how to make
yourself even more valuable as community colleges to
offer more training. It’s now my pleasure to
introduce Wes Stroh. Wes is an instructor at Penn
State in their online certificate and master’s
in GIS program. Wes has a BA in history from
Arizona State University and also a degree a certificate in
network design analysis from the University of Denver. Wes, it’s my pleasure to hand
over the events of today’s webinar to you. Thanks for hosting. Thanks, Joe– and probably
more important a masters in geography. I’m pleased that everybody’s
joining us for our fifth webinar in the series
Inside Geospatial Education and Research. And I’m also pleased to announce
that we’re going to be continuing the series
into the coming year. We’ve enjoyed the partnership
with Directions Media, and we look forward to bringing you
many more interesting topics inside our entire enterprise,
but focusing primarily on education research. Before I continue on to the
agenda though, we have our first poll of the
webinar today. And we’d just like to get the
audience all kind of in tune on what everybody’s background
is on the call today. And so regarding geospatial
education, you currently possess no formal training or no
formal credential, you have an associates degree relating
geospatial education, perhaps a bachelor’s degree in
geospatial education. Maybe you’ve finished your
bachelor’s and have done some kind of professional or graduate
certificate in geospatial education. Or perhaps you’ve got
a master’s or more advanced degree. So go ahead and take a couple
seconds there, and choose the one that fits you. We’ve got about 60% of
our audience voting. We’ll give you a couple more
seconds there, and I think we’ve got some interesting
results today. We’re at about 85% now. Give it just a couple
more seconds, if you don’t mind Joe. We seem to be slowing down in
the voting, so maybe we can go ahead and close the poll. And I am certainly interested in
our results today, a little surprised frankly. 29% of you are indicating you’ve
got no formal training or credentials, so hopefully
we’ve got something really of value for you. Many of the rest of you may be
at some other point in your career considering what to
do next, or you may be an educator thinking about what
to do with your students. And so you’re definitely on
the right call today. On our agenda, I want to thank
Joe for welcoming us and for giving us some thoughts to
consider as we progress through today’s call. I’m pleased that we have joining
us today Ann Johnson, who is going to address the
career path conundrum, as we’ve decided to call it, and
think a little bit about the role of community colleges in
education, specific to the geospatial enterprise. We also have Dr. Phil Davis
joining us, director of GeoTech and faculty and director
of Del Mar College GIS program. He’s going to talk a little bit
more about that program, and then hopefully paint a
bigger picture on GeoTech, at which point Ann is going to
come back and help us understand what work GeoTech is
doing regarding the GTCM. And the GTCM, if you
were on last fall– last September’s webinar, the
first one in our series– is the geospatial technology
competency model. And it also has an impact on
those new job categories that the Department of Labor
announced for our field last year. And we’re going to talk about
how that affects programs and workforce skills. So it’s really important in
terms of professional development. And it’s one of the reasons
why we’re stepping out of talking about the Penn State
program today, because of course lots of programs, lots
of educational institutions are engaging with the GTCM with
the new job categories, and with thinking about how to
assess their programs and make sure that their programs are
best preparing their students professionally for
the workforce. I just want to give us a quick
nod to our recently departed, but certainly not forgotten
former program manager David Dibiase. This process and program and
research was very close to his heart, and it’s one of the
reasons why we’re including in this series. David is now out at ESRI in
Redlands, having left the Penn State family this summer. But David was very involved with
Ann and Phil, and we’re very pleased to be bringing
this important work. So at this point I’d like to
introduce Ann Johnson. Ann is the associate director of
GeoTech, retired from ESRI in 2010 after 13 years as the
higher education manager. In that role she helped colleges
and universities develop GIS programs, was one
of the editors for the GIS&T body of knowledge, was part
of the working group that developed the criteria for
qualifications to become a GIS professional, holds a BS and
an MS degree in geology. And in 1995, while teaching
earth sciences at a community college, became interested in
geospatial technology through the GIS for the 21st
century NSF grant. Ann is really committed to
helping community college educators introduce spatial
thinking, geospatial technology, and all related
topics to students. And Ann also has a special
place about working with educators to help build the
geospatial workforce. Ann, welcome. Thank you, Wes. Traditionally, at least in the
US, the steps up the stairs of education did not include
community colleges. Parents hoped that their
children would successfully progress from primary to middle
to high school, and along the way somehow decide
what they wanted to be when they grew up. Young adults with their diploma
in hand either went to a university to continue their
higher education or went right to work, and then looked to a
lifetime, lifelong career and retirement. Community college was seen as
a stopgap measure for those students that could not qualify
for admission to a university from high school or
who couldn’t afford to go to university. It was viewed as a way to get
two more years of education to qualify for a specific vocation
such as respiration therapist or nursing
or construction. No longer are these the
only roles though for community colleges. Workers no longer stay in one
career for a lifetime. They need to be able to change
career pathways multiple times as technology renders some
careers obsolete, and opens new careers that did not exist
before, or maybe their current career requires new
technology. The work force must be
lifelong learners, understanding that they will
have to update, upgrade, to retool their skills for an ever
