Evolution and development of geography

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The evolution and development of geography as a subject and a department in academic institutions are discussed in this chapter. According to the author, the geography department gained traction in the twentieth century when it began to include the study of human activities. According to the chapter, the University of Chicago established its geography department in 1903, and other universities such as Wisconsin, Harvard, Clark, and Michigan followed suit. The Second World War was another factor that influenced the department’s growth. During this time, many geographers were required to provide intelligent data that could be used to make the calculated defense. After the War, there was further indulgence in the field of geography by war veterans who were provided with educational benefit through the GI bill. New geographical programs continued to emerge with many people developing interest to explore the field. A major concern, however, is the fact that there is little documentation of the development of leadership in the department of geography. It is noted that departmental chairmen play a key role in geography development, and as such, there is need to understand the role and influence of leadership on the department.

According to the author, study of leadership in the department of geography is a key concern. The first person to introduce the concept of leadership was James McGregor Burns. Together with other subsequent scholars, there was a series of assessment of whether leadership attributes of the chairmen in the department actually influences success. Various leadership styles have been assessed including transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire styles. The author suggests that the examination of leadership in the American education context must be based on the historical analysis in order to understand the right moves and “serious blunders” that have impacted the current situation. In the chapter, Bennett (1988) and Arcuri (2002) noted that an effective chairperson in the geography department is important in order to achieve success, and transformational leadership has been considered among the effective strategies to achieve success. Since the method through which the leadership model has been successfully implemented is not clear, the chapter proposes the need to understand its past applications.

The chapter further explains the concept of transformational leadership as defined by Burns (1978) who believes that the leadership trait is built on the need for achievement for a common purpose. Such leaders have selflessness with idealized influence that is worth emulating. The chapter further stated that authentic transformational offer more realistic self-concept and relationship with others which promotes the welfare of the community. Transformation leaders are described to engage in inspirational motivation which enables the leaders to face challenges with zeal and focus on the journey towards achieving goals.

Chapter 2: The Ascent of American Academic Geography

The chapter first acknowledges the inception of geography by scholars like Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and George Perkins even before the formalization of the subject in 1892. By the end of the Revolutionary War, geography as a subject was taught in many institutions including William, Rutgers, and May. The students were taught using navigational instruments, sundials, surveys, globes, and maps to explore the Earth. As the education of America evolved, Geography was included in the curriculum although institutions such as Ivies had stopped teaching it for a while. In other institutions based in Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Tennessee, courses like physical geography and ancient geography were taught. Although Ivies did not embrace geography, Arnold Gyot had brought the subject to light between 1854 and 1880. He brought the geographical teachings of Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Ritter who are well known geographers to Princeton. In 1976, the subject was further embraced in Johns Hopkins University by Daniel Coit Gilman which resulted in many other American institutions following suit.

William Morris Davis has also been recognized as one of the eminent geomorphologists who spurred research and leadership in the field of geography. Davis also played a key role in the development of a committee that developed the guidelines of geographic education. The committee was aimed at examining the requirements for college entrance and preparation to improve the curriculum. In the 1900s, different universities established the department of geography including University of California, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Yale, and Chicago. Davies together with other scholars, came together to form the Association of American Geographers. These included Albert Perry Brigham, Ellen Churchill, and Ellsworth Huntington.

In the 1970s, Davies coined the term, “ontography” which initiated the understanding of human response towards environmental conditions. The doctrine, also known as determinism, assumed that human activities are controlled by the environment. This ideology had been adopted by other scholars like Ellen Churchill who explored Kentucky Mountains and found an impact of topographical barriers on social diversity of the people. The notion, however, was not embraced by some geographers like Isaiah Bowman, Mark Jefferson, and Rollin Salisbury who regarded the effect of humans on the environment rather than the influence of environment on humans. It is noted in the chapter that by the 1920s, geography as a discipline had deteriorated with many scholars describing the determinism ideology as being too simplistic. Other matters, however, also contributed to the decline of the subject including leadership changes and the inability to secure funding. The discipline survived over the years and would later arise in the Universities of Chicago and Harvard with Salisbury chairing the first funded doctoral-granting department of geography in the United States.

Chapter 16: Transformational Leadership at UCLA

The chapter addresses the uniqueness of UCLA geography department compared to other schools. The institution (UCLA) was formed as a branch of a Normal School in San Jose. James Chamberlain was appointed in 1895 was appointed as a fulltime faculty member in the school, and its departmentalization of geography in the school was realized in 1911. Later, Chamberlain was joined by Myrta and McClellan and Ruth Baugh who became the teaching staff. Leaving the two women, Chamberlain left the institution in 1919 when the structure of the faculty was changed to demote the faculty who did not have Ph.D. McClellan later became the chair of UXCA and was dedicated to promote geographic education in public schools. Her dedication could be witnessed from the many classes she took as well as the fieldwork she engaged in. The author further notes that McClellan attempted to invite Derwent Whittlesey to teach in Los Angeles but he declined. However, she contacted Isaiah Bowman who recommended George McBride who was a Ph.D holder and research associate. Meanwhile, Ruth Baugh went to Clark University where she had conducted studies with Ellen Churchill. Semple. They engaged in various researchers, and Baugh saw Ms. Semple’s work, The Geography of the Mediterranean Region, when Semple suffered from heart attack. The two women, McClellan and Baugh lasted for a long time at UCLA.

