EDUS 660 #1: Growing the Seeds of Change

Hello, everyone

I am a student in the Adult Learning program in the SOE.  My track of study is Human Resource Development. I have worked in public education for twenty years.  The last four years I have concentrated on work in the non-profit sector.

My teaching skills and love of education didn’t cease when leaving the traditional classroom.  As a Literacy Volunteer, I provide English Language skills and tutoring weekly for an adult student.  This is the first teaching experience where my student does all of her homework and more than I ask.  It’s very exciting to work with someone who wants to learn!

As a Master Gardener, I have worked with children as part of an after school gardening program.  I am hopeful that the program that I create for the Design and Delivery of Adult Programs will come to fruition with the creation of a parent-child gardening class.

I am a volunteer at the University of Virginia Medical Center I have worked in the surgical family lounge, the gift shop and the flowers for patients program. In June, I will be the president of the organization. An auxiliary in a large medical center is like a small corporation. The work of this organization ties hearts and hands to work that supports the medical staff.  This role is the perfect medium to cultivate the seeds sown in the Adult Learning curriculum.  My most recent course of study in Organizational Change has ignited a desire dig deeper into the theories and research of the management experts we explored.

I have general ideas regarding the process of research, however, I have not participated in research where new ideas were generated. My experiences are limited to exploration of passions within a field of current study in my program.  In my last blog entry for Organizational Change, I indicated that what I knew about the topic could fit on an index card.  While I am not an entirely blank slate, I imagine that I would be hard pressed to fill one side of that index card with knowledge about the “correct” processes and procedures for research.

Dr. William Muth, my Theories of Adult Learning professor shared that Learning from Strangers, The Art and Method of Qualitative Interview Studies by Robert S. Weiss was important to his growth as a researcher.  I immediately purchase it and hope that this course will provide a balance between quantitative and qualitative research.

My current interest is in creating communities of leaders through mentorship.  I am also interested in compassion and mindfulness in organizational life.

One of the last readings from Adult 625 was about compassion in organizational life.  I was intrigued by the discussion of the dynamics of organizational compassion.

“An organizations’ capacity for collective noticing, feeling, and responding thus derives from its “mindfulness” (Weick, Sutcliffe, & Obstfeld, 1999), The compassionate Organizations Quiz, from Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, is a good place to start when considering how leaders model and cultivate pockets of compassion in organizations. Are all the organizations in my life compassionate?  Do the leaders model compassionate behavior?

Ultimately, I would like to use my graduate studies to be an educational consultant. I feel certain that further study in both of these areas will certainly enhance my skills as a consultant.

The image that I’ve selected to represent research is one of a row of Tennis Ball Lettuce. Thomas Jefferson kept precise records with his daily observation of what was growing and happening in his garden.  His copious notes have allowed the foundation to recreate his garden, as it would have looked in the 18th Century. We believe that he planted a thimble full of lettuce seeds each week from February to June to ensure an ample crop.  Visitors are astonished that a seed as small as a lettuce seed could produce a head of lettuce.

With the right conditions, a “thimble-full” of significant ideas, facts and data could produce something of quality.

I took this image at Monticello where I  am a Garden Ambassador with the Revolutionary Garden Program.

Tennis Ball Lettuce-Monticello
Tennis Ball Lettuce-Monticello

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