changing career pathway. And this can happen
multiple times. Community colleges are
one place to do that. As new skills and competencies
are identified by industry, the workforce can acquire those
skills and competencies at colleges by taking specific
courses or earning additional certificates and degrees
as needed. There are almost 1200 two-year
colleges in the US. They may be called community,
technical, junior, or tribal colleges, but all
focus on lower division courses and programs. Many do offer associate degrees
that lead to transfer to a university, but they also
offer varying length certificates in many different
disciplines. That include geospatial
technology. These certificates can provide
that multiple path opportunity for the lifelong learning with
programs that are low cost, cater to the local needs of
their community, with flexible schedules for the workforce,
and pretty basic admission requirements. Many also now offer online
program options. For geospatial education,
community colleges have been developing programs since
the mid 1980s. This map from the GeoTech Center
web page includes the locations of those colleges. There are more than 450 here
with some type of geospatial programs, including standalone
courses, certificates, or degrees. I’d like to introduce
Dr. Phillip Davis. He’s the director of GeoTech
Center, but today he’s going to be wearing the hat as he
directs the program at Del Mar community college. Thank you, Ann. Hello everybody, my name
is Phillip Davis. Again, I’m from Del
Mar college. You can see our logo and a
picture of our new West campus there, also a map showing the
three campuses around the bay there in Corpus Christi,
Texas. We are located South Texas
just south of San Antonio about two hours. We are what I would call a
combined rural urban area. We are a town of about 250,000,
surrounded by a million acres of agriculture and
ranch land, one of which might be the King Ranch. I’s like to talk a little bit
about Del Mar’s program in terms of what we offer as an
example of GIS, and then we will look at two students. Are program, our GIS
program started in 2000 with an AAS degree. In that time we’ve educated
about 100 graduates, 8-10 annually. More than 90% of these have
been employed in the geospatial field within
the local area. Less than 10% of these, however,
have transferred to upper level college. And there are obstacles
in areas here that we’re working on. A majority of our students are
older than traditional. They Are greater than 26 years
of age, and most of them are seeking retraining in technology
to expand their career options. I’d like to look at two
of our students now. This is JoMaidy Lozano. JoMaidy came to our program
in the fall of 2003. She is a Hispanic single
mother of three with no college education. She attended part time for three
years, focusing on her GIS technology courses
while working part time at other jobs. I was her internship instructor,
and placed her in an internship with American
Electric And Power in 2006 where she has been there since
2006 working full time with their GE small world
GIS application. And she is truly one of our
success stories this is the type of person that we serve
primarily here at the community college. As a matter of fact, JoMaidy
has come so far in terms of her own professional development
along with her academic development, that we
asked her two years ago to actually sit on our industry
advisory board. So if you could imagine a woman
coming to us with no formal education, taking our
courses, going to work at a major electrical corporation
here in the US, and coming back within just a short period
of about five years and being asked to sit on
an advisory board. That shows you the path that
community colleges can offer nontraditional students. The other thing that’s kind of
interesting about JoMaidy is she has not actually completed
our degree yet. Our second student here
is Lee Yorns. Lee, again, is nontraditional. She’s a single mother, retired
military actually. She spent 20 years
in the US Army. She’s recently divorced. Two of her adult children
still live with her. Her background is in computers,
so she had a good background for the technology
in terms of coming in. But basically before she retired
was something that was of interest to her, found GIS
through one of our GIS days, became very interested in it,
and decided that she just going to go ahead and
come to Del Mar and complete her GIS degree. There we taught her ESRI
products and other technology pertinent to what she needed
for her employer. And Lee, about a year ago, was
placed in an internship with EOG, which is Energy Oil And
Gas, one of the large energy companies in south Texas. We are a primary
petroleum area. And she performs your
typical desktop technician pipelines there. Because of her age, her advanced
age in terms of college students– Lee is on the plus
side of 50– she shares with us that she
has no intention of going beyond her AAS degree that she’s
now earned, because she is only six to seven years
away from retirement. So she’s quite happy with where
the community college has been able to place her. So these are good success
stories, I think, that give us an ideal of what you can do. Now I’d like to talk a little
bit about Del Mar’s college itself, the program,
the GIS program. We started the program in
2000 with an AAS degree. At that time that seemed to be
to the correct function, it was purely a technician
degree. We assumed students would be
coming in from high school with no academic hours. That program served us very
well, I’d say, for the first five years. We’ve noticed that a lot
of students now are nontraditional in that they
have started to come in seeking, not a full AAS degree
which can take two to three years to complete, but actually
certificates. And so that’s what we’re
focusing on. The other thing about our
program is we do articulate with a local university, Texas
A&M University, which has a four year geomatics and
surveying program. But because they require such
heavy math, university calculus and calculus based
physics, just to enter as a freshman, that’s been a real
barrier for our students. So we have moved away from the
traditional 60 to 70 credit hour associates degree, and more
towards a 20 to 30 credit hour, because what our local
industries are telling us is, they need people with the
GIS skills immediately. And, again, a lot of these
people are, as you have seen, older, and they have the
