Michael D. Andrew

Distinguished Professor Award

Professor of Education

College of Liberal Arts

 

Right: Mike Andrew shows off a spring foal in the fields of Three Crow Farm.

 

 

The fine art of raising horses, sheep, and outstanding teachers
Michael Andrew

The high green fields of Mike Andrew's Three Crow Farm in Gorham, Maine are in full use this summer. In one paddock, four Standardbred colts are grazing; in another, a flock of Hampshire sheep run excitedly from a barn shed; another field is a virtual Standardbred nursery—four glossy mares trot uphill with four spring foals tagging behind; in yet another, a dark, intense stallion eyes the yearling fillies in the next field.

Watching from a fence is Andrew's partner, Anita, who has been accompanied on this tour of the farm by two dogs and a sheep named Little Orphan Annie that Anita saved when the mother died after giving birth.

Altogether there are 20 horses on the 65-acre farm, as well as 30 sheep and assorted flocks of chickens. The centerpiece is the 1774 farmhouse where Andrew was raised. In addition to existing structures, a new barn is going up, and he has just built a spanking new, whitewash-clean blacksmith shop where he can practice another passion, forging traditional ironwork such as candlesticks and kitchen items out of hard steel.

There is a distinct purposefulness to Mike Andrew as he conducts this tour of his property. His farm makes a bucolic picture that harks back to another time, but it is truly a modern working enterprise. His horses— 11 in training now—compete in races in New England and beyond. Trophies adorn a shelf in his kitchen. A long-time owner and breeder of trotters, he is a former commissioner on the Maine State Harness Racing Commission and is currently vice president of the Maine Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association.

That is one side of Mike Andrew, former world-class polo player, gentleman farmer, trotting-horse and sheep breeder.

An earthy, grounded man of seemingly limitless depth, the other side of Mike Andrew is the Harvard University graduate, scholar, and UNH director of teacher education who calls his Distinguished Professor award "a big surprise, a big honor." But the honor is not a surprise to his colleagues, one of whom states firmly, "He loves students more than anyone I know."

Nationally, Andrew is one of the principal architects of the post-B.A. teaching internship in teacher education. The groundbreaking design for the popular five-year program was put in place at UNH in 1974. It has been turning out committed teachers—who spend their last year testing the waters by working in the classroom—ever since.

Of his classes, he enjoys Exploring Teaching the most, where "I get to hear the idealism of young teachers. The young people going into teaching today are even more talented than 40 years ago, I think." Ninety-two percent of students in the department's five-year program find jobs when they leave UNH, and almost all are still teaching five years later.

"He helped us to set clear goals for ourselves...and he was honest, approachable, and more than respectful throughout the term," one student wrote in an evaluation. "My drive to become a good teacher was heightened by Mike's love of teaching," another wrote.

"My teaching is eclectic," Andrew explains. "I do a great deal of planning, but my classes don't look like I have. I want to create a motivational climate in which students want to learn. If you have that, the rest is easy."

Andrew says he is motivated by the prospect of turning out excellent teachers. "I love to see the people coming out of our program, staying in the schools, fighting the battle, trying to make education better. That's what keeps me going."

Horses, sheep, and education? "I've always had separate pieces to my life," Andrew says. "That's just my nature. Here on the farm I am refreshed. When I go back to UNH, it helps me keep things in perspective. You can't take yourself too seriously."

—Mary Peterson

 

books Find out what Michael Andrew is reading...