Dr. Patrick L. Lawrence, professor and chair of The University of Toledo’s Department of Geography and Planning in the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences, has been elected to the National Council of the American Association of Geographers, a nonprofit scientific and educational society founded in 1904.
“They are the predominate professional organization for geographers both in academia, like students and faculty, and those who are employed in various fields but are trained as geographers,” Lawrence said. “There are more than 10,000 members from professionals to students, and it’s become much more of an international organization.”The council is the governing body of the association and consists of 15 elected officers and councilors and the executive committee’s executive director and most recent past president.
“I’m looking forward to the experiences,” Lawrence said. “I’ve served on other national boards, but to be able to participate in my predominate professional organization at the national level is very exciting. In our department, we are constantly looking at how to be innovative and how to improve our programs; we are always thinking about our students and what will benefit them, so I’m excited for the opportunity and hope a lot of what I learn can be brought back to apply here at UT.”
As part of his three-year term that began July 1, Lawrence will represent the East Lakes Division of the association as its regional councilor where he previously served as chair of the division executive committee. The division has more than 500 American Association of Geographers members from 20 member colleges in Ohio and Michigan.
“The regional councilors have a unique role in that we are the voice of our region,” Lawrence said. “Typically twice a year, we meet as members of the national council and give a brief overview of what is happening in our respective regions: what the challenges are, does it have to do with education, outreach, faculty hiring or resources.”
Additionally, Lawrence is the chair of the President’s Commission on the River, which played an integral role in the restoration efforts on the portion of the Ottawa River that runs through the University’s Main Campus. He also is part of the UT Water Task Force that was established last summer.