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Profile of
Keith W. Rice
Professor of Geography and Geology, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
2002 Regents Teaching Excellence Award Recipient

Background and Experience (Selected)

  • Joined the UW-Stevens Point faculty in 1982.
  • Ph.D. from the University of Kansas; M.S. from Bowling Green State University; B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany.
  • Taught over 17 different courses during the past 20 years, ranging in size from 10 to 120, from freshman to graduate level.
  • Developed, implemented, and presently supervises the Cartography/Geographic Information Systems option, the Spatial Analysis & GIS minor, and the internship program within the Geography B.S. Degree program.
  • Directed 72 internships from 1992-2000 (over $100,000 awarded to students); served on over 20 graduate thesis committees for the College of Natural Resources.
  • Since 1983, there have been 38 special projects (non-internships) involving students working over multiples terms on directed research projects with public agencies or private groups.
  • Dozens of workshops and seminars presented to UW System faculty, state personnel, the Federal Government, county officials, high school teachers, and non-traditional students, including a presentation about the capabilities and usefulness of GIS to Governor Scott McCallum.
  • Received over 40 grants in excess of $750,000, from local, state, and federal sources, many of which have involved undergraduate students in research. These grants included the funding of the Geo-Web Project, which seeks to infuse internet web technology into the geography and geology classrooms throughout the UW System, and a PK-16 Initiative Grant to help integrate GIS technology into Wisconsin public schools.
  • Since 1987, Dr. Rice has involved students in map publication; several different community maps have been created, including Ice Age Trail maps, county recreational maps, etc.
  • Produced several technical reports for state agencies, as well as served as a non-paid consultant to federal, state, and local agencies (including NASA, NRCS, WI-DNR, International Crane Foundation, Portage County Planning & Zoning)

In Professor Rice's own words:

  • "I want students to realize that education is a life-long process, and it should not stop with the awarding of the degree. Technology we teach today will be relics of tomorrow (sooner than we often think). The truths we know today may be the falsehoods of tomorrow. We teach students knowledge, but they also need to be taught to challenge and to use logic and reasoning to ascertain the truth (if one exists)."

  • "A superior teacher inspires a student to love learning, and nourishes their development of reason. The methods among us will vary but the student is the evidence of success or failure. I know I have achieved my goal in teaching if my students have not only gained knowledge of a subject, but also have gained independence, and self-confidence in themselves to continue the learning process in both their professional and personal life."

In the words of his students:

  • "Dr. Rice works very hard for his profession, but more importantly for his students. His talents are very marketable in his profession, yet he's chosen to stay in a relatively small school and town where he can focus on passing his knowledge to a new generation of geographers. He's not only an extraordinary individual who immediately puts you at ease with his light-hearted and gregarious nature, but is an intellectual with a vast amount of knowledge, passion for his profession, and sincere compassion and understanding."
    - Rod Bassler, UW-Stevens Point Geography Graduate, GIS Coordinator, North Dakota State Water Commission

  • "One question that I have heard asked of Dr. Rice is, 'Why doesn't he work for a private company where he would be able to use his knowledge to make more money?' It is not the money, so what is it? The students! He loves to teach! From early morning until late into the night, often 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., he will be found on the third floor of the Science Building either preparing for the next day, grading lab work or answering questions. . . Let his commitment to students never be questioned!"
    - Justin Conner, UW-Stevens Point Geography Graduate, GIS Technician working for a Wisconsin engineering consulting firm.

  • "Dr. Rice's commitment to teaching excellence and passionate interest in geography made him one of the most effective teachers I encountered during my college career. His enthusiasm for the discipline and commitment initially stimulated my interest in geography and motivated me to pursue a career with a focus in the area of Geographic Information Systems."
    - Thomas L. Willems, 1996 UW-Stevens Point Geography Graduate, District Archaeologist in the U.S. Forest Service in South Dakota

In the words of his colleagues:

  • "When [Keith] arrived at UW-SP, opportunities in the Cartography option in the Department of Geography and Geology consisted of only one course. Within three years, Keith introduced five new geography courses, and he subsequently developed three additional courses. Today, through Keith's dedication, UW-SP has one of the strongest undergraduate Cartography/Geographic Information Systems programs in the country. He literally built the option from scratch through a tireless dedication to students, excellent teaching skills, and an impressive grantsmanship."
    - Benjamin Ofori-Amoah, Chair, Department of Geography and Geology, UW-Stevens Point

  • "In thirty years of university teaching, I don't believe I have ever known or encountered a professor more dedicated to his students than Keith is. He is tireless in his commitment to their development and success. For example, he spends many hours in each of his courses evaluating and grading student maps and exercises. He makes himself available late in the evenings and on weekends to students who need his help on laboratory and other assignments. Keith's students and department colleagues often marvel at his seemingly boundless energy and dedication; he sets the bar high for new faculty in our department."
    - Gary C. Meyer, Professor of Geography, UW-Stevens Point

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