AgEd 380

Class Reflection – Spring 2012

The team-based nature of this course made it one of my more favored courses so far. A major overarching theme of AgEd 380 was making the distinction between the definition of a group and a team. In everyday conversations, we use these terms interchangeably as if they have the same meaning. With leadership, groups and teams are related but deserve to have their own distinctive definition. Groups are merely persons doing assigned tasks in a coordinated manner but teams are when there is a connection and an open dialogue with all members working for a single objective.

Professor Rosch did an exceptional job in creating an environment that encouraged collaboration and community between classmates. The structure of the class was very flexible and feedback was consistently asked for as to how to improve our learning experience. Observing the leadership processes and dynamics of the course were the beneficial aspects I gained the most from. Surely, learning the theories was helpful to reference, but the actual act of practicing the leadership is what left an impact on me. Specifically, the group activity to put together a fund-raiser provided a real-life situation with classroom dynamics.

In this activity, each project group was challenged to organize a fundraiser of some type to raise funds for a non-profit organization. This gave our group an opportunity to experience conflict in deciding the product to sell, which organization to donate to, and how to execute our sales. Overall, this gave me a better perspective on how to effectively be a part of a team and what dynamics to keep in consideration.

Even months after the conclusion of this course, I find myself still relating back to the content and citing many concepts learned and discussions we had. The unique thing about this course was its unique ability to connect leadership theory to real-life application in a classroom setting. Doing so can be challenging for anyone. Although my intent of taking part in the leadership certificate program was not the academic classes, this course made me appreciate the requirement. Particularly, it helped me better prepare myself to work on and embrace the team development portion of my PDP.

The names of the numerous concepts and messages of this course have slipped away from me, but the messages remain strong. As mentioned before, during this course, we were placed into differing semester-long project groups. This gave an opportunity for me to work on the relationship building aspect, but also on self-awareness. The reason that this learning opportunity was particularly beneficial to me was due to a specific team member not following the group norms. This individual seemed to have their own agenda and didn’t seem interested in helping the long term success of the group. Instead of working to embrace everyone’s strengths, they took over portions of our project they wanted without consultation.

Handling conflicts within groups and teams actually is a challenge that I faced here and continue to face every day. Practicing issue resolution techniques is one of the major benefits I gained from this experience. This “real life” scenario has helped me continue to succeed and grow.