Awardee: Guillermo Douglass-Jaimes, Assistant Professor of Environmental Analysis
Guillermo Douglass-Jaimes is an assistant professor of Environmental Analysis at Pomona College. He is an interdisciplinary social scientist, using critical GIS and community mapping to reveal the links between place and health through a Just! GIS. His work is situated in global health equity and is driven by an interest and inquiry in how conceptions of place and identity can be products of social marginalization as well as sources for community resilience.
Title: Just! GIS: An Inclusive, Participatory, and Collective Learning Model for Intro and Advanced Geographic Information Systems Courses
Goal: To develop a series of tutorials and templates for learning QGIS, ArcGIS Pro, and ArcGIS Online to be used in EA 101: Just! GIS I; and EA 102: Just! GIS II, courses that aim to bridge the practical, theoretical, and ethical demands for GIS
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) act as the unseen infrastructures for gathering, managing, and analyzing data that is or can be mapped; guiding policymakers, businesses, communities, and individuals to make important decisions. Unfortunately, as Guillermo Douglass-Jaimes has pointed out, “the representation of those leading the field does not match the broader demographic trends of college-age students [learning these tools], nor does it match our own student body.” Douglass-Jaimes, however, will not stand for exclusionary practices based on hierarchical structures—he aims to redesign his own EA101 and EA102 course, respectively, anticipated to be appropriately renamed Just! GIS: Introduction to an ecological and social justice oriented geographic information systems and Just! GIS II: Advanced Geographic Information Systems.
Bringing in the work of Critical GIS, a subfield of GIS emphasizing layered depictions that offer a more nuanced view, Douglass-Jaimes hopes to bridge practical, theoretical, and ecological and socially just ethical demands of GIS. The redesigned courses will actively seek to create an environment where students with varying levels of computational skills feel comfortable as they work with data sets and problems focused on environmental and health inequities. To achieve these lofty plans, Douglass-Jaimes plans to work with four teacher’s assistants, who will likely take the redesigned advanced GIS course themselves, thereby creating a self-sustained system wherein students serve as mentors and educators to students taking the introductory GIS course; these select students will have the opportunity to develop GIS tutorials catered to the outlined goals of enhancing individual competency in GIS, fostering an inclusive community, and promoting the development of resources that can reflect GIS updates. Future students enrolled in the course will be given a template to create their own tutorials that can benefit community partners and address real-world problems, as well as be asked to evaluate the effectiveness of tutorials and course content. All this work will culminate into an open-source PressBooks that will help shed light on the innumerable possibilities of GIS when positioned in a collaborative learning model.
In the time since the project’s conceivement, up-to-date and up-to-ethics tutorials for ArcGIS Pro, QGIS, Google Earth, and ArcGIS Online have been created, allowing for class field data gathering exercises to occur. What remains then is to complete the evaluation phase, though it can generally be gathered that the project has been successful in integrating a collective learning model into introductory and advanced classes.