professional skills through life experience,
a lot of them. Our program– if you’ll go to the
next slide– our program, like a lot of
programs nationwide seek certification or identification
with some kind of skill standards. So Del Mar program is unique
in that we do align with what’s called the Texas
skill Standards Board. This was a standard that we
helped establish on a local, or statewide level here in the
state of Texas back in 2007. And then we had to basically
petition against the TSSP to be able to review. We received their gold star
award, and now our students have these seals that are
on their certificate. And that was an industry
standard. That standard led to, or help
complete the GTCM which you’ve heard a little bit about. And Ann will talk a little bit
more in just a second here. And the GTCM is a nationwide
standard, where of course the TSSP is one example of
a state standard. Our program is going to undergo
review like many of our partners over the next year,
and we do intend to be completely compliant and
aligned with them by the fall of 2012. Some of our local employees have
enjoyed employment with such large companies as American
Electric And Power or EOG Resources which have, of
course, offices across the US. So I would say utility companies
are certainly a big user of our graduates. The Local Appraisal District,
Texas Department of Transportation– Corpus is a town of a lot of
small engineering firms. So a lot of surveying
and engineering firms have used us. We are, like I said earlier, an
agriculture community with high precision agricultural
sales and service. And then, of course, your
typical municipal and county governments which are always
large in numbers of employers in most two year programs
across the nation. Our pay scales have ranged from
the mid 20s when we first started to the mid
30s currently. The thing I would like to say is
that we now have graduates like you have seen, like
JoMaidy, that I’ve been in a job steadily for five
to seven years. So I think we have some good
long term success, and we would like to continue so. All right, thank you. Thanks Phil, and we’re going
to turn to poll number two now, as we kind of try to make
this connection between the educational experience and
this thing we’ve been mentioning called the GTCM or
the Geospatial Technology Competency Model. Some of you may recall, if
you were on the call– the webinar last September where
we investigated this very specifically with
David Dibiase. And we want to really relate
that your own professional development. Again, we’re doing that some
from the community college perspective today, but we’d like
to know how many of you even know what the
GTCM even is. So if you can choose from
the choices we’ve got– yes, and I actually understand
how the competencies helped me define my professional growth,
yes I know they exist, but I really don’t understand their
value, or maybe you’re thinking to yourself, what
the heck is the GTCM. So go ahead and take a minute. No surprise here that over
half of you have already suggested that you’re not
even really sure what the GTCM even is. Well we’ll talk about that. We’ve got about 77% in. I’m just going to give it a few
more seconds here Joe, if you don’t mind. OK, and that’s probably good. I think we’re tapering
off right there. Not entirely surprised here,. If you take a look at the
results, 21% of you say that you do know what the GTCM is
and you understand how the competencies relate. And my guess is that we have
a lot of educators in that group, because folks are really
tuning in to how, as educators, we need to be using
the GTCM to think about finding our curriculum. 27% of you say yes, I know they
exist, but I’m really not sure how they relate. Well hopefully we’ll answer some
of those questions here in a minute. And for the 52% of you who don’t
know what the GTCM is, hopefully we’ll investigate
that for you as well. And we’ll have some links at
the end so you can do some follow up, which we’ll
also email you in our thank you letter. So hang onto that thought if
this is all news to you. Go ahead and hand it back to
Phil for a second here. And Phil, I think you’re going
to talk briefly about GeoTech and then the introduce
Ann again. Thank you. The center itself, which started
in 2008, we are a collection of 10 colleges
and universities from coast to coast. And our goal is to create sustainability among our programs. One of the things that really
challenges two year community college programs is, how do
we sustain these in tough economic times? We’re challenged by curriculum,
we’re challenged by industry, a lot of times
we’re challenged by universities that we serve
in terms of trying to articulate with them. And so what we have done at the
GeoTech center is we have tried to use a national standard
which is a GTCM to help align our two year
community college programs, so that we can say that we truly
do meet industry standards, because we are primarily
charged– most community college programs
are charged with serving a local industry. And so we are trying to generate
sustainable in our programs in terms of making sure
that our curriculums are all aligned in some fashion,
if we can with that. And so that I would say is
probably the most important thing that the center offers. To expand beyond our
geographical boundaries at Del Mar we do intend to incorporate
distance learning programs into our current
face to face. We’re also looking at blended,
hybrid mode instruction face to face and distance learning. We would like to reach out
to remote students. We know there’s a lot of
underserved students in the Houston area, for example, which
is about 250 miles from Corpus Christi. There are programs up there
that simply cannot produce enough technicians for the oil
and gas, so we would like to be able to reach those
underserved students. Through [INAUDIBLE] to connect with better
instructors, if you will, some of the best instructors
through remote. Finally our goal is to become
100% aligned with the GTCM model courses and
certificates. I think that Ann is going to
talk about that here next. Thanks, Phil. This is our logo from
GeoTech Center. The GeoTech center is a National
Science Foundation grant for advanced technology
education, and our primary mission is to help community
colleges better meet the needs of the industry for qualified
a geospatial workforce. The GeoTech Center community
