Center for Spatial Studies

Center for Spatial Studies

At the inaugural Esri Geodesign Summit held in 2011, the University of Redlands celebrated almost two decades of developing a “spatially infused learning community.” Building upon groundbreaking efforts that began in the 1990s, University of Redlands faculty, administrators, and students have expanded spatial endeavors throughout campus, as evidenced by our internationally recognized MS GIS Program, new Center for Business GIS and Spatial Analysis, innovative Institute for Spatial Economic Analysis, Learning Spatially (LENS) Initiative, and the increasing interest and enthusiasm of faculty and students across the University.

The Spatial Studies minor, introduced in 2013-14 in the College of Arts and Sciences, already has 32 declared students. The Center for Business GIS and Spatial Analysis in the School of Business has led efforts to enhance spatial infusion in curricula within the broad framework of the liberal arts and build a niche in business GIS instruction and scholarship that supports internationalization and community outreach. The School of Education is exploring ways to revitalize its spatial literacy emphasis. Faculty and students across the University have found creative and exciting ways to use spatial thinking in anthropology, biology, chemistry, economics, environmental studies, gender studies, history, government, religious studies, and sociology.

The Center for Spatial Studies (CSS), which opens on July 1, 2014, will move the University of Redlands to an even higher level of excellence in this discipline. A benefit of the new Center is that faculty and students will have greater access to staff who can help them integrate spatial thinking and technologies into instruction, research, and service to the University and community at large. Additionally, with its expertise in spatial analysis, programming, project management, and fund development, the Center for Spatial Studies will support the efforts of faculty to secure sponsored projects that contribute to scholarship and instruction at the University.

Located in Lewis Hall, the Center for Spatial Studies will be directed by Dr. Steven Moore and staffed by Nathan Strout, director of spatial technology; David Smith, spatial instruction manager; Lisa Benvenuti, spatial resource manager; and Vani Nellaiappan, spatial applications specialist. Ruben Ortiz, systems manager, will further support the CSS and other spatial programs at the University. The new Center for Spatial Studies will build upon the legacy and accomplishments of the Redlands Institute, which will be phased out and closed over the next six months.

"The mission of the Center for Spatial Studies will be to help faculty and students think and act spatially, using geographic information systems (GIS), the Global Positioning System (GPS), remote sensing, photogrammetry, scientific image analysis, concept mapping, emerging cloud tools for integrating narratives into visual representations, and even art, movement, and dance," said Dr. Moore. "Through the Center, we will support faculty and student efforts to measure, interpret, and think critically about spatial patterns in data from nanoscales to the cosmos; to visualize the consequences of alternative futures; and collaborate to make better choices for our planet and ourselves."

By increasing its support for integrating spatial studies into the campus community, the University of Redlands will reinforce its reputation as an innovator in higher education. Few institutions of higher education have attempted such a broad integration of spatial reasoning and professional practice into their teaching, scholarship, and research. The new Center for Spatial Studies benefits from its close relationship with Esri; the legacy of the Redlands Institute as an innovator in spatial decision support systems; the leadership of the University's acclaimed MS GIS Program; and the foundation laid by the LENS Initiative. Spatial thinking is a key habit of mind for the 21st century. The University is proud to support this important effort.

Posted: June 30, 2014


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