I’m working on a poster presentation project for a methodologies seminar, and my poster should capture an essential characteristic of what my Master’s project will entail. Inspired by the work of my advisor, Derek Mueller, I plan to use quantitative methodologies in my project. Importantly, the data I gather will be represented visually.
In conversations with Derek and others, namely Jana Rosinski, I’ve discussed the idea of tracing out intellectual influences. One way to begin to do this is by looking at the institutions that award scholars their terminal degrees.
So, for my poster project, I assembled the map above (via BatchGeo) which shows the institution that granted the terminal degree of faculty in the Written Communication program here at Eastern. If you click the map you’ll be taken to an interactive version where you can zoom in and out (some nodes are clustered closely together and individual points only become clear in closer views). I tried to color code by professor, but there weren’t enough colors available to make it effective. I’ve also discussed a map which could indicate how long a professor has been with Eastern, say, for instance, with some sort of bubble that’s sized proportionally to years at EMU.
While the distribution of the data is readily apparent here, I would like to be able to customize a map like this to shade in regions, i.e., the South, the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, New England, West, Southwest, the Mountain West and West Coast. Being able to do that would make the gaps in the map more visible. For instance, the deep south is not represented at all, and without the University of Louisville, the South as a region would be entirely missing. Another gap, not as readily apparent, is any international presence in the terminal degrees of faculty.
I don’t really know how much this tells us on its face (I wouldn’t expect much of an international presence in the terminal degrees of faculty in the English Department here at EMU), but it is interesting to think about and begin to trace out the intellectual influences of my program’s faculty. It might be interesting to do the same kind of map for other programs in the English Department, say literature, and see if any patterns emerge. A layered map could be made with each layer representing a program, giving an overview of the geographic and intellectual backstory of faculty in the department, a backstory that becomes more visible in the model of a map.
Update: New map that codes faculty by concentration.