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Sari J. Bennett

Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1977
Clinical Associate Professor, Director of Geographic Education
211 Sondheim Hall


Research Interests

Economic geography, geographic education

Recent Research Activities

I presently hold the position of Director of Geographic Education within the department. For the last two years, I have also served as Geographer-in-Residence in the Geography Education Outreach Program of the National Geographic Society. Since 1989, I have been the Coordinator of the Maryland Geographic Alliance. The Alliance is jointly funded by the State of Maryland and the National Geographic Society. Each year for the last seven years, the Alliance has had funding of $100,000 to strengthen the teaching of geography in grades K-12. The Alliance uses its funding to finance several types of initiatives. These include: the development of lesson plans, sample assessments, and other materials for teachers to use in their classrooms; the presentation of workshops for educators throughout the state; and the teaching of Maryland teachers through two-week summer institutes held at UMBC. Approximately 800-1000 teachers annually have been involved in Alliance programs. Our efforts to improve geography instruction have been particularly strong in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Charles, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s and Washington counties.

In 1995, I served as the Director of the National Geographic Society’s Instructional Leadership Institute. This program brought 100 teachers from throughout the United States to Washington, D.C. for a five week institute focused on political geography, diplomacy, and teacher advocacy. In the summer of 1999, I will be co-director of a geography assessment institute sponsored by the Society in Colorado. Over the last year, I was part of the writing team that produced “The World of Learning: The Complete National Geographic Curriculum Supplement.” This work was judged the “Best New Education Software Program” by the Software Publisher’s Association.

Courses Taught

Human Geography, The Location of Economic Activity, Metropolitan Baltimore, Global Patterns of Production and Trade

I also teach a course designed for undergraduate students interested in being certified to teach social studies at both the elementary and secondary level.