Bulletin News

Professor Honored by National Geography Group


SUNY Cortland Professor Ibipo Johnston-Anumonwo will be recognized for her innovative and transformational approaches in curricular and co-curricular activities by the Association of American Geographers (AAG).

Johnston-Anumonwo, who has served on the Geography Department faculty for 28 years, will receive the 2016 AAG Distinguished Teaching Honors on Saturday, April 2, in San Francisco. Including her, only seven people have received the award since 1996.

Ibipo Johnston-Anumonwo
Ibipo Johnston-Anumonwo

AAG Honors are the highest awards offered by the AAG and are presented annually to recognize outstanding accomplishments by members in research and scholarship, teaching, education, service to the discipline, public service outside academe and for lifetime achievement. 

Johnston-Anumonwo is credited by the association with maintaining an exemplary record as a teacher-scholar in undergraduate research, graduate courses, in-service teachers’ workshops and pre-K to high school presentations during her career at SUNY Cortland.

“Dr. Ibipo Johnston–Anumonwo was awarded for her skillful teaching which has consistently incorporated innovative and transformational curricular pedagogies and ways of approaching the subject matter,” noted the current AAG Awards Committee chair, Rickie Sanders, a faculty member in Temple University’s Department of Geography and Urban Studies.

In addition to her work in the classroom, for more than 10 years she served in a leadership role for the Educational Testing Service Advanced Placement Human Geography examination, Sanders said. Johnston-Anumonwo also served a four-year term on The College Board’s Test Development Committee.

 “From afar I have admired her persistence to the enterprise of teaching and scholarship,” Sanders said. “She is truly exceptional.  As a discipline we are fortunate to have someone like her.”

A colleague supporting her nomination noted that Johnston-Anumonwo’s work has made valuable contributions to geography as well as to closely aligned disciplines. She regularly presents her scholarship on human geography and African geography to audiences of educators at conferences of the National Council of Geographic Education, the Association of Third World Studies and the New York African Studies Association.

Born in Nigeria, Johnston-Anumonwo earned a bachelor’s degree in teacher education from the country’s University of Ibadan. She has a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Ph.D. from the Gradate School of Geography at Clark University.

Africa is the geographic focus of her teaching and research in gender and development.

Johnston-Anumonwo has organized conferences and panels featuring student forums and teachers’ workshops that have underscored transformative and inclusive content and practices in geographic education. Her definitive chapter, “Geography and Gender in Sub-Saharan Africa,” in the widely read Aryeetey-Attoh’s Geography of Africa textbook, now in its third edition, is identified as one of her most influential contributions.

“I believe this kind of recognition stems from different influences, and it is what happens when you are surrounded with colleagues who value teaching,” Johnston-Anumonwo said. “In my own case, these range from the exemplary Cortland school teachers whose dedication made a difference in my children’s lives; to my colleagues in the Geography Department where students come first in our outlook and our efforts; to my other acquaintances on campus, some of whom are award winning teachers; and to my friends and supporters in various professional circles who are passionate about teaching as well.”

The American Association of Geographers (AAG) is a nonprofit scientific and educational society founded in 1904 and made up of professionals who work in the public private, and academic sectors. Its members from more than 60 countries share interests in the theory, methods and practice of geography, which they cultivate through the AAG’s annual meeting, scholarly journals and the online AAG Newsletter.