Wardlow Encourages Agricultural Education Leaders to Be 'Giants'

Monday, December 23, 2013
George Wardlow, department head of agricultural, education, communications and technology, was the distinguished lecturer at the American Association for Agricultural Education national meeting.

George Wardlow, department head of agricultural, education, communications and technology, was the distinguished lecturer at the American Association for Agricultural Education national meeting.

George Wardlow, head of the agricultural education, communications and technology department in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, was the featured speaker at the American Association for Agricultural Education national meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

Wardlow joined an elite group in being selected as the distinguished lecturer for the 2013 conference, and was asked to speak on his experiences in "Walking with Giants."

"I could follow the use of giants as being revered individuals back to basically Genesis," said Wardlow, which he used as the beginning of his speech.

Who are these people of history and modern culture, and what makes them so special that they are considered giants? Wardlow mentioned many influential leaders of his profession.

"I named some later giants in our profession and I said 'I have walked among these giants,'" said Wardlow. "Then I challenged the younger members of the profession, telling them they are currently walking among those people, who during the next generation, will be revered as giants."

One person Wardlow talked about was "Paul Marvin, who piloted a B-29 in the Pacific in World War II," he said, but that's not what made him a giant.

Marvin, who was born in 1918 and died in 2010, attended the University of Minnesota in 1948 and earned a degree in agricultural education. After teaching for a few years and serving his country, he returned to the university in 1957 and received a master's and in 1960 received a doctorate in education. Marvin created one of the first doctoral programs in agricultural education.

Wardlow also mentioned Glen Shinn, professor emeritus and senior scientist at the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. Shinn developed a program at Texas A&M that is "unmatched" as an agricultural education program.

"He changed the face of agricultural education at Texas A&M, and in doing that, he strongly influenced agricultural education programs everywhere," said Wardlow.

Shinn influenced Wardlow not only because of his accomplishments, but also personally, as an administrator in the agricultural education profession.

"Here's what I learned from Shinn," said Wardlow. "A good administrator hires good people—they empower them to do their job—and then they get out of their way."

Wardlow has kept that in mind through his years as an administrator. He said he has tried his best to appoint good people and provide the resources they need to do their job the best they can.

Among administrators, faculty and students in the profession, there are different giants for different people. One thing they have in common is they teach and inspire younger generations to learn.

"Other people have other giants, and it is important for them to identify who those people are and why they would call them a giant so they can learn from them," said Wardlow.

Wanting to encourage another generation just like the giants in his speech, Wardlow intended to inspire younger members of the profession to lead and not follow.

"There are things that are going on in the profession now that everybody just follows along with and there are few people who are making those things happen, and that's the difference," said Wardlow. "Those are the ones who will be revered as the giants in the next generation."

Contacts:

Maddison Stewart, student, agricultural reporting & feature writing
Bumpers College
870-323-1150, mfstewar@uark.edu

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