David Rich (Commendation)

Professional Service Award of the IAG
David Rich
Conferred Fremantle, June 1998

Professional Service Awards of the IAG are made in recognition of distinguished professional service in applied geography or for innovation in the teaching of geography, or for service to geographical education.

Three awards are being announced today. Margaret Ella Huxley, David Rich and Elspeth Anne Young have all made an outstanding contribution to geographical education in Australia and in the application of geographical principles to Australian urban and rural life and livelihood.

David Rich came to Australia in the mid 1970s after completing his PhD in geography at the University of Cambridge, one of the farm institutions of Australian geography, and after spending three years as lecturer in geography at the University of Keele. He came to join the human geography program in the School of Earth Science at Macquarie University. Like many others at the time his teaching covered a range of subject matter, including quantitative methods.

David’s long-term research has focused on the geography of economic restructuring, restructuring South Australian manufacturing since 1920. He has published over 60 papers and chapters and has edited or authored five books including The Industrial Geography of Australia (1987) and Global Environmental Crises (1995, 1999). His name is more closely associated with the Geographical Society of New South Wales than with the IAG. He has held most offices of the NSW Geog Soc and was Editor of the Australian Geographer for 8-9 years. A particular interest has been to support high-quality secondary teaching in geography by providing resource materials and running or contributing to teacher training workshops.

He has had a particular interest in teaching innovation, which grew out of his teaching in economic geography (industrial restructuring) and environmental change (deforestation) and was one of the initiators of Macquarie’s program in Resource and Environmental Management and the proposal that led to the introduction of a new Bachelor of Environmental Science. During the 1990s had focussed on the development of IT-based flexible learning including the development of course units fully delivered on the web, prepared a variety of online materials and created an active CD-ROM. He made a major contribution to the School’s Teaching and Learning Management program in 1994, which as I recall was submitted by the University as part of its bids for quality funding.

David Rich is now the Director of the Centre for Flexible Learning at Macquarie University, a critical position in any university with the impending arrival of the 21st Century and the rapidity technical and pedagogic change. Inevitably David Rich will move further away from his core discipline into the broader areas. It is therefore fitting that at this time in his career we acknowledge his contribution to geographical education in the late 20th century for his innovation which the award of the Institute’s Professional Service Award represents.

Citation prepared by Professor Roger McLean.

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