The W. M. Keck Foundation has awarded a three-year, $250,000 grant to the University of Redlands for a project entitled LEarNing Spatially (LENS): Infusing Spatial Thinking into Undergraduate Education. This funding creates new opportunities for faculty and undergraduate students in multiple disciplines within the College of Arts and Sciences to use maps, mapping, and spatial perspectives in their teaching, learning, and research. Specifically, this award will support faculty development through fellowships and workshops, student opportunities through internships and collaborative research, and the development of innovative technological applications.
From the LENS website:
LEarNing Spatially (LENS) is a campus-wide initiative promoting spatial literacy as a foundational component within a liberal arts university. This is the outcome of 10+ years of Redlands’ dedication to spatial thinking in curriculum, programs and research. Spatial thinking – the ability to visualize and interpret location, distance, direction, relationships, movement and change through space – is at the core of our work. Our initiative represents a lead effort in understanding how geospatial technologies can be linked to the greater pedagogic objectives of critical thinking and problem-based learning. We are not just teaching a tool, but a way of thinking. Our approach develops student and faculty capacity to explore the spatial nature of multiple disciplines in order to generate insights that drive active learning. LENS harnesses the integrative power of geography with technologies to help faculty and students visualize knowledge, solve problems, and understand relationships through a spatial lens.