The UT Institute for Public Service recently recognized Dr. Bruce Ralston, Professor Emeritus of the UT Knoxville Department of Geography, with its Faculty Excellence Award. The award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated commitment to public service, the mission of IPS and its agencies, and excellence in teaching or consulting. Additionally, the faculty member should be currently working with or have worked with IPS or its agencies within the last year.
Ralston has been a friend and important partner of the Institute for Public Service for more than 10 years. Beginning in 1999, when he oversaw a project using students from his GIS classes to serve on a Municipal Technical Advisory Service project to map municipal water systems, he has continued to provide IPS with consulting expertise in projects to use GIS and related technology to improve government decision-making. In the past two years he has provided programming and design services and partnership coordination for the Tennessee Data Portal, a joint effort of the Department of Geography, the Center for Business and Economic Research, and the County Technical Assistance Service.
Ralston is a well-known scholar in Transportation Geography and Geographic Information Systems and has been recognized with a number of university and national awards for his excellence in teaching and scholarships. In 2010, he was named the Mace Bearer, the highest faculty award at the university. He is also a nationally recognized author of books about GIS and is a programmer of widely used software that assists in the use of public domain data in mapping and analysis.