college program map indicates where the 450 colleges are. We do know that there are more
than the 450 colleges that are shown here, and we hope if
you’re college is not listed, you’ll send is the information
to add you to the program. But what we have learned though
from our research in creating this geo-database is
that program content and length of programs vary a great
deal, because there are no standards as to
what should be included geospatial programs. So there is a problem. How can a community college
determine what our program should be, include, and
what should be taught in those new programs? For geospatial technology
defining the content of a program has been a problem. It’s also been a problem for
colleges and universities. In fact, the number one question
I would hear from educators of higher education
manager at ESRI was, what should I teach? What should my program include,
and what skills and competencies should
be covered? Educators would ask if there was
any standards on which to base the curriculum. And the answer was
generally no. In 2006 the university
consortium for geographic information science published
the UCGIS body of knowledge. This helped identify the breadth
of knowledge for GIS and P, but it wasn’t easy
to use to create a course or a program. Then the Department of Labor
began creating competency models for high demand
industries. These Department of Labor
employment and training initiatives created the
competency model structure to really to help define the skills
and competencies that are needed by the workforce
for specific, high demand industries. This is a pyramid of building
blocks, and it’s designed to be comprehensive
and accessible. It is available from
the website. It’s not just a static
document. Each of the blocks are linked
to more information about a specific skill. By clicking on a box another
page will open, and you can see the details. The GTCM is built on tiers that
start with, at its base, the foundational competency,
and then you can see the personal effect of this. These are the ones that almost
every occupation would include very similar ones. But as you move to higher and
higher tiers, the blocks become more and more specific
to a DOL defined occupation. The geospatial industry is one
of 19 industries that have had a competency model studied. It was in draft form when
the GeoTech Center was funded by the NSF. GeoTech began helping the
Department of Labor with the lead by David Dibiase to
finalize the draft GTCM. The full details of this whole
process and the methodology is available from the archive
Directions webinar. In June, 2010 the Department of
Labor did approve the GTCM with tiers one to five. It Included more competencies,
those foundational ones, but also workforce and industry
sector competencies. Here six and seven are
occupational specific competencies, and these
weren’t defined in the original draft and approval. These are being defined by the
work of the GeoTech center through a process called
DACUM, or developing a curriculum. It’s a process where you bring
8 to 12 expert workers in an occupation, put them in a room
for two days, and have them sit down and say exactly what
they do, how they do it, and what skills they think and
knowledge they need to do their work. The center is most interested
in, though, the technician and technologists level
occupations. But I need to emphasize that the
GTCM and the define skills and competencies are for all
levels and all classes of occupation, and that can be used
by geospatial researchers and scientists as well
as the technicians. For the center, luckily, the
Department of Labor has also created new occupational code. It’s on that site list, the new
occupational codes, and provides links to each of those
occupation, that you include some skills
and competencies. If you click on any one of the
occupation titles you can get more information, and it
includes a salary range. So it is pretty interesting. But it is rather limited in
scope, and it really doesn’t provide enough information for
any one to create a curriculum or to know exactly what the
skills and competencies are for any specific occupation. You can see the different
ones there. They’re bright for
green technology. What the GeoTech Center did was
to create a new program assessment tool based
on that the GTCM. It was created by a GeoTech
partner, Chris Semerjian, at Gainesville State College, and
is based on a tool that David Dibiase from Penn
State created. It’s an Excel workbook with
spreadsheets that could be used to assess a program or the
skills and competencies of an individual. Again, while it was created by
the center, this tool is also good for any level of program,
whether college, university, or even a graduate program. In fact Penn State has used it
to assess their program. The workbook has spreadsheets
listing the GTCM competencies. You can see the scale up at the
upper part at line 6 to 10 where it goes from zero or
no awareness to five with synthesis and evaluation. So each one of the competencies
are based on a Modified Bloom’s Taxonomy. Each of the lines, then, are
filled out using that scale. The assessment tool could be
used by an individual to evaluate their knowledge or
indicate areas where they need additional training, or it could
even be used by industry to indicate the knowledge
required for a specific job opening. This is an example of the use of
the GTCM assessment tool to assess the program at
Gainesville State College. The graphic circles can help
visualize the focus areas the program, identify gaps, and help
faculty to better align the topics across the
certificate program. I know it was very informative
when Penn State completed theirs. Looking at record 14 and seeing
how the different courses in the program address
the topic from, if you look at the first column in the intro
to GIS for interpersonal skills, it was rated
as a three. So comprehension and
application, you can see as they go through different
courses they were stressing different levels. And by the internship it’s
a five where they’re synthesizing and evaluating. This program assessment tool can
be used by students too to look at a program. So if I’m a student coming in, I
can see maybe what courses I should take in order to get
the skills that I need. This Excel document is available
from the GeoTech center website. We’re also creating an online
version of the tool, which will be available soon, as
