ROCK HILL, S.C. - Two professors within the College of Business Administration will share the Thompson Scholar honors as they work to develop a two-course sequence in geographic information systems (GIS).
Professor David Bradbard and Associate Professor Barbara Fuller said they initially will target applications with a business orientation but they expect to branch out to engage students from many disciplines throughout the university. The emerging technology is a powerful and quick way to collect market data linked to maps.
“GIS is taking off as we recognize its capability and potential in commercial activity and other areas,” said Tom Moore, vice president for academic affairs. “We want to be a part of its development in our region.”
Just within marketing, GIS can be used to help make decisions in site selection, sales territory analysis, routing and logistics, customer profiling and targeting of promotional campaigns. There are at least eight other areas on campus the faculty members have identified that can use its applications, such as art history, biology, chemistry, environmental studies/sciences, mass communication, political science, sociology and geography. The two faculty members envision their initiative will become a campus wide working group to promote more general cooperative efforts.
Bradbard and Fuller used their recent sabbaticals to learn more about GIS. They earned a research council grant earlier this year on using GIS in small cities and counties in the Carolinas. They also are participating in a nine-month college faculty training program for geospatial education offered through the National Science Foundation.
The first step for Bradbard and Fuller will be to develop a single course using ArcGIS software so students can develop a GIS application project. Two such projects already are developed, and more are in the works. The professors want to incorporate some of the projects into one of Fuller’s existing courses in spring 2010 and then offer the first version of the experimental GIS course in fall 2010.
The two plan to purchase 25 one-year licenses for ArcGIS software at a cost of $1,500. By the fall of 2011, the new two-course sequence will begin, giving students the chance to use the GIS features to first develop a project and then to carry out its implementation.
This is the fifth year for the Thompson Scholar, created by Winthrop Board of Trustee Bob Thompson and his wife, Norma, of Rock Hill. The fund provides for reassigned time for a faculty member to work on projects that strengthen the academic, intellectual, and co-curricular life of the university. This is the first year the award has been given to two professors.
Bradbard came to Winthrop in 1988. The professor of management information systems has research interests in database management systems, electronic commerce and the management of information technology. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in mathematics from the University of New Hampshire and an Ed.D. in mathematics education from the University of Georgia.
Fuller joined the Winthrop faculty in 1975. Her interests are in the semiotic analysis of clothing, global retailing, small business and entrepreneurship. She has a B.S. in education from West Virginia University, an M.S. in textiles and clothing from the University of Delaware and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in marketing, consumer economics and merchandising from the University of Tennessee.