UR Geography and the Environment Professor Stephanie Spera Receives VFIC Excellence in Instructional Technology Award

November 5, 2021

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Stephanie Spera, assistant professor of geography and the environment at the University of Richmond, has received the H. Hiter Harris III Award for Excellence in Instructional Technology from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.

This VFIC award highlights a faculty or staff member who has incorporated the use of technology in innovative ways in the undergraduate educational experience.

Spera, who has worked at UR since 2019, is an expert on climate change and land use change, and she uses a variety of technologies, including GIS, climate models, and satellite data, in her research.

The award provides some funding support for Spera’s research, which has also been supported through grant funding from NASA and the National Parks Service.

“Stephanie is our departmental divining rod, pointing the way toward best practices in

instructional technology,” said Todd Lookingbill, geography and the environment department chair. “She is constantly experimenting with new approaches to improve student learning ranging from setting up a new on-campus weather station in her introductory weather and climate course to using drones to gather data that is analyzed using sophisticated image analysis techniques in her advanced remote sensing class.”

“Dr. Spera exemplifies the teacher-scholar model that is at the very core of the University’s approach to the liberal arts,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Jeff Legro. “Even as she maintains a robust externally funded research program and is actively engaged in service to the broader University of Richmond community, she prioritizes undergraduate teaching and the thoughtful integration of technology.”