well as a new tool that’s really specific to the skills
and competencies for geospatial technicians. Well, again, this is a list. Even though we now have the more
completely GTCM, we still need more information to better
create a curriculum and curriculum guidelines. The center is working on
providing workshops for educators to come in and create
course outlines for specific courses. We’ve already created the
outlines, one for an awareness course and one four introduction
to geospatial technology course. We’re going to do two more
workshops for academics in September in Denver on two
additional courses, one is spatial analysis and the other
one on data management acquisition. In all we hope to complete at
least eight model course outlines, and we
hope to include additional DACUM advanced. We’re focusing on remote
sensing as our next set of DACUMs. The final steps, though, would
be to take these outlines and create example model courses and
example model certificates so that someone wanting to use
these would have really good examples of models. I want to stress that
their models– it is still very important to
have a local industry advisory committee to help you modify
them to meet the local needs. Future activities that you may
hear about or be interested in, I mentioned the two
workshops for the model course outlines, but also we’re going
to hold a geospatial educator summit in May in Atlanta,
Georgia. And we hope to have, not only
community colleges, but also to include K-12 and university
educators. We want to have the models and
the assessment tools there, and we want to discuss how all
of these can be used to create programs, create articulations, and identify GE courses. One other exciting activity of
the center is the new National Geospatial Technology Skills
Competition for community college students. I mentioned too that many of
our students are working professionals that have degrees
already that are coming back for that retooling
for their lifelong careers. And for the competition itself,
the round one is an exam based on the GTCM. In round two the students create
a six minute video of a project they’ve created
which are judged by a panel of GISPs. The top six are then selected to
go on to round three, which is presentations and judging
at the ED UC conference in San Diego. Right now the registration is
open for the next round. The exam will be available
September 1, and we will have six students going on
to ESRI next summer. So do you want to give us a
brief recap of what’s going on at the center and how you may
be empowering some colleges? Yeah, like Ann said, we will
be completing these model course outlines, hopefully by
the end of summer 2012. They will be out on our website
in what we call a SCORM compliant format that is
a content management system, or course management system like
Blackboard or Moodle or Desire2Learn or Angel. We will have them packaged so
that educators can download them, expand them onto their own
course management system, and begin using them with some
modifications for their local industry needs pretty quickly. Also I’d like to point out that
we do have an upcoming webinar with Directions
Media in November. I believe it’s scheduled during
the geography week, and it might even be scheduled on
GIS day, which is pretty neat. And we’re going to talk solely
on the GTCM, because by that time we will have completed
four of these courses. We will have a lot more
knowledge about exactly what this material is going to look
like that we’re going to be producing by the next summer. And I think especially the
educators at all levels., K-12, secondary, and university
will be very interested in that webinar,
which will be hosted here on Directions Media. Certainly people from industry
would be interested in that, because what we’re trying
to do, again, is get the alignment of the academic
programs and our graduates closer and closer to what the
industry has said that we really needed. So I’ll conclude
with that, Joe. Great, yeah and I think that
webinar is going to be on November 17, so we’ll watch for
notices for that event. Thank you. Thanks Phil, and thanks Joe, and
thanks Norah for popping up that November 17 date just
once again if folks want to mark that on your calendar. And I want to pop up the
additional resources slide. Thanks for getting that Joe. Don’t worry folks if you can’t
jot all this down, it’s quite a lot. We’re going to have a follow up
note coming at you thanking you for joining us today. And so in that we’ll include
a whole bunch of resources including how do you access
the geospatial technology competency model, which is
at How do you access the Directions
Media Penn State webinar last year, on which we
had David Dibiase talking about the GTCM and the new
geospatial job categories from the Department of Labor. There’s a real long URL for
that, but we’ve got that archived, and you’re welcome
to look at that, too. In addition, some of those job
categories that Ann was showing, you can go to, search geospatial, and that’s where
you’re going to come up with the job categories that
then feed to the GTCM. And lastly, we want to, of
course, provide a link to the GeoTech which is And I think now we
have, actually, plenty of time for questions. And as we turn to our panel, I’m
actually going to ask Joe Fransica to join the
panel today. I’ll be handling the questions,
although I might have to answer one or two from
the Penn State perspective. But one thing I do want to point
out for our listeners, and you’ve been watching the
content from this webinar. You can see that we’re really
talking to two audiences here. We’re speaking to students and
folks in the workforce who are thinking about how to apply
this stuff from personal perspective. We’re also speaking to educators
who are thinking about how to apply this in their
program management and curriculum development. And so as we work through the
questions, I’m going to try to kind of craft those
to our panel. We’ll focus on either one
audience or the other, or be real distinct on who they’re
speaking to. Our first question that we
want to start off with, I think, is definitely coming from
the student side of the prospective. A lot of people upon
registration asked variations on the same question, which is
how can I advance or improve my professional skill set? And I think that that’s probably
the single most important question, which is a
good place for us to start. Phil, would you like to begin
