Franklin and Wentz named presidents of national associations

Two ASU faculty members, Janet Franklin and Elizabeth Wentz, both professors in ASU’s School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, recently began terms as presidents of national professional associations.

Franklin took up her position as president of the U.S. national chapter of the International Association for Landscape Ecology (US-IALE) in June. Landscape ecology is an inter-disciplinary field that focuses on understanding ecological processes at the landscape scale and improving land management.

After two decades of involvement with US-IALE, Franklin said she was particularly pleased with several ways that US-IALE had developed, including, “a manageable size (about 400 members) – just right for meaningful professional interactions, very strong support of student involvement, and a membership composition that includes academics and other professionals.”  

According to Franklin, the chapter she heads up will be very busy during the next year preparing to host the IALE World Congress, held once every four years; the Congress is scheduled to convene in July 2015. 

While overseeing the Congress preparations, Franklin will continue her research which concentrates on the dynamics of terrestrial plant communities, with a particular focus on the impact of human-caused landscape change.

Wentz, who is director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, became president-elect of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS). UCGIS announced Wentz as the 2015-16 president this June following an organization symposium.

The UCGIS is a non-profit organization that aims to advance research in geographic education and to promote ethical use of and access to geographic information and technologies. Established in 1995, UCGIS is comprised of over 60 affiliate institutions. The organization is a hub for the GIS research and education communities.    

Wentz said that as president of UCGIS she hopes to bolster the organization’s leadership role both within academia and with federal agencies and private agencies. According to Wentz, GIS has developed very rapidly in the last decade and the next few years will be a great time to even further broaden the field’s impact.

“GIS is now a multi-billion dollar industry that is embedded in government, private industry, and in academia,” Wentz said in a speech to the UCGIS. “I’m hard-pressed to think of a field of study that hasn’t at some level considered how spatial thinking and analysis can provide insight into or solutions to their problems.”

While serving as UCGIS president, Wentz will continue her role as director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, and further pursue her research and teaching focused on the design, implementation, and evaluation of geographic technologies with emphasis on applying these tools to study and understand the urban environment.