This article reports the results of an extensive online survey conducted in 2010–2011 on the perceptions and concerns of “stand-alone” geographers in North American colleges and universities. These geographers, who work outside of the traditional structure of a disciplinary department, could become more common in a restructuring academy. Our analysis reveals that most stand-alone geographers are employed in nonconventional institutional arrangements, such as interdisciplinary programs, that require high levels of collaboration and interaction with nongeographers. For the most part, stand-alones see themselves as “ambassadors” for the discipline of geography, but professional and intellectual isolation tempers their impact. Building on our improved knowledge of this cohort, we recommend concrete steps to improve the status, relevance, and cohesion of stand-alone geographers and argue that they would benefit from developing a coherent identity based on the complex but relevant idea of interdisciplinarity.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/eric_carter/4/