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Derek Alderman, head of UT’s Department of Geography, has been elected to serve as president of the American Association of Geographers.

He previously was vice president of the association.

Derek Alderman

The American Association of Geographers is a nonprofit scientific and educational society founded in 1904. The organization—which comprises more than 10,000 members from the United States and 100 countries worldwide—has contributed to the overall advancement of geography. Its members share interests in the theory, methods, and practice of geography.

“I am committed to serving and promoting the discipline of geography and enhancing its image and perceived relevance,” Alderman said. He noted that “the general public and even parts of the academy lack a clear understanding of the powerful perspectives that geographers can contribute to analyzing pressing social and environmental issues—from climate change to racism.”

During his presidency, Alderman, said he has four main goals:

  • help the association become more proactive in responding to expected threats to academic freedom, educational reform, and social justice research
  • enhance geography’s public perception by helping AAG members develop skills and strategies needed for effectively sharing their research with the public
  • revamp Geography Awareness Week, with the goal to encourage greater diversity, inclusion, and the teaching of civil and human rights
  • follow the lead of previous presidents by continuing to support and expand upon the AAG’s “healthy department” initiative, which provides practical resources and information to improve the quality and leadership of geography programs

Alderman is an expert in cultural and historical geography, specifically related to public memory, heritage tourism, the civil rights movement, and African American history. His research has been highlighted by such media outlets as BBC News Magazine, USA Today, CNN, and Reuters.



Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,

Derek Alderman (865-974-0406,