Kent State Geography Professor Elected President of American Association of Geographers
David Kaplan, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State University, has been elected president of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), the premier academic and professional geography organization in the United States, for 2019-20.
“It is a huge honor for me to lead the flagship organization for geography,” said Dr. Kaplan, who previously served as vice president of the association. “Not only is the American Association of Geographers the largest geography organization in the United States, it is also the most important geography organization in the world, with many members from other countries.
Dr. Kaplan said his goal as president is to expand the community of geography.
“I want to make the AAG relevant to more people who educate students at smaller colleges, community colleges, historically black colleges and K-12 education,” Dr. Kaplan said. “I also want to make the organization more relevant to people who work outside of academia but who are trained geographers. Most geographers work in the private and public sector, and we have to do more for them as an organization. I will have accomplished my goals as president if, at the end of my term, people consider the AAG to be broader in scope and more inclusive.”
Dr. Kaplan is also an American Geographical Society (AGS) Councilor and editor of the society’s flagship Geographical Review journal.
“My election provides a wonderful opportunity to forge closer relations between the two great American geography associations: the AGS and the AAG,” he said. “I look forward to looking for ways in which we can complement one another.”
The presidents of the national disciplinary associations nearly always come from flagship state universities, like the University of Wisconsin or UCLA, or Ivy League schools, so Dr. Kaplan is one of the few people from a non-R1 university – the first person since 1976 – to become president of the American Association of Geographers and the first individual from Kent State to ever serve in the position. R1 universities are doctoral universities with very high research activity, according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Kent State is classified as an R2 university, a doctoral university with high research activity.
“Geography is fundamental to the way we understand the world because it allows us to see how society, places and the environment affect one another, as well as how spatial distribution and location explain how and why things happen,” Dr. Kaplan said. “The American Association of Geographers represents most U.S. geographers and is the go-to organization for geographers from around the world. As a result, we can emphasize the importance of a geographic perspective – critical in issues such as climate change, racial segregation, international tensions and economic development – and we can work to bring geography to greater numbers of people.”
Since joining Kent State in 1995, Dr. Kaplan has written about 60 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, and has published more than 10 books. His research interests include nationalism, borderlands, ethnic and racial segregation, urban and regional development, housing finance and sustainable transportation.
For more information about Kent State’s Department of Geography, visit www.kent.edu/geography.
About the American Association of Geographers
The American Association of Geographers is a nonprofit scientific and educational society founded in 1904. The organization – which comprises approximately 12,500 members from the United States and 100 countries worldwide – has contributed to the overall advancement of geography. Its members share interests in the theory, methods and practice of geography. For more information about the association, visit www.aag.org.
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David Kaplan, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Geography at Kent State University, has been elected president of the American Association of Geographers for 2019-20.