Erika Wise, Associate Professor of Geography: Graduate Student Workshop at King’s College London

Applicant Information

  • Name: Erika Wise
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Department/School: of Geography
  • Email:


Partner and Participant Information

  • Partner Institution(s) and Location: King’s College London (London, UK)
  • Partner School/Department: King’s College London Department of Geography
  • Participating UNC Schools/Departments: UNC Department of Geography


Project Information

Please describe the initiative to be conducted:

I am leading the Department of Geography’s first joint programming with King’s College London in Spring 2018. It will be a spring workshop on climate change with graduate students from both the UNC and KCL geography departments. This workshop will have three primary components: 1) a UNC graduate seminar (GEOG811) on climate change open to all graduate students, where we will include those studying climate change from both a social and a physical science approach; 2) a trip by funded UNC grad students to London in February 2018 for a 3-day workshop on climate change; and 3) a trip by KCL participants for a 3-day climate change workshop here at UNC. (Our counterparts at KCL procured their own funding for their students to travel to Chapel Hill.) For the Chapel Hill workshop (which will be organized by the funded UNC graduate students), we anticipate that a portion will be focused within the department and another portion will include the broader campus community, as well as Duke and NCSU faculty and graduates students.

This is the first of what is meant to become an annual workshop between UNC & KCL Geography, each year with a different theme. I asked our graduate students to apply to participate (the application consisted of CVs and statements describing their research and how they think this program would benefit them professionally), and the response was overwhelming — 14 applicants, all highly qualified and working on research related to climate change.

Proposed Dates/Timeline:

The workshop activities will extend over the entire Spring 2018 semester. The component for which I am requesting funding, the UNC visit to KCL, is planned for the week of Feb. 18, 2018, with four nights in London.

Please state the requested funding amount and how the award would be spent:

I am requesting $2980.

The requested funding would be used to include two additional graduate students in the climate change workshop held at KCL in London in February 2018. Based on current prices: $1190 for flight with one stop + shared hotel room at $75/night for 4 nights = $1490 each * 2 students = $2980.

Please list other funding sources identified or received:

We requested $7900 from the IAH King’s College London Fund and received $5600. This funding was meant to cover 3 graduate students and myself to travel to London, along with food, etc. for workshop events held at UNC. With the reduced funding received, it will cover myself and 2 students, along with the UNC workshop events.

Please describe the expected outcomes:

  1. February (London) and April (Chapel Hill) workshop exchanges
  2. Linked Spring graduate seminar (UNC)
  3. Dissertation research co-advising opportunities
  4. Enhanced faculty collaboration between UNC and KCL
  5. Graduate student publications: the two workshops and intervening semester will be directed to concrete writing projects, review, and revisions for the April meeting at UNC.
  6. Springboarding longer-term collaborations between the two departments. Planning for the theme of the 2019 workshop is already underway.

Please describe how the initiative will advance the institutional partnership:

Geography at UNC and KCL established one of the first strategic partnerships through an annual exchange workshop. These involved faculty and graduate students, and resulted in several co-publications. With the move of key KCL faculty to other institutions, the initiative ended. This current initiative will be a crucial opportunity, based on already existing research collaborations and synergies, to reinvigorate that relationship.

The proposed inter-departmental collaboration is dedicated to developing and intensifying student research synergies, in the interests of amplifying research impact for the individual students as well as the coordinating faculty involved with each year’s thematic pair of workshops. Thus, the collaborations will contribute to further internationalization for both departments in the two partner institutions, and enhanced global impact for research synergies between the two departments through carefully selected areas of shared research interest and strength.

Please describe your previous engagement with the partner institution:

I traveled to London in June 2017 to meet with the chair of KCL’s Geography department and other faculty who would be leading this program in their department. Through these meetings, we established the connections between the two departments and developed a framework for the 2018 climate change workshop. Since June, I have had continuous email contact with the KCL faculty as we worked to further plan our 2018 activities.