Chestertown, MD, February 25, 2003 — A $123,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and an anonymous $100,000 foundation grant will help Washington College establish an new transdisciplinary Geographic Information System (Trans-GIS) program at the College. Trans-GIS is state-of-the-art computer-based technology for community and environmental planning, resource management, and business planning. The Trans-GIS program will be structured to include students from across the College's curriculum—computer science, business management, environmental science, archaeology, sociology, history and other disciplines—working with faculty to create a computer-based graphic and analytical GIS tools useful to the Eastern Shore region.
“The ultimate goal of having the Trans-GIS program at Washington College is twofold,” said John Seidel, assistant professor of anthropology and environmental studies, who will develop the program. “First, Trans-GIS will enable Washington College students to learn and understand GIS technology, which is rapidly being applied to subjects ranging from mapping the historical past to planning sustainable futures. Familiarity with GIS will make them more competitive in and prepared for today's technology-based fields. Secondly, Trans-GIS will be a resource in the region through which Washington College students under faculty supervision can become involved in real-world projects that address significant environmental and social concerns on the Eastern Shore.”
The Trans-GIS program will be administered through Washington College's Center for the Environment and Society, which is coordinating outreach programs for the Eastern Shore, such as the recently implemented Rural Communities Leadership Program developed in collaboration with the University of Maryland's Institute for Governmental Service and funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.
“The Center is especially interested in the working landscapes of the Delmarva Peninsula,” said Dr. Wayne Bell, director of the Center for the Environment and Society. “GIS is a powerful analytical tool that helps us assess how land uses such as agriculture, forestry, and conserved open space are distributed in the region today and, through more informed planning, how such working landscapes can be sustained in the future.”
The Trans-GIS program is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, founded by the son and daughter of the famed business entrepreneur, banker and philanthropist Andrew Mellon in honor of his memory. The Foundation currently makes grants in six core program areas: higher education, museums and art conservation, performing arts, population, conservation and the environment, and public affairs.