About OGA

Welcome to the Ohio Geographic Alliance!

The Ohio Geographic Alliance (OGA) was founded in 1990 as part of a national network of state geography alliances sponsored by the National Geographic Society. OGA is devoted to enhancing geography, as both a physical and social science, in Ohio’s K-12 curriculum. It is a partnership that includes K-12 teachers and university geography professors who work together to provide professional development opportunities, instructional materials and public engagement events.

Read our current e-newsletter here.

Annual events promoted by the Ohio Geographic Alliance:

  • Geography Bee – a geographic knowledge contest involving teachers and students from grades 4-8 participating at local contests. Regional qualifiers advance to the state contest and state winners advance to the national contest held at the National Geographic Society Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Ohio’s Geography Bee Chairperson is Michelle Ballinger.
  • Geography Awareness Week – Geography Awareness Week is a week-long celebration of geography and geography instruction, sponsored by the National Geographic Society. The theme for 2015 is “Explore! The Power of Maps”. Celebrate and explore the power of maps November 15 – 21, 2015. Find more information at the NGS Geography Awareness Week page
  • BioBlitz! – OGA participates in a yearly national initiative from NGS. In 2015-16, the national initiative is BioBlitz!, a daylong citizen science project inviting schools and community members to parks to inventory as many species of plants, animals, microbes, fungi, and other organisms as possible. OGA plans to host BioBlitz! Events in three locations. See the BioBlitz! Page for additional information.

OGA Mission

The Ohio Geographic Alliance is a partnership of university faculty, K-12 educators, and others motivated to improve geographic literacy in Ohio. It will

  • Ensure the current professional standards and practices are incorporated into state curriculum standards and their implementation.
  • Deliver high quality professional development with geographic content consistent with accepted national and state geographic standards; and with instruction in curriculum and lesson plan development – all to improve how geography is taught.
  • Support teachers who wish to participate in national and regional workshops and conferences focused on geographic education,
  • Create a network of teachers for future collaboration.
  • Partner with organizations in related disciplines to advance shared objectives.
  • Ensure that geography is represented in pre-service training of future teachers.
  • Leverage current knowledge/advanced technology to dispense relevant content to wider audiences.


  • Students need to understand the variety of places, cultures and environments in the world and how nations, regions, and places are connected.
  • K-12 teachers must be empowered in the development and use of the best available content and methods.
  • Geographic literacy is best achieved though collaborations within the state and with NGS.

Join OGA

Membership in this organization is free. Choose the “Join” menu item or click here to join OGA.

Contact Us

Ohio Geographic Alliance
The Ohio State University
1036 Derby Hall, 154 North Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210

Dr. Randy Smith
The Ohio State University
Vice Provost
Associate Professor of Geography
OGA Coordinator
E-mail: smith.70@osu.edu

Dr. J. Mark Stewart
Operations Manager
E-mail: send email

Dr. Morton O’Kelly
Chair, Department of Geography

Coordinator Profile

Dr. Randy Smith
A member of Ohio State’s Department of Geography since 1978, Vice Provost Smith specializes in urban geography, especially urban historical geography, and urban and regional systems. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from York University in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Smith has served as the Ohio Geographic Alliance Coordinator since its inception.


National Geographic Education Foundation (NGEF)
National Geographic Education Foundation