Experiential Learning has developed during the past three decades as an increasing resource for higher education professionals. In the early 1970’s, the rise of experiential learning’s popularity began by recognizing the need to delineate traditional academia from vocational training. This led to the development of research areas that exemplify the importance of learning outside the classroom to solidify learning in the classroom.
The evolution of student needs and expectations has also pushed for the inclusion of more experiential opportunities in curriculum. Today’s millennial student and their parents expect not only a well-rounded academic experience, but also a tangible return on investment (ROI). While that ROI language can seem off-putting to today’s higher education professional, the reality is that all of experiential learning’s facets (internships, service learning, community engagement, civic engagement and undergraduate research) are now expected to be an integral part a student’s higher education experience. This can put pressure on faculty who are already very busy.
Faculty members seek resources that make the incorporation of experiential learning in their curriculum less taxing on their already packed schedules. The CU Denver Experiential Learning Center provides those resources:
- A staff of three full-time internship advisors who each specialize in specific programmatic areas and manage relationships with many employers on the local and national (sometimes international) stages.
- A full-time community engagement advisor who connects students, faculty and community partners for service initiatives.
The Experiential Learning Center is here to provide insight, resources and consultation. The ELC can make the tasks of faculty in regards to experiential learning positive and ultimately transformative for the campus and community. Please speak with your faculty colleagues who are actively incorporating experiential learning in their curricula and contact the Experiential Learning Center at 303-556-6656 for more information on how future collaboration can develop.