In the chapter, the author highlights the effectiveness of the two women leaders as they utilized transformational attributes. Hallock Raup who had been a student at the geography department in Kent State commended McClellan for being a good leader. He explained that although she might not be popular, she had been responsible for many of the graduate geographers. He described her as an organized teacher. The use of transformation leadership traits was also evident when George McBride joined UCLA 1922. Dunbar described him as a responsible person, very modest, clear-cut, quiet, and genuine. Through him, the department of geography at UCLA grew by bounds and he facilitated the inclusion of master’s program in the curriculum. He, however, did not succeed to include a doctoral program in the system due to the Second World War. He later resigned from chairmanship in 1942 and retired in 1949. Later in the 1960s, the former students of McBride, Joseph Spencer and Henry Bruman, joined the UCLA chairmanship. Joe Spencer also became a significant geographical explorer who had transformational attributes. He was described as an individual who dedicated his life to research and felt an obligation to help the community. One of his students, Marvin Mikesell, explained that he had chosen geography as a subject because of Spencer since the UCLA geographic department offered the best studies. The chapter, thus, concludes by acknowledging both McClellan and McBride for being the legitimate founders of geography in UCLA.

Chapter 17: The Legacy of Carl Sauer

In this chapter, the author illustrates how Carl Sauer created a remarkable turnaround at Berkeley. Carl’s early life is first described. He was born in Warrenton, Missouri where a Methodist college was hosted to provide education in liberal arts and sciences. The college was affiliated with the community orphanage which was established after the Civil War. Carl Sauer attended the school as her mother worked there as a volunteer; the experience shaped the mental model of Sauer, giving him academic rigor, intellectual inquiry, and sense to humanity. After his baccalaureate, Sauer went to Chicago where he studied geology at the Northwestern University. He studied under Rollin Salisbury, a geomorphologist who did not adopt the simplistic ideology of environmental determinism. He had also been influenced by Henry Chandler Cowles who pioneered studies in plant succession. Sauer further went to teach in Salem and was finally appointed at the faculty of University of Michigan before going to Mexico to commence his field studies. After a series of research, he went to Berkeley.

The author further illustrates how Sauer involved his Midwest friends to Berkeley. When the university reduced its enrollment requirements, he invited many of the colleagues including Stanley Dodge, Kenneth McMurry, Wellington Jones, and Preston James. Sauer required his students to take Germany lessons since most of the geology courses were offered in German. The geology department at Berkeley invited Morris Davis in 1925, although many students did not like his ideology. This invite is was a symbol of good leadership as Sauer intended to inform the geography students on the ideology of environmental determinism and anti-determinism. While at Berkeley, the author states that most of the duties in the department were assumed by devoted students of Sauer. John Leighly, for instance, was tasked with climatology and cartography classes. Although textbooks were never there, Sauer trusted his followers from Ann Arbor. This had been emphasized by Leighly who claimed that students under Sauer were given a lot of responsibility with little formal preparation. He claimed that most students who studied under Sauer considered other careers; this was associated with the fact that Sauer trusted their native intelligence, thus, giving them the freedom of making choices.

The author further expresses how Sauer utilized transformational leadership style to nurture his students. He had given students the liberty to consider other minor courses away from geology; those who took geology, botany, and soils were also having a chance to consider philosophy or ethnography classes. He encouraged students to excel and develop intellectual inquiry by studying other disciplines. In the chapter, Fred Kniffen also describes Sauer as the one who introduced him to the concept of “landscape.” Sauer made students embrace condescending attitude towards other departments.

Chapter 18: Leaders in a Paradigm of Eclectic Pluralism

The chapter highlights readers on the form of leadership embraced by leaders during the era of eclectic pluralism. The author explains that this era was characterized by establishment of several programs and witnessing their relative stability. By the end of the Second World War, many institutions emerged, and teachers who ended up in the profession of teaching used the ticket of master’s degree to join the faculty of colleges. Institutions continued to attract unworthy doctorates, and second and third-tier institutions which were not qualified offered doctorate in geography. However, it is noted that the demand for Ph.Ds remained high in order to occupy the highly ranked programs. This demand resulted in a high competition in scholarships during the 1960s and 1970s. Unlike the earlier paradigm that measured academic programs by transformational leadership attributes, the new paradigm was composed of informal departmental leaders. Furthermore, there was rotation of chairs within one or two terms. The institutions shifted to awarding many scholarships rather than providing quality education as in the era of Sauer.

