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Laura Sankey Conducts Research on Teaching and Learning in Sweden

Posted: September 20, 2013

Laura Sankey, Ph.D. candidate, shares a first-hand account of her experience conducting research in Sweden in May 2013.
Laura Sankey traveled to Sweden in May 2013

Laura Sankey traveled to Sweden in May 2013

My entire professional career has focused on teaching and learning. As a graduate student in Agriculture and Extension Education my doctoral program has focused on preparing future agriculture high school teachers. My research interests lie in improving the teaching and learning process in agriculture education, more specifically post-secondary agriculture education. Education is a global enterprise, but also varies importantly from one society to the next. I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Uppsala, Sweden in May 2013 to investigate teaching and learning approaches of faculty at one of the world’s leading agricultural sciences institutions. My research centered on developing an international partnership in an area that makes up one third of our land grant’s mission, teaching. Comparing faculty perceptions of effective teaching and learning, domestically and abroad, by exploring through a short-term study experience within the context of post-secondary agriculture education in Sweden at the national university dedicated to teaching agricultural sciences, will present opportunity to expand the current knowledge base on what is effective teaching and how post-secondary agriculture educators can continue to improve scholarship and develop professionally.

Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), is a world class university of higher education in the life and environmental sciences across the country of Sweden. SLU is a leading institute in research and education encompassing a vast range from genes and molecules to biological diversity, animal health, sustainable forestry and food supply. Research and teaching activities are carried out throughout the country at SLU’s four main campuses located at: Alnarp, Skara, Uppsala and Umeå.

I spent six weeks at the Uppsala campus developing and fostering partnerships with award winning faculty at SLU. I worked closely with the Division of Student Affairs and Learning to identify and connect with the identified faculty. I conducted qualitative interviews to collect information on specific pedagogies utilized by the award winning faculty.

The scholarly work accomplished during my stay in Sweden was exciting, however, immersing myself in the day to day life was an unforgettable experience itself. I stayed in student housing in Sernanders Vag, approximately 12 miles from campus. I learned quickly how to navigate through Uppsala utilizing the public bus system and the well marked, intricately planned walking/biking paths. A block was the ICA Supermarket that I visited frequently to purchase my daily/weekly food items.

I also provided time to visit all the local tourist attractions, including the historical Viking burial grounds in Gamla Uppsala, the significant Cathedral in Uppsala city, visited the Baltic Sea shore, and traveled by train into the Capital of Scandinavia, Stockholm.