Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Experiential Learning in Action - DBU Students Travel to Washington, D.C. to study Leadership in the Lives of the Founding Fathers

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of co-teaching a course with Dr. Adam Wright, DBU Vice President and Dean of our School of Leadership, that looked at leadership in the lives of our nation's Founding Fathers. What made this class unique was that it was developed as an experiential learning course where we took a group of 20 students to Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia. The trip was an amazing experience where we were able to dive deeply into the leadership of the Founding Fathers, and it allowed us the opportunity to study leadership in the midst of sites that played a pivotal role in our nation's history.

Here is a short video showing some of the experiences students had on the trip:

Here are just a few of the pictures that we took on the trip, with explanations of what we saw, and the leaders we had the chance to learn from:

Students had the opportunity to hear from a variety of leaders, including: Henry Deneen (pictured above), High-Level Administrator for the National Prayer Breakfast; Jim Kuhn, former Executive Assistant to President Ronald Reagan; Scott Brown, VP for the Christian Leadership Alliance; John Hill, U.S. Attorney's Office; and Emily Davis, DBU Alum and Deputy Communications Director for the American Action Network

Students had the opportunity to sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as Dr. Adam Wright shared about the core elements of visionary leadership as seen in the lives of Lincoln, Washington, and Jefferson.

Students had the opportunity to tour the U.S. Capitol, the Presidential Monuments on the National Mall, the National Archives, and much more in D.C. Pictured here is Chelsea Vaughn as she visits the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall.

Students had the opportunity to learn about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and other prominent leaders from the founding generation. In the picture above, students listen to Dr. Adam Wright give a lecture at the University of Virginia's Academical Village (designed by Thomas Jefferson). Students also visited George Washington's home, Mount Vernon, and Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello.

Students had the opportunity to worship at the Washington National Cathedral. Afterwards, we were able to have a tour of this national treasure, which has been the site of Presidential funerals, the Memorial Service after 9/11, and much more. 

Overall, the trip was a unique experience that allowed students to both learn from current national leaders, as well as learn about the great leadership principles from our Founding Generation.

Here are a few quotes from some of our students who went on the trip:

The Washington, DC Spring Break trip was an incredible experience and an impactful course...Walking in the footsteps of the founding fathers and considering their leadership impact encouraged my walk with the Lord and the impact I can have in my current time and circumstances. Anyone who desires to develop his or her leadership skills while having an absolute blast in our nation’s capital should, without a doubt, consider taking this course. - Sarah Dulin, Master's Student

The Washington DC Spring Break trip was a week to remember. It was amazing to be able to take an entire to week to study the different types of leadership. When you first think of leadership, you view it as very one-dimensional, but upon further study with Professor Cook and Dr. Wright, you will discover that leadership is very three-dimensional and can come in many different types and forms...This course stretched me to flip my view of leadership upside down. Leadership is not about position, pride, power, and authority; rather it is about humility, service, and love towards others. If we allow the Holy Spirit to instill these traits within us, then God will use us in great ways in each of our various positions of leadership. -Jonathan Fechner, Undergraduate Student

This class has truly grown my faith and has taught me how to better integrate my faith into my leadership style...Thank you for challenging and stretching me this week. I cannot tell you how much it has changed my perspective. -Annie Wells, Undergraduate Student