Dr. Thomas Mueller, an expert in geography and geographic information systems, earns the designation from ACLED, a leader in data collection, analysis and mapping.
Dr. Thomas Mueller, a professor of geography at Cal U, is now an educational associate for ACLED, a non-profit organization that specializes in data collection, analysis and mapping.
The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project collects the dates, actors, locations, fatalities, and modalities of all reported political violence and protest events. The team conducts analysis to describe, explore, and test conflict scenarios, and makes both data and analysis open for free use by the public.
As an educational associate, Mueller — an expert in geographic information systems and geography education — creates lessons intended for students and educators using ACLED data and helps others create lessons drawing on his content.
The lessons are available to the public at acleddata.com/resources/acled-in-the-classroom/, where educators can find the resources to facilitate the use of ACLED data in classrooms.
Mueller’s lesson on this website, an introduction to conflict data analysis used in his Introduction to Geography class, is titled “Analysis of Armed Conflicts in Africa.” At lesson’s end students understand different data types such as spatial, temporal and descriptive; judge different data visualizations; and examine spatial patterns of conflict in African countries.
Also posted is a critical discussion of data collected methods for the conflict in Afghanistan, “Discussion: Taliban 2017-2019.”
“I love to examine research and put it in the hands of the students to mimic the methods that a researcher has done on data, do some critical thinking, then read the report, and even question the data,” Mueller said.
“What I am hoping to do is build critical thinking skills for our Cal U students and students at other schools,” he said. “It’s the critical thinking and understanding of the situations that will help them down the road.
“I really believe in this (ACLED) because it is a global data set and a data set on conflicts,” said Mueller. “Students are interested in conflicts, but they need to understand more than just the data and that these conflicts also have to do with environmental, cultural, economic issues.”