responding to that one? Sure, there’s a lot of
possible answers to that one, Wes. But I would say what makes
community colleges unique is that we do change our curriculum
based upon what industry has told us they
need, so we can change pretty quickly. I would also say that if you
look at community colleges, their geospatial programs,
you’ll notice that a lot of their offerings are certificate
based, which I think expressed earlier, was a
real desirable option for a lot of people trying to retrain
or retool themselves, especially if their post
baccalaureate, and maybe they’ve already got a bachelor’s
degree in geography or chemistry, biology, whatever
it might be, and they’re looking for a skill that
will get them into a new job or maybe qualify them even
within their current organization for a new job. Certainly one of those fast
track certificates, one year at a community college
is a good option. Also you have to think what
skills are in demand, and that’s going to vary
from area to area. But I know probably the number
one skill that we’re seeing for our two year graduates or
people from certificates from two year programs would be if
you can code in languages that are used in geospatial, then you
certainly have a leg up on your competition. Thanks, Phil, thank you. Ann or Joe, do either of
you want to take that? Maybe Joe, do you want to take
that from the perspective of what you’re seeing kind
of from the journalist perspective in the industry? Well the best way to really
enhance your professional development is read as much as
you can out there, and really try to more closely define what
it is your interests are. I mean there’s a lot of
passionate people out here in geospatial, because it’s a fun
technology to be in right now, both from the enterprise side,
where people are working on spatial analysis and getting the
job done for a variety of both commercial and
government jobs. Then of course, there’s the
whole mobile issue– mobile location based services
really has yet to pop. We see a lot of basic
applications out there, navigation some tourism
applications, but really we haven’t scratched the surface in
all the things that will be going on in the mobile field. So I would put it in those two
camps with the enterprise and the mobile side that people
may want to look at. Thanks, Ann do you have
anything you want add? Yeah, I would say the other
thing is that people have, whether you’re students or
you’re in the workforce right now is that you have to think
about your own professional development, your lifelong
learning path. And go out there, and you may
not know exactly what the next thing is that is coming along,
but there’s a lot of opportunities to learn
new things. And whether it’s at Penn State
or community college, take control of your own lifelong
learning and you’re career pathways in your professional
development. Don’t stop. I think that’s a great
perspective, and one thing I’d add to that is when you’re
enrolled in a program and when you’re taking courses,
talk to your faculty. They’re great resources. And so many of us in the
geospatial realm come from an applied background. We like to talk to students
about that kind of thing. Ann, I’d like to direct this
question you, and if any others want to jump on to it–
but I think we’ve addressed it in the webinar, but I think it
certainly merits underscoring. A few folks– and this comes
from the educator’s side of the audience– have asked, how can we better
align our curriculum to industry standards? I think we’ve certainly answered
that question, but is there anything you’d like to
reiterate from today’s call? I think, really, take a look at
the program assessment tool that’s out there right now,
especially if you’re a four year institution. That’s an excellent tool. Go through, have your faculty
look at it, find out what they’re teaching. Because what many institutions
are finding is that the same topic may be taught in three
different classes, but they’re not increasing in the
depth of knowledge. So maybe in your later courses,
increase the level at which you teach specific
things. The other thing is we’re going
to come out with a new assessment tool that’s specific to entry level programs. So keep watch for that one. It’s going to have some very
specific things that are much more oriented to the more
hands-on approach of most community college programs. Ann, can I have a follow up
there, because we had a question come in just after the
presentation today, and it relates to something
you just said. And I am guessing this is from,
perhaps, someone who’s a little newer to the field
asking, can you help me understand really what are you
talking about when you talk about an entry level course
versus an advanced course? I think some of us on the call
are probably really familiar with that term, but that may be
a new way of thinking about things for some of
these folks. That’s a good question. Many graduate university
programs, the students already have the domain expertise, and
they just need to learn a tool to advance analysis within
their program. So those programs tend to be
more analytical, maybe using higher math skills or maybe
very research oriented. So they’re developing new models
and new applications. Entry level ones tend to bring
in students where they learn the basic concepts of the topic
as well as practicing those concepts with
hands on labs. So the entry level, the
awareness courses for non working professional type
people who want to just understand what spatial thinking
and geospatial is, where the intro course gives
you that broad basic skills that coming in. I hope that answers. I think that’s a good answer,
and I think that that’s probably what the individual
was getting at. And if that question doesn’t
answer it, contact one of the educational institutions you’re
interested in, and ask their faculty that
same question. But I think we’re on the
right track there. Let me just address one thing
before we get too far into the questions, because I do want to
have our panelists address the whole issue of the GTCM and
what the heck the GTCM is, because so many people didn’t
know what it was. Let me just frame what
the competency model was supposed to do. Because the Department of Labor
identified geospatial technology as a key career for
the next 10 years, it was really important to define what
the basic skills were that a typical GIS profession