The chapter also addresses the poor leadership that had been embraced during the era of era of eclectic pluralism. There were instances when some leaders would emerge to dictate the education programs offered. For instance, the leadership of Robinson, Clark, and Hartshorne dictated the amount of salaries and raises made in the departments. Additionally, some of the scholars emerged to determine the direction of the program. Thus, during this period, some of the institutions flourished because of the previous legacies, while others floundered because of the witnessed poor leadership. Unlike the era of transformational leadership, this era was marked by a collection of individuals who were concerned about individual goals. They had personal visions that would benefit themselves. A new institution emerged in the era, the Association of American Geographers (AAG), to provide forums that increase connection and facilitation of friendship and alliances of the members. Many geographers were forced to wrestle with organizational politics to gain stature rather than wrestling with their own institutions. Many professors fell for seductive offers; these included Gilbert White who went to Colorado and Karl Butzer who shifted from Chicago to Texas. It is noted that unlike the challenges faced by other institutions, Berkeley remained firm. After the retirement of Sauer, John Leighly took over the chairmanship. He continued to contribute much to the geography field. He had eclectic interests amidst the fact that he majored in urban geography, climatology, and cartography. Rather than being a chairman, he dedicated himself to serve as a mentor.

Chapter 21: Epilogue

The chapter explains the significance of explaining the conditions, circumstances, and nuances that facilitate the emergence of transformational leaders in the geographic discipline. The chapter reveals that it is important to consider leadership in developing scientific understanding. The author recognizes the transformations of academic departments, and as such recommend for the acknowledgements of understanding of the paths followed in order to consider the right future path. Leaders with transformational leadership attributes such as Salisbury, Sauer, and Simonett have shown success in their respective institutions. With support offered by the deans of schools, leaders can engage in collaborative efforts to ensure that students perform successfully. Through transformational leadership, the chairman identified flagship programs in the institutions that encouraged departmental chairmanship that inspires enigmatic leadership and democracy. The success of Minnesota University could also be witnessed in the transformational leadership which was characterized by self-confidence and independence. As such, UCLA is recognized for being a valuable institution. Compared to other leadership styles, transformational is the most effective. For instance, because of Whittlesey’s leadership style of laissez faire, the institution failed.

In addressing the directions for future research, the chapter recognizes the fact that transformational leadership cannot necessarily be inherited from mentors. It is stated that although Spencer and Bruman got their transformational leadership style from their mdels like Sauer, the followers of George Carter did not manage to impact his follower by the same leadership style. Instead, the followers adopted a transactional leadership style which became questionable. It is indicated in the chapter that since some of the diffused leaders like George Carter who became transactional leaders, it is important to understand the role of mentor in shaping the prospective leadership behaviors. Leaders have proposed the need of administering colleagues and subordinates to ensure ethical conduct is achieved.

In highlighting the summary of the chapters, the author addresses the significance of leadership. He states that leader can become successful through their leaders, a concept that can be seen through leaders like Sauer and Salisbury. Although key factors such as program vision determine the effectiveness of a discipline, it is evident that the control of the chair as well as the organizational dream plays a key role. Transformational leadership has been found to be effective in influencing the freedom of individuals as well as their ambitions. Thus, it is concluded that there is the need to assess the context of historical discipline and understanding of geographical teachings to enhance understanding of the subject.


The chapters have revealed the significance of transformational leadership on departmental management. The book addresses the role of geographical information in educating students regarding the nature of environment. Various leaders such as Sauer and Salisbury have influenced their followers to adopt the transactional leadership style. They believe that there is a need to understand other people’s concepts, and giving them the chance to express their experiences in regards to leadership. Sauer is a memorable leader as he reminds readers of the role of collaboration. The chapters indicate that many authors have ended up losing focus due to the fact that they lost independence and individualism in dealing with divisional issues.

In conclusion, transformation leadership is important in higher education in order to accommodate the embarrassing, disconcerting, and surprising moments. Transformational leaders are expected to possess attributes that promote leadership. Thus, there is need to understand the need to embrace occupational penalties in order to embrace leadership attributes. It is noted in the study that servant leadership is correlated with transformational leadership. For instance, Sauer influenced his followers to adopt a functional method of leaderships. Many of the leaders have been dedicated towards commitment to the society in order to embrace effective transformational leadership that can enhance coordination, understanding, and successful hiring.

It is stated that some of the key characteristics of the leadership styles include intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration which allows the leader to mentor his/her followers. The chapter concludes by highlighting the 5 key principles of transformational leadership: inspiration, scholarship, integrity, proaction, and selflessness. The effectiveness of leaders could be seen when Leighly became a professor; he was considered an asset rather than a liability since he influenced his students and impacted their life. Through Sauer’s leadership, Berkeley awarded over 20 PhDs and was listed the fifth on the total dissertations accepted by American geography.

Many of Sauer’s colleagues described him as an independent leader who spoke openly and loved free communication. He ensured all letters of inquiry were answered, and ensured he remained courteous and uncompromising. Various administrative and curricula changes were witnessed in institutions during the era. For instance, the university of Washington focused on the numeracy and spatial analysis of the geographical departments rather than offering a diverse curriculum. In the 1980s, academicians and scholars recognized the changes that had occurred, with various fields recognizing other disciplines. A new era occurred, and practitioner increased their prevalence and became compelled to justify their existence.

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