Browne Center Director Honored By Association For Experiential Education
By Beth Potier, Media Relations
April 23, 2008
Pam McPhee, executive director of the Browne Center for Innovative Learning. Credit: Rachel Elkind.
Pam McPhee, executive director of UNH’s Browne Center, was the Association
for Experiential Education’s (AEE) Josh Miner Dialogue Series honoree
at AEE’s Northeast Regional Conference in Hancock April 11 – 13,
2008. The honor is the highest bestowed by the Northeast region of the professional
As the Josh Miner Dialogue honoree, McPhee, a clinical assistant professor
of outdoor education, shared her experiences in outdoor education in an interview
forum for all conference participants. Anita Tucker, assistant professor of
social work, interviewed McPhee at the conference. They discussed McPhee’s
inspirations, mentors, and challenges, then McPhee led the audience in a group
activity akin to those used at the Browne Center.
“People said some awe-inspiring things, and a number of people said
that was the best part of the conference,” she said.
McPhee has directed the Browne Center for Innovative Learning, a teaching,
training and research affiliate of UNH’s kinesiology department, since
1993. She graduated from UNH with a self-designed major in outdoor education
-- a precursor to the current outdoor education program -- in 1983, then received
a master’s degree in social work from the University of Connecticut.
Prior to joining the Browne Center, McPhee was a full-time faculty member
at UNH and also worked for the National Outdoor Leadership School, Outward
Bound, the Wilderness Education Association and Project Adventure. McPhee is
also an accomplished equestrian and has introduced equine-assisted learning,
an emerging field, to the Browne Center curriculum. She lives in Durham.
“Pam has been instrumental in the development of the UNH outdoor education
program, as well as the field of experiential education on both a regional
and national level,” said Michael Gass, professor of outdoor education
and chair of the department of kinesiology. “She is sought out as an
expert in several areas of the field, and is well known not only for her depth
of knowledge and experience in group facilitation, but also for the compassionate
and successful approaches she uses. Her recent examination of equine-assisted
learning is just one example of how Pam continues to explore methods to best
Founded in 2003, the Josh Miner Dialogue Series honors Josh Miner, a founding
trustee of Outward Bound and a key figure in bringing the educational principles
of Outward Bound to the U.S. The series was established after Miner spoke at
the Northeast Regional Conference of AEE in 2001, several months before his
death. While Miner’s original speech was not recorded, the Josh Miner
Dialogue Series is now videotaped so that recipients’ wisdom, advice,
and personal stories are available for future outdoor educators.
The Browne Center for Innovative Learning, located in Durham on 103 wooded
acres five miles from campus, has provided innovative learning opportunities
to a diverse range of clients since the early 1980s. Dedicated to advancing
the standards of excellence of experiential learning, the Browne Center offers
team-building and training sessions for corporate, civic and charitable, and
youth clients. Its facilities include high and low challenge courses, a seminar
building for meetings and team-building initiatives, and several yurts for
rustic overnight stays.