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Applications Open For University Libraries GIS Instructional Development Grants

By skennedy on February 26, 2019 4:44 PM | Permalink

The University Libraries is now accepting applications for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Instructional Development Grants. The grants promote and support faculty exploration of GIS tools and methods in the design of research assignments that allow students to visualize and critically examine information in novel ways.

Three faculty will be selected for this inaugural year of the GIS grant initiative. Selected participants will gain expertise in integrating GIS into course curricula through facilitated workshops and assignment design consultations. The first of these experiences will be a workshop on Monday, May 20 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lied Library. Participants will work closely with librarians and the Data Visualization and GIS Specialist to identify core concepts of GIS, brainstorm assignment ideas, and articulate learning outcomes and activities for their GIS assignments. After the initial workshop, each participant will collaborate with library partners to create GIS assignments for their courses. 

What is GIS?

A geographic information system (GIS) is a framework for gathering and analyzing data. Rooted in the science of geography, GIS integrates many types of data to analyze spatial location and organize layers of information into maps or 3D scenes. ​GIS reveals deeper insights into data such as patterns, relationships, and situations. GIS and mapping tools can effectively help students develop critical-thinking and problem-solving skills by visualizing data and evaluating
hard-to-discern patterns, which will allow them to reach a deeper level of learning.

Examples of GIS Assignments

Below are examples of GIS assignments according to discipline. This list is not a full representation of the range of possible GIS assignments, but is instead intended to spark ideas for applicants who are developing their own proposal. Applicants are encouraged to consult with the Data Visualization and GIS Specialist, and/or their liaison librarian to discuss possibilities for their course prior to applying.


Create a web-based visualization of historical data, along with supporting graphics, figures, and short text as needed. Example projects may be: analysis of San Francisco’s street names or the expansion of the western railroad at Stanford University.

Social sciences

Sample sociospatial projects developed by Dr. Sheila L. Steinberg & Dr. Steven J. Steinberg from the College of the Redwoods.

Life Sciences

Examples of natural resource management, lessons from a forest fire, and inventory of native plants projects from the University of Hawaii in Maui.


Faculty teaching undergraduate and graduate students from all colleges, departments, and disciplines are encouraged to apply. Graduate assistants who teach are welcome to apply with the support of their program coordinator.  Priority is given to faculty who wish to make the GIS assignment a primary assessment of learning for their course. 


Limited to three faculty, selected participants are required to complete the following tasks:

  • Attend a one-day workshop on May 20, 2019 with all participants
  • Meet individually with the Data Visualization and GIS Specialist and librarians twice during summer 2019 to further develop the GIS assignment and syllabus (meetings can take place virtually)
  • Submit a course syllabus and assessment plan
  • Submit a random sample of de-identified student work from the course
  • Participate in assessment of the GIS Instructional Development Grant program


All applications for the GIS Institute will be evaluated according to the clarity and thoroughness of the application and the potential impact on student learning.

  • Name and course information.
  • Provide a brief description of the assignment you wish to revise or create.
  • Upload a current syllabus or assignment prompt if applicable.
  • Describe a potential GIS project you would like to implement.


Selected proposals will receive funding of $1,500. Applicants will also receive $150 to purchase an ArcGIS Desktop license from UNLV OIT for their own computer. Students will receive free ArcGIS licenses as part of UNLV’s site license.

Submission Instructions

Please apply using the online form by March 25 at 5 p.m. Selected applicants will be notified via email by Friday, April 15.

If you have any questions, please contact Hilla Sang at