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Mark Lindberg Receives 2017 Distinguished Educator Award

September 26, 2017

Mark Lindberg’s numerous contributions to GIS education have been recognized with the 2017 Distinguished Educator Award from the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium.  Mark has been instrumental in developing and integrating GIS into the University of Minnesota curriculum, serving as a mentor and teacher to countless current and future GIS professionals, presenting numerous papers on GIS education topics at professional conferences, and securing several grants focused on GIS curriculum development. Prior to his current position as Senior Cartographer at Minnesota, Mark taught cartography and GIS at George Mason University and the University of South Florida, highlighting a distinguished teaching/advising career spanning more than 35 years.  

Mark’s influence and impact on students and advisees is far-reaching. The number of graduate and undergraduate students he has taught in over 20 years at Minnesota ranges in the thousands. He has maintained an impressive advising load for the MGIS program, i.e., over 130 advisees through his time at the UMN. Many of his MGIS advisees and students are employed as GIS professionals in Minnesota in the public, private and non-profit sectors and throughout the US and world (e.g., Esri, Amazon, Apple, Google, NGA, United Nations). His ArcGIS I and II courses are legendary in their ability to challenge students and prepare them for the GIS profession. Our student exit surveys consistently rank Mark’s courses as the most beneficial in contributing to their knowledge and experience.

Mark has also fostered meaningful partnerships with other disciplines and institutions. He was instrumental in securing a statewide Esri Licensing Agreement for higher learning institutions in Minnesota working with other partners. Additionally, his work with the Esri Education Community Advisory Board (2012-14) resulted in work that benefits multiple disciplinary areas more broadly interested in integrating GIS into their curriculum. At the University of Minnesota, Mark has worked with the Minnesota Population Center, U-Spatial, Polar Geospatial Center and numerous other centers/programs across colleges as a co-PI on grants, an instructor in workshops and boot camps, and a collaborator on teaching and research projects.

Mark’s excellence as a teacher, mentor and adviser was echoed by the numerous testimonials he received as part of the award nomination. Jane Mueller, Beltrami County GIS Director, noted that Mark is in tune with the business world and its growing needs for GIS professionals who not only have the coursework but also the hands on experience which makes them very marketable and successful professionals in the field of GIS….He is an exceptional mentor and a special person with a big heart who goes the extra mile to ensure his students have great opportunities, experiences and successful careers. Angela Lee, Business Development Manager for Education Sector at Esri wrote Mark’s enthusiasm for exploring both the “big ideas” and the very practical details of GIS, combined with his genuine concern for others, make him an exceptional educator. …  Mark’s many years of leadership and mentorship have had an enormous impact on GIS education throughout Minnesota and far beyond.  I greatly admire Mark for both his expertise and his humility.  He knows that being approachable and good natured are key to being an effective educator. I am grateful for his contributions to the GIS community and the careers of so many individuals. 

Congratulations, Mark, and thanks for all that you do for the MGIS program, Geography Department, University of Minnesota and the GIS community!