Welcome new MAS-GIS Director Stephanie Deitrick
Stephanie Deitrick became Lecturer in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning in January 2011, and effective in May, is Director of the MAS-GIS program, the Masters of Advanced Study in Geographic Information Systems.
Stephanie is a current doctoral student in the geography program, and in the last several years has been a top-rated instructor in the school. In the undergraduate geography program, she has taught Geographic Information Technologies, Cartography, GIS I, GIS II, and Quantitative Methods. She has also developed and taught the new graduate-level GIS for Planners course, and this Fall taught the first two courses in the MAS-GIS program.
Here, Stephanie discusses some aspects of her new position and her own studies:
What are your responsibilities as Director of the MAS-GIS program?
I’m responsible for administrative aspects of the program such as staffing, budgeting and interfacing with ESRI. In addition, I teach the two first courses in the program, Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Intermediate GIS. My experience as co-owner of a local traffic engineering firm has given me experience with many of the administrative tasks involved in running the MAS-GIS program.*
In addition, I will work with the program’s executive committee to evaluate and re-focus the program as needed.
What changes do you see in the 2011-2012 program curriculum?
We’d like to be sure that by the end of the first semester, students have not only learned GIS software, but can take a problem and figure out how to carry it out using GIS. To this end, the last 3 courses in the first semester will build on each other, introducing GIS project design, proposal planning, implementation and creation of a technical project report and presentation.
The second semester will begin with a three-week introduction to programming, including Python, customizing ArcGIS desktop, and programming in GIS in general. This class will provide students will tools to be able to incorporate programming into their work in the 4 courses that will be taught through the remainder of the semester: Programming in the GIS Environment (which will include database programming), Data Technologies (including GIS, Lidar, Remote Sensing, etc.), GIS for Business (including demographics and business-focused software), and GIS for the Internet.
What is the focus of your own studies in GIScience?
My experience in transportation GIS and engineering studies spurred my interest in the use of GIS for decision making in public policy settings. GIS and geographic products are used more and more to support decisions that impact society and most aspects of our lives. Many of these decisions, such as those related to population projections, transportation planning and water planning, are inherently uncertain, and GIS has the potential to help decision makers address these uncertain conditions. My research focuses on identifying and communicating this uncertainty to decision makers.