Dr. Jean Lonie Dudley Represents Tarleton State in UK Rural Leadership Program

Dr. Jean Lonie Dudley represented Tarleton State and the U.S. at a two-week intensive Challenge of Rural Leadership program in Devon, England.

STEPHENVILLE — Assistant Professor Jean Lonie Dudley recently represented not only Tarleton State’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources but the United States of America at a two-week intensive Challenge of Rural Leadership program in Devon, England.

“This year’s pool of applicants was noted as the largest it has ever had,” she said. “The program leaders have indicated I was the first American to participate in the program, making it an even bigger honor to participate.”

This is the 27th year for the program, supported by the Worshipful Company of Farmers and managed by the Rural Business School at Duchy College in England. Participants explore obstacles and contemporary issues facing agriculture and rural communities, collaborating to develop expertise and tools to help build individual and collective resiliency. Twenty participants are selected each year from across the globe.

The first week focused on a case study, seeing the participants partner with a local rural business to examine the work they are doing and providing ideas and expansion for the future. The second week was centered on personal and professional growth, delving into psychometrics, media experience, opportunity and conflict management, and leadership development. Throughout the program, there were also sessions with industry leaders who shared their backgrounds and paths to leadership.

“I’m very pleased that Dr. Dudley was chosen to participate in this rural leadership course,” said College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dean Barry Lambert. “What she learned there will undoubtedly be passed along to her students and will be useful to her as she works with agricultural producers and professionals across the state.”

Dr. Dudley said the course provided new teaching tools for her courses as well as helped refine her strategic thinking as graduate coordinator for the agricultural and consumer resources program. In addition, she is excited to apply the new insight and tools to the grants and research happening with groups like the Texas pecan industry.

“Thinking long term, I would love to see how we can develop a sister Challenge of Rural Leadership program to be hosted here at Tarleton State for Texas, the U.S. and other international participants,” she added.

Bringing together a group of people with varied backgrounds, training and passions to address big problems yields more ideas than working alone or with people who all have the same experiences and interests, Dr. Dudley said.

“It was very interesting to be the only American in terms of comparing ‘normal’ through the lens of agriculture and on the leadership development front, but the truth is that beyond our accents we have a whole lot that unites us.”

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