Gwenda Rice, professor emerita at Western Oregon University and co-coordinator of the Oregon Geographic Alliance (OGA) at Portland State University, has been awarded the 2013 Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education. The Association of American Geographers (AAG), the largest professional organization of geographers in the United States, presents the award annually. It is considered to be the highest honor in the field of geography education in the United States.
A statement released by the AAG said, “Professor Rice has utilized her experience and dual professional preparation in both Geography and Education to reach a broad audience of K-12 teachers and students, university students, policymakers, and academic colleagues.”
Rice’s dedication to the fields of Geography and Education is manifest in a thirty-plus year career filled with contributions and achievements. Among them, in her role as co-coordinator of the OGA, is helping to develop, fund, and publish the Student Atlas of Oregon (winner of the 2012 Geographic Excellence in Media Award) and its Spanish language counterpart, El Atlas de Oregón para Estudiantes. Additionally, at OGA she has helped create, teach, and direct numerous Summer Geography Institutes for K-12 teachers held both in Oregon and abroad; develop and publish a manual for creating, funding, and implementing a Family Geography Night; and guide the development of state Geography standards, curricula, and assessments.
Nationally, Rice has served as President of the National Council for Geographic Education and has contributed her expertise in geographic education to assist in the efforts of the National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, and the Association of American Geographers.
According to the AAG, Rice has “changed the face of geography education in Oregon.” She has received the honor “for her sustained efforts to establish and lead the Oregon Geographic Alliance, her national leadership role in geographic education, and her strong and abiding commitment to developing and implementing best educational practices both inside and outside the classroom.”