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On February 26, 2014 a group of students attended the Kansas Hunger Dialogue in Wichita, KS. This marked the third annual Kansas Hunger Dialogue, an event sponsored by Kansas State University. The event brought together individuals from across the state to build awareness, advocacy, and action about hunger through the sharing of research, best practices, and model programs. This event is based on the belief that something is terribly wrong when enough food is produced that allows for every person to have 4.3 pounds each day, yet one billion go hungry. As a result, Kansas Colleges and Universities met regarding a campus system, and statewide commitment to integrating hunger awareness, advocacy, and action.Fort Hays State University had the largest delegation at the event. This included a dozen students on the trip, 6 of whom were part of 3 separate presentations. A group of Leadership 310, (Fieldwork in Leadership Studies) students presented about their experience organizing Poverty Awareness Week and Shack City last October. Agriculture Department students presented their experience helping with SWIPE Out Hunger. Brendon McCampbell presented his practices for food and hunger initiatives presented insight on the Victor E. Garden and Tiger Food Exchange. Among the students on the trip were 2 KAMS students in the Global Challenges class. Our food and hunger work at FHSU has clearly been an inspiration to other campuses across Kansas.Alyssa Peppiatt, a senior in Organizational Leadership, participated in the Dialogue with her Leadership 310 team including Nathanel Holland and Brenna Johnson. Peppiatt said, “The event brought unity among the Kansas Universities that there is indeed an issue with hunger on both worldwide and national levels. We, as college students, have the opportunity to gain this knowledge and make a difference in the simplest ways. This was a great chance to share perspectives with other universities on areas we could improve, change, and continue to advocate this serious issue in many diverse ways.” Thank you to all Fort Hays State University students who represented our University for a great cause.
education takes on new meaning in a nation of islands
Leadership studies professor begins her
work at FHSU
in China, then finds
possibilities in Indonesia
03/06/14 kb local, statewide
HAYS, Kan. -- Dr. Jeni McRay's career at Fort Hays State
University started in China, took a detour to Indonesia for another university
as part of a U.S. Justice Department project, then returned to the United States,
Where, in fact, she lives, but still teaches in China for
FHSU. She is an assistant professor of leadership studies, teaching five
sections of undergraduate leadership studies courses for two of FHSU's Chinese
partner institutions, Shenyang Normal University, Shenyang (pronounced
shinYAHNG), and Sias International University, Xinzheng (pronounced shinJUNG). She
also teaches a virtual graduate course for FHSU's Department of Leadership
The time in Indonesia, she said, was "amazing."
"It was the single greatest professional experience of
my life, because, as a teacher, you always want people to be really engaged in
what it is that you're doing, and you really want to feel like you have some
impact and you want to feel like they are really learning from you," she
And the people in Jakarta, she said, "really learned,
and they wanted to learn, and they wanted more."
"They would have come back for another week or two.
They were just fantastically, genuinely engaged and interested in everything we
had to say."
What she was teaching in Indonesia's capital, at the academy
of the Indonesian National Police, was how to teach at a distance. She was
teaching teachers, many of whom already had Ph.D.s, people who occupied high
levels of a very hierarchical world.
The job was a consulting contract with Northern Arizona
University, Flagstaff. That university was, and is, working with the U.S.
Department of Justice's International Criminal Investigation Training
Assistance Program (ICITAP, called "issytap"). The particular project
on which McRay worked is one component of an initiative to complete the
conversion of the Indonesian National Police from a military to a civilian model.
The instructional challenge in that is the nature of
Indonesian geography: a country of more than 17,000 islands, more than 900 of
which are permanently inhabited by 234 million people. It is, said McRay, one
of the largest democracies in the world. Much education is necessarily at a
"What we're doing," she said, "is teaching
the faculty at what we would call the national police academy how to move their
content from a face-to-face format to distance technology, so they can reach
out to the people in some of the outlying locations and islands."
The directors of ICITAP Indonesia had a connection with
Northern Arizona, where a former colleague of McRay's contacted her, whose
background is not in police work but in education.
"My expertise has been in online course development,
faculty development, program development -- training faculty, working with
It was this expertise that brought her to the attention of
Dr. Jill Arensdorf, chair of the Department of Leadership Studies at FHSU.
"Her primary teaching responsibility is in our
international program," said Arensdorf. "However, we are going to
start having her teach some domestic virtual courses as well as graduate
Arensdorf and McRay think there is a potential for partnerships
McRay, who traveled to both Indonesia and China last year,
sees possibilities. She was supposed to go to Indonesia first, having been
hired to a consulting contract with Northern Arizona's ICITAP project before
being hired at Fort Hays State. However, a delay in their security clearances
put off that trip until October, so, in the meantime, she went to China to
become familiar with the workings of FHSU's international program.
Then, reflecting on the educational possibilities in that
island nation, she said, "I was thinking that we could do something very
similar to what we do in the Chinese cross-border program with FHSU, which could
be directly teaching students at universities, either doing the cross-border
program that's similar to what Fort Hays State already has, where we bring some
Indonesian students here, or doing it the same way we do it in the
international program – a cooperating teacher in the physical classroom over
there and the instructor of record here."
She also said that Indonesia has a need for leadership
studies education in particular, as well as higher education in general. She
illustrated that point with the idea of the individual as a leader as part of a
"I think they are ready for, actually hungry for, the
idea that individual people can have an impact in a variety of different
organizations and not necessarily be in explicit leadership positions," she said, "and the idea
that they can be accepting of a diverse set of perspectives and how to effect
change within individual organizations using a collaborative partnership style.
That's a set of theories that I think they are ready for."
The challenges are many. The Indonesian educational
structure is in the beginning stages of developing distance education programs.
They are trying to do in a few years
-- make the leap from the traditional face-to-face classroom model of education
to online course delivery -- what was in the United States a decades-long
transition from classroom to correspondence to video tapes to interactive TV to
course management software.
Part of ICITAP, she said, is providing help building out the
infrastructure needed for the police academy to deliver its programs to
students in the outlying islands. That infrastructure, however, is dedicated to
the police training program, sponsored by the U.S. Justice Department, owned by
the Indonesian police and run by a contract with Northern Arizona University.
That would not be available for other partnerships.
But, she said, trying to create partnerships with existing
higher education institutions in Indonesia could provide additional
opportunities for FHSU.
"I have no idea what their capabilities are at a
university level," she said. "But I do know there is a consortium of
colleges right now that have partnerships with Indonesian universities, and
that is something we can explore."
Speaking of the programs available in China and elsewhere,
she said, "We already have the structure and the expertise at Fort Hays
State to be able to move the same kinds of programs we have in China to other
areas, and because of the need in Indonesia and because of the thirst in
Indonesia, and because of the attitude that I experienced when I was there, I
just felt that it was ripe with possibilities."
What most impressed her, though, were the people she met in
the classroom in Jakarta.
"I have been doing a lot of different types of
education for over 20 years, and I have never had a more engaged group of learners,"
she said. "Ever."
This site was created by FHSU Leadership Studies faculty member Heather Kriley. Heather and Leadership Studies faculty member Pandora Rupert teach the LDRS 310 course to students in our cross border partnerships at SIAS University and Shenyang Normal University in China. Follow the site to learn about service-learning projects in China throughout the semester. We applaud Heather, Pandora, and the students who are creating change in their communities.
Congratulations to the following Fort Hays State University LDRS students. They have been named to the Deans
Honor Roll for the Fall 2013 semester.
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