Proliferating a New Generation of Critical Physical Geographers: Graduate Education in UMass’s RiverSmart Communities Project

  • Nicole Gillett
  • Eve Vogel
  • Noah Slovin
  • Christine E. Hatch


To build our collective capacities to engage in CPG research and practice, we need to proliferate a new generation of critical physical geographers. To do this, we must train students who can think, conduct research, and share findings in ways that are critical, open-ended, and transdisciplinary. But what does this look like in practice? This chapter outlines five central themes which supported an education rich in the principles of Critical Physical Geography for two graduate students: an inclusive pedagogy and collaboration, an interdisciplinary setting, an applied project, an acceptance of a dynamic ontology, and an open-ended epistemology. The conclusion section highlights which of these practices were the most critical, as well as the possible limitations to similar research. In the end, the graduate students left this research project with a broader understanding of their own research and armed with a practical and diverse set of skills for a changing job market.



RiverSmart was made possible by grants from the UMass Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (McIntire-Stennis Project 231297); the US Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources (grant 11488334 with administrative help from the USGS); and the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (grant 11447848).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole Gillett
    • 1
  • Eve Vogel
    • 2
  • Noah Slovin
    • 3
  • Christine E. Hatch
    • 2
  1. 1.Tucson Audubon SocietyTucsonUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeosciencesUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA
  3. 3.Milone & MacBroomCheshireUSA

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