BU News

Week of Esri conferences begins with focus on education

July 09, 2018
Lindsay Yossef

Lindsay Yossef and Sheila Steinberg lead the presentation "GIS Across the Interdisciplinary Curriculum" at the Esri Education Summit (Esri UC)  in San Diego on July 7.

Sheila Steinberg

Professor Sheila Steinberg talks about how GIS concepts, problem-solving, communication, data analysis and critical thinking are included in Brandman University courses, including Integrated Social Science and an MBA emphasis.

Building bridges was the theme for Saturday’s 2018 Education Summit in San Diego, and Brandman’s multiple representatives were doing just that. 

Professor Sheila Steinberg, Ph.D., and instructional designer-adjunct faculty member Lindsay Yossef, Ed.D, offered a presentation that highlighted Brandman University’s interdisciplinary approach to adding geographic information system aspects to multiple courses and degree programs. They were joined by Associate Vice Chancellor of Instructional Innovation J. Murphy, Ed.D., for a second presentation that highlighted the university’s role in developing workforce professionals through Brandman programs that emphasize real-world GIS concepts.

Others from Brandman, including faculty members Jalin Johnson, Ed.D., and David Long, J.D., were, in the words of Johnson “soaking up information like a sponge” by attending a variety of presentations, networking with business leaders and discussing ways that GIS could be added to other courses at the university.

The Education Summit leads off a week of Esri Conferences that bring educators, businesses, students and GIS experts together to learn about the latest advancements and share their approaches to using GIS.

At the Education Summit, that included presentations on how universities use GIS to both advance academic programs and manage transportation problems, hands-on presentations about the basics of GIS and how other universities are using GIS courses to do more than train GIS professionals, much the way Brandman does.

Brandman's Associate Vice Chancellor of instructional innovation, J. Murphy, explains the collaborative process used to develop Brandman courses involving GIS.

All the Brandman representatives said they were eager to attend the Business Summit taking place through July 10. 

“Attending the business conference helps us develop ideas about our programs,” said Yossef. “It gives us a chance to see the variety of ways businesses use GIS.”

Steinberg said Brandman’s approach is different than many other universities, which emphasize developing professionals whose primary role with a company is using Esri tools. “Our emphasis is on concepts and not point-and-click learning about Esri products,” she said.

That approach drew questions and approval from those attending their sessions. 

“You need more than GIS skills,” said Camelia Kantor, director of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, which promotes building a community of interest across industry, academia, government and professional organizations. “Brandman’s emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving is really important.”

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