As Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Bednarz is responsible for the administration of the undergraduate and graduate instructional programs in the College of Geosciences, which includes ensuring the academic integrity of degree programs and monitoring the academic progress of students. She will serve as a liaison on academic matters for the College with various University offices such as the Office of Graduate Studies, Office of Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs, Office of Admissions and Records, and the Honors Program.
Bednarz is professor of geography and a Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence. She was one of two faculty members at Texas A&M to receive this award in 2008. Award recipients are selected by University President Elsa Murano, and the award underscores the importance of teaching at a major research university.
Bednarz came to Texas A&M in 1988 as a lecturer, having previously taught middle and high school in private and public schools in Illinois and Texas. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, a master’s degree at the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. from Texas A&M.
She has published more than 70 scholarly papers and given presentations at more than 100 conferences and symposia around the world. Bednarz has done extensive work on cognition, geography education, and ways geospatial technologies support the development of spatial thinking. Her secondary research interests include environmental and geosciences education and curriculum development in these areas. She has worked extensively in preservice and inservice professional development and is a commissioning editor for the Journal of Geography in Higher Education and book review editor for International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education.
Bednarz is the winner of numerous awards, among them the Gilbert Grosvenor Award from the Association of American Geographers, the George Miller Award from the National Council for Geographic Education and several teaching awards from The Association of Former Students.