would have. And a GIS professional is broken
down by several of their different career levels
and career and occupational specifications. There had never been anything
before like that. There was never any definition
of skills or what comprised what a geospatial technologist
was. This was an attempt to actually
define, at a fairly refined level, each of the
different skill that a person in this occupation
needs to have. So relating back to the first
question, which is what do I need to teach, you ought to look
at the model and see what the industry believes are the
skills that should be taught and should be acquired before
getting into a job. And I served on the GTCM model
committee, and we made a really good attempt at getting
very, very specific at these individual skill sets. And it wasn’t a skill set
like you should know how to read a compass. I mean it was very, very
detailed in terms of knowing– like if you’re doing remote
sensing, knowing what a classified image would be, and
how you go about classifying a satellite image. I would advise people who are
teaching at any level to just give up a fairly in depth look
at that model and what we tried to do with that. So I hope I answered some of
that, and if you have any other follow up questions,
please put that in the chat window. Thanks Joe, and thanks
for inserting that. Phil, do you want to grab on to
what Joe just said at all, or should we move on to
another question. Sure, I would add that and
another thing that the GeoTech Center has done is they’ve taken
the DACUM process that Ann talked about earlier
to the next level. And I’m no sure this has ever
been done before, but one of our researchers, Sean Johnson,
has taken a number of DACUMs dating back 10 years that have
been done in different areas, combined them with the four or
five DACUMs that we’ve done since 2008, and he’s extracted
out what you might call the common competencies for
a GIS technician. And the neat thing is
he has vetted these. So he put together– I forget how many– probably 200 people on all
these panels combined together, 100 to 200 GIS
technicians, and then he vetted that with a much wider
audience and had something close to 1,000 responses
come back with this. So we’ve taken the details you
find in the GTCM and probably expanded on those and refined
them a little bit to the next level. But the important
thing is we’ve vetted them with industry. So by the time this process is
done, this quick development thing that we’re doing for this
next year, and when we have this discussion late July
2012, we will have these four to eight course modules out
there that Ann and I had been referring to. Thanks, Phil. I think the one thing I’d like
to add to that is, and just to really, really simplify this
down to the essence, for those of you that are really new and
on this call and are not clear about everything we’re talking
about, it was important for those job categories to be
created, because it gives us a visible space to occupy in the
labor market where our industry is clearly defined as
an entity that has a defined set of competencies and purposes
in the job market. The GTCM helps us define further
what the building elements of those job
categories are. The program assessment tool that
Ann was talking about is a way for educators primarily,
but certainly also for industry and individuals, to
look at how is a course and or a program meeting my needs
and preparing for those competencies so that
I can fill one of those job category. So it all fits together, and
it’s quite complex, but it really does fit together
very neatly. Phil I really wanted to grab
on to something you talked about on one of your slides
which was trends that you’ve been seeing in community
colleges in addressing the industry skill demands. maybe you can reiterate a couple
points you made, and talk a little bit more about
what you’re seeing at the community college level. Well, again, one of things that
we’re seeing is a need for a lot of programming. And software drives this
industry, I mean GIS is a software industry, part of IT,
and that’s even the way the Department of Labor lumps us
under, computer science information technology. And scripting languages and
programming languages, those are the most sought after
needs, I would say, foremost right now. It’s one thing to be able to
just use a desktop GIS, a canned package, or the ESRI or
Open Source, or Intergraph, or SmallWorld. The next level is to be
able to customize it. And so if you can take the basic
vendor’s package and customize it through programming
languages or scripting you are so much more
valuable than the next person. Ann, do you have any comments? I would say also Joe mentioned
mobile, but also web based. So much is going on to the web,
and skills that allow you to create applications
that are not only desktop, but on the web. And then of course cloud
computing to get familiar with, and how that works with
the geospatial industry, too. Thanks, Ann. We have a lot of question it
seems, and there’s three more that I’d like to try
to get through before we wrap up today. I think this next one
is a great one. And since we have so many newer
folks on the call, I’d really like maybe Ann and Phil
to take this one on. A number of folks have asked,
how can I make the decision between a community college
and a four year university experience? What should I be considering,
and I think that’s really valid for these folks. Ann, do you want to take
this one first? I can. But one of the things most– there are few universities now
that are offering bachelor’s degrees in GIS and
other related. There’s a lot that offer
bachelor’s degrees in other disciplines with a minor or
a certificate in GIS. I would say that anyone coming
out, I’m very much in favor of everyone at least having
a bachelor’s degree. But if you are already prepared
with a bachelor’s degree in a discipline, and
are looking for a really interesting field, then go to
the community college and add on to your domain skills, those
specific skills for geospatial technology. Yeah, and again it depends on
where you’re at in your own life cycle. If your post baccalaureate,
you have to choose between maybe a master’s degree
or a certificate. Should it be a post
baccalaureate certificate or an undergraduates certificate. Again some people, because
of geographic and family commitments and geographic
limitations a community college, local community college
