PUTTING IOWA IN ITS PLACE
The Geographic Alliance of Iowa (GAI) was established in 1991 with the support of the National Geographic Society (NGS). It joined NGS’s Geography Alliance Network, which sought to support statewide partnerships between academic professors and K-12 teachers to provide professional development and networking. The Network was founded and structured in recognition that American educational reform must be implemented at both state and local levels, and that quality and preparedness are the critical success factors of educational programs.
The GAI is housed in the Department of Geography at the University of Northern Iowa, the premier teacher education institution of the region. It is composed of K-12 teachers, college and university professors, personnel from a variety of educational endeavors, and citizens. The GAI is the only entity in Iowa specifically devoted to geography education, with the mission to help ensure that K-12 graduates are geographically literate citizens. To achieve this, the GAI provides resources and expertise to improve the geographic literacy of Iowa students. With a focus on both K-12 education and pre-service teachers, the GAI provides exemplary professional development opportunities and offers accessible, high-quality standards-based curricular materials.
Informed by external stakeholders and grounded by educators in the field, the GAI aims to increase the number of Iowa school districts that provide stand-alone geography courses and to more systematically infuse geography skills with STEM, history, literacy, and other content areas. The GAI is committed to cultivating an active network of geography educators who will contribute innovative means for advancing geography education in Iowa.
Iowa Geographic Education Endowment contributors:
• Communications Data Services Des Moines IA
• Principal Financial Group Des Moines, IA