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kakemp@dornsife.usc.edu  /  (213) 740-5910  /  AHF B55D

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Website

1992 Ph.D., Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara
1982 M.A., Geography, Resources, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada
1976 B.Sc., First Class Honours, Physical Geography, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Karen Kemp, Professor of the Practice of Spatial Sciences, teaches Spatial Analysis and Spatial Modeling in the GIST Programs. Since the late 1980s, Kemp has been a major figure in the evolution of GIS education in the US and abroad. Her scientific research has focused on developing methods to improve the integration of environmental models with GIS from both the pedagogic and the scientific perspectives and on formalizing the conceptual models of space acquired by scientists and humanities scholars, across a wide range of disciplines.

Before moving to the US from Canada in 1988, she taught Geography, Geology and Microcomputer Applications at Malaspina College, in Nanaimo, British Columbia (now Vancouver Island University). In 1988 she joined the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA) in Santa Barbara working as Coordinator of Education Programs. After completing her Ph.D. in 1992, she worked at the Technical University of Vienna, Austria and with Longman GeoInformation in Cambridge, England on international GIS education projects. She returned to NCGIA in 1994 as Assistant Director and later Associate Director. In January 1999 she moved to University of California Berkeley to become Executive Director of the Geographic Information Science Center where she helped build the foundation for a campus-wide GIScience initiative. In September 2000, she was invited to join the faculty at the University of Redlands to create and direct their new MS GIS program.

In 2006, after building a successful, widely-respected program at the University of Redlands, Kemp stepped down as Director, retreating to the Island of Hawaiˋi to become an independent scholar. During this time, she completed the Sage Encyclopedia of Geographic Information Science (2008) and worked as Senior Scientist with The Kohala Center on several projects focused on achieving a vision of an Island-based GIS infrastructure integrating Hawaiian and Western sciences, connecting through place on the landscape. In September 2010, she was lured back to a full-time academic appointment with USC, continuing to live full-time in Hawaiˋi while teaching in the on-line Graduate Certificate and M.S. GIST Programs. Currently she is also a member of the Academic Advisory Board of the US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Hong Kong.

Respected internationally for her contributions to GIS education, in 1990 she co-edited the original NCGIA Core Curriculum in GIS and was on the editorial team for the 2006 UCGIS Geographic Information Science and Technology Body of Knowledge. She was a founding member of the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) Board of Directors and maintains her GISP certification from that organization. In recognition for these and other contributions, Kemp has been honored twice by the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science. In 2004 she was named Educator of the Year and in 2011 she was inducted as a UCGIS Fellow “for her extraordinary record of accomplishment, service and contributions to the advancement of geographic information science and applications.”