may be their only alternative. Yeah, it’s a great point. Oh, sorry Phil. I didn’t mean to cut you off. Yeah, with distance learning
there’s so many options out there, that there just weren’t
just five years ago. There were two choices for a
master’s program, now there’s 167 at the last count. So they need to avail themselves
of the information. Yeah I do think there’s a number
of things at play here. There’s certainly geography and
constraints based on one’s individual life, and is online
learning appropriate versus resident courses? And which does a particular
student feel like they do better in? So that’s certainly something
to consider. And I just want to follow up
with what Ann and Phil said that an organization like Penn
State, and of course we have to blow our own horn here for
a second, has a postgraduate certificate in GIS education
as well as a master’s. And those two programs fulfill
different needs for different individuals. Some students come and do our
post baccalaureate certificate and then eventually continue on
to the masters, which had then formed the foundation for
that masters experience. And we had another question
that I think dovetails nicely with this. An individual from South Africa
asks, or it mentions there are not a lot of
educational opportunities in the geospatial realm
in South Africa. How much of this is online? Well I have to, of course,
representing Penn State say our entire program is online,
so please visit us at But Phil and Ann in your
research and through the GeoTech center, what portion of
programs are you now seeing available to students online? That’s a really interesting
question. Actually, as we go through and
update the national map of colleges, we’re asking that
specific question, how much of the program? I doubt anyone knows for sure,
but I know more and more of the colleges are putting their
program online too, At least one or two of their classes. And maybe that is a real
good way to start. Take an online class, and see
what you think of it. And then looking at your needs
and what occupation you want to have at the end, is to
look at Penn State. I mean coming out with
that kind of a degree, it’s really a– I don’t say a ticket to
a really higher level occupation, but the workforce
looks at different educational levels and degrees, and
then the jobs that go along with them. And Wes, I would second what
Ann is saying, that we will have more precise information
about exactly where these online degrees are being
offered whether it be a certificate, associate or
baccalaureate when we complete building our college database
and then push that out on our website with the online map
that’s out there right now. So our users will be able to
drill down into quite a bit more depth and find out
where the contact is. I would mention right now one of
our partners, in San Diego, California offers a 100%
online certificate. So you might look at that. That’s Tin Yanow, Y-A-N-O-W at
Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California. Thanks, Phil, and thanks Ann,
and I’d like to direct this– this might be our
last question, we’ll see how it goes. But this one’s real specific,
but I think it’s really valid, and I think it’s valid for the
students and the educators. I’m just going to go ahead
and read it verbatim. Four years institutions
are very interested in establishing articulations with
two year institutions for geospatial technology
coursework. I can envision a pipeline from
community college programs to colleges and universities in
the future as this process matures and as the geospatial
workforce needs increase. Can you bring us up to speed on
what progress has been made along these lines? They’re also thanking
us for the webinar. I do just want to say
one thing here. This is something that was
always of interest to my former boss, David Dibiase. The notion that you should be
able to take your coursework experience, and it should be
somewhat portable, as much as can be allowed with
institutional barriers. What do you see out there
as trends with your work in GeoTech. One of the things that I think,
again, is that program assessment tool is going to
allow high schools, colleges, and universities to look at
content of their courses and have some way to communicate
exactly the level and type of content each of those
courses have. So I can see that we’re, I hope
that it’s going to be a tool to help increase
articulation. It is happening, it’s usually
on a very one to one instance right now. We have San Diego State
and Southwestern articulate their 101 class. We hope in our activities in
May, 2012 to get educators together to really work
on articulation. Phil? Yeah, and also we have
state-wide initiatives. For example in California
they’re trying to come up with a career path way where you
can go from a 60 hour associates straight into
a baccalaureate with little to no loss. And they’re also trying to drill
that down all the way down to the spatial
technology field. So the progress is being made,
Wes, I would say nationwide, but it’s a slow battle. That’s all I can tell you. It’s a slow process. We’re at the top of the hour. I want to answer one real
brief question. Somebody asks, what’s
Penn State’s relationship to all this? Well if I haven’t made that
clear enough, our former leader, David Dibiase, was very
involved with Ann and Phil on this work, and was
leading up the programs on the DACUM and some of the
identification. And so we’re, of course,
really eager to be good neighbors and friends with all
of our colleagues in the educational enterprise
with this regard. I want to hand it back off to
Joe for in any remarks from the Penn State perspective. I just want to thank all of you
for joining us, and we’ll try to follow up with some of
the unanswered questions in a later email. Thanks, again. Thanks, Wes. And we thank all of you
for your questions. That’s all the time we have. To all of you who joined us
during the webinar, we appreciate you taking
the time to tune in. Thanks to Penn State for
sponsoring the webinar series. And certainly to Dr. Phil Davis
and Ann Johnson from the GeoTech center today. We hope to see again on the next
Directions Media webinar. Please join us for our weekly Directions On The News podcast. That’s syndicated on iTunes,
where we will keep you in touch with all things
location. Bye for now, and be sure
to tell a friend about Directions.

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