Colleges and universities convene to share successes and challenges at USGIF GEOAcademic Summit
USGIF hosted a GEOAcademic Summit in October at its headquarters in Herndon, Va., bringing together nearly 30 members of academia to discuss ideas, resources, achievements, and challenges. The summit was structured as an interactive forum for leaders in GEOINT higher education.
In attendance were representatives from colleges and universities affiliated with USGIF’s Collegiate Accreditation Program as well as experts from several guest schools.
“This was my first year organizing and coordinating this event,” said USGIF Director of Academic Programs Dr. Camelia Kantor. “While I already had several opportunities to meet with academics from USGIF-accredited schools, the summit allowed me to feel the strong ties that unify this select group of leaders who have built successful GEOINT certificate programs and continue to contribute to the growth of the discipline. It was an honor to speak to such a distinguished audience and a reminder of the role USGIF plays in supporting this group and in building, stewarding, and growing a stronger community dedicated to GEOINT.”
Themes throughout the summit included the professionalization and increased visibility of GEOINT, the need to broaden the discipline, the development of a career pathway to include K-12 outreach and community colleges, and the use of the GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge competencies as a standard curriculum framework.
The first day kicked off with each of the schools presenting an overview of their respective geospatial programs. This was an opportunity for participants to learn how their programs compare with those at other institutions. The group also participated in a visioneering session in which they rotated to different tables and answered essential questions regarding GEOINT career pathways. There were tables representing K-12 education, two-year/community colleges, higher education, professional certifications, and career mentorship. The discussion was documented via a graphic recording.
Day two of the summit focused on professional development to ensure USGIF-accredited programs continue to adapt to changing tradecraft and that USGIF’s GEOINT Certificate continues to be awarded to students meeting high academic standards.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Boundless, and Hexagon Geospatial each gave presentations on what resources and services they can offer academic organizations.
“This year’s summit was a success,” Kantor said. “Based on the feedback it was informative, motivating, engaging, and a great opportunity to connect with peers.”
Designed to expand opportunities for students enrolled at HBCUs by providing on-site job interviews, networking, and information gathering, USGIF participated in the HBCU Week 4th annual Career and Recruitment Fair to spread the word about careers in GEOINT.
USGIF has awarded more than $1.6M in scholarships since launching the program in 2004. This year's winners represent a diverse and multi-talented group who demonstrate a shared desire to impact change through the use of geospatial intelligence tradecraft.