2016 Harm J. de Blij Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Geography Teaching
The 2016 Harm J. de Blij Award is presented to Donald J. Zeigler of Old Dominion University for his long and distinguished career as a teacher of geography to undergraduate students. The Harm J. de Blij Award recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching undergraduate geography including the use of innovative teaching methods. This award is generously funded by John Wiley & Sons in memory of their long-standing collaboration with the late Harm de Blij on his seminal geography textbooks
Don Zeigler has taught geography to undergraduate students at Old Dominion University, Virginia Beach, Virginia, for the past 36 years. During that period, he has taught nearly 200 sections of geography courses representing more than 25 geographical topics.
Zeigler attended to the ever changing student population and course dynamics by using a variety of pedagogical methods, beginning initially with chalk and talk in 1980 and employing video streaming and virtual reality in 2016. His teaching repertoire includes standard lecture classes (serving small to very large course sections), field-based and study abroad courses, problem based learning, and web-based and televised distance learning courses. Zeigler’s commitment to excellence in teaching has led him to design and teach courses fulfilling key university missions, including writing intensive and service learning courses, each with a geographical perspective.
Zeigler began his career at Old Dominion University as a first year faculty member in a major that had not existed the prior academic year. Zeigler was instrumental in building the undergraduate program in geography to its present size today of seven faculty members and 100 geography majors. He has accompanied students on field study trips to Israel, Jordan, the Bahamas and Mexico. “Simply stated, Don Zeigler is the face of Geography at Old Dominion University,” said Dr. Jonathan Leib, current Director of the Geography Program, “His reputation as a teacher, scholar, and as a genuine person permeates the campus and its student body.”
Donald J. Zeigler is recognized for his accomplishments as a gifted teacher, for his role as a mentor for students both within and outside the classroom, and for his continued passion for teaching geography. The American Association of Geographers, John Wiley & Sons Publishers, his friends and colleagues, and his many students from the past 36 years at Old Dominion University congratulate Don as the 2016 recipient of this award for excellence in undergraduate geography teaching. The Harm J. de Blij Award consists of $2,500 in prize money and an additional $500 in travel expenses to attend the AAG Annual Meeting, where the award is annually conveyed.