Kim Gordon, SPHR: assistant master technical instructor University of Arkansas-Fort Smith.
I Leading an interdisciplinary team of 14 students on an archaeological dig in Peru a year ago, Kim Gordon, SPHR, checked off one item on her bucket list--an Indiana Jones adventure. "With ground-penetrating radar, we identified two burial areas on the site, one with mass graves and the other with tombs," she says. For Gordon, 48, assistant master technical instructor at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, it was a perfect application of the workforce development curriculum she teaches.
Her eclectic group included students in business, history, education, biology and computer-aided design. "No archaeology majors," Gordon says. To prepare them for the dig, Gordon devised a "systems thinking approach" that included visits to the World Trade Center Lima, the U.S. Embassy, and historic and cultural sites. "It helped them understand the history as well as the business and tourism aspects of the country," she says.
Working in the university's workforce leadership program, Gordon is comfortable with nontraditional students and learning. Among her students are bank branch managers, newly promoted supervisors, middle managers, derailed supervisors and high-potential employees. "Not in any other classroom are you going to have that mix of people," she says. "My students learn as much from each other as they do from me."
It's no surprise that Gordon is education chair of the Western Arkansas Human Resource Association, where she has developed topics and found speakers for about 90 events.
By Alice Andors, a freelance writer in Arlington, Va.