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Congratulations to Rosemary (Rose) McBride who was selected as our February Fellow of the Month! Rose is a professor of agricultural economics and agroecology at Laramie County Community College (LCCC) in Cheyenne. In her application to the LAMP, Rose detailed lofty goals. She wanted to learn how to, “…concretely instruct and evaluate application of agriculture program-level competencies in collaboration and problemsolving into measurable results in course-level success in collaboration and problemsolving activities.” Rose went on to explain that her teaching philosophy was guided by the 3 R’s (rigor, relevancy and relationship).
When Rose arrived at the LAMP Summer Institute, she found herself surrounded by the third of the 3 R’s, lots of new relationships. As we collaboratively experienced the tenants of team-based learning (TBL), problem-based learning (PBL) and the power of the affective domain, Rose quickly began to thrive. With each new session together, Rose uncovered new connections, built new truths and dove ever deeper into literature. Each night at 3 o’clock in the morning, my email in-box would ding with another email from Rose. Her experience of self-actualization was unmatched and her changing internal landscape manifested in external products ranging from an inspired teaching philosophy to a manifesto! When, on the last day of the Summer Institute, I hugged Rose and said goodbye through a veil of tears, I knew that the hurricane force of Rose McBride would not stop until the lives of every single LCCC student, faculty and staff member had been positively affected!
I was not wrong! Within days of returning to Cheyenne, Rose galvanized the LCCC General Education Committee. They drafted and solidified a General Education Philosophy Statement. A short passage from that document exemplifies the passionate ripples of change that Rose had already begun to enact:
"We at LCCC believe that 'how' we learn is far more important than 'what' we learn. A successful general education program will help students transform their own lives on their chosen paths following graduation. Our program will be founded on four essential practices
Students who are successful in these 4 essential practices will be better prepared to be leaders and entrepreneurs in their fields and their communities."
In July, Rose turned her attention to writing her own Instructional Strategy which was guided by constructivist philosophies – the belief that students engaging in experimentation born of authentic student and instructor inspiration is the only thing that enables deep learning. Rose’s strategy thoughtfully acknowledged that students learn best through a systems approach, one which acknowledges that problems can only be solved when we think beyond the limitations of a single discipline / a single way of seeing the world. Rose aligned this philosophy with her instructional approach and proposed to incorporate team-based learning modules into her Agricultural Economics course. Additionally, she stated the goal of integrating authentic entrepreneurship activities that aim to develop student creativity, empathy, experimentation and metacognition. For each course learning outcome, Rose considered an assignment and an assessment that align with the outcome. Moreover, Rose beautifully considered how the instruction attended to inclusion:
"As in the ancient Indian parable of the blind men and the elephant, a group of blind men who have never come across an elephant before, learn and conceptualize what the elephant is like by touching it. Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant body, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk. They then describe the elephant based on their partial experience and their descriptions are in complete disagreement on what an elephant is. The course is the elephant, and the students are blind men/women learning and conceptualizing independently in partial and incomplete ways. The key to success in the course is hinged on the ability to facilitate for the students the integration of their learning in diverse and collaborative ways. By the transparent and intentional formation of diverse teams with the opportunity for team-based assessment, the collaborative course design strives to be inclusive of all students. Activities within the framework of the course will also consider the backgrounds and needs of individual students in the broader course."
Throughout the 2018-2019 academic year, Rose has been implementing her instructional strategy. Most recently, she has also joined the LAMP Scholars Learning Assistant Program as the mentor of an undergraduate learning assistant. Rose has grown her pedagogical scholarship and she has submitted teaching practices for consideration to the Effectuation Conference at Darden. She is also actively engaged in a mixed-methods research study that investigates the impacts of the integration of entrepreneurship into Ag Econ (as detailed above). All of these products are simply external evidence of a massive evolution of Rose’s internal landscape. The latter changes are best storied by Rose’s new Statement of Teaching Philosophy. Rather than an adopted 3 R’s approach, Rose’s new statement has become an inspired, authentic and original document that explains learning as a process and a constant journey.
"Knowledge creation is the formation of new ideas through the interaction of existing knowledge and beliefs and new knowledge and experiences. Knowledge creation is a participatory and community-based pursuit in my courses. Entrepreneurial effectuation is a set of heuristics that entrepreneurs use in decision-making. It describes the way entrepreneurs act based on things within their control to build networks of self-selected stakeholders. I have a desire to help empower every one of my students’ effectual entrepreneur inside."
Rosemary McBride, you are an inspiration to us all. Your bravery, your willingness to allow what is really important to guide your instruction and your own learning gives us all new ambition, excitement and hope! It is my greatest pleasure to honor you as the February LAMP Fellow of the Month!