LAWRENCE — The KU Core, the new undergraduate curriculum for all University of Kansas students, encourages students to participate in experiential learning to fulfill one of the 12 required units. In anticipation of increased interest and participation in experiential learning, KU has established the Collaborative for Experiential Learning.
The KU community is invited to visit the new offices of two members of the Collaborative — the Center for Undergraduate Research and the Center for Civic and Social Responsibility (formerly the Center for Service Learning) — and the new Office of First-Year Experience at an Open House in Strong Hall from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7.
“Establishing the KU Core as the universitywide curriculum beginning in fall 2013 is perhaps the most visible way we are strengthening the exceptional undergraduate education students receive at KU,” Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Jeff Vitter said. “In addition, our strategic plan, Bold Aspirations, calls for enhancements in first-year programs and experiential learning not only to boost our retention and graduation rates, but to better prepare undergraduates for successful lives and careers. “
The Collaborative for Experiential Learning brings together staff from these KU units: the Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, Study Abroad & International Programs, University Career Center and the Center for Undergraduate Research with the goal to develop, expand and promote experiential learning on campus. It is also working with the Office of First-Year Experience to connect students to opportunities for experiential learning as part of their KU education.
“The Collaborative is an exciting way to bring together the strong programs established at KU with the new Center for Undergraduate Research,” said John Augusto, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research. “Working together, we can find new ways to implement programs that cut across our individual areas and develop promotional materials that highlight individual programs but also promote to students and their families the importance of experiential learning as a part of the overall KU experience.”
The Collaborative is initiating a clearinghouse to support educational experiences at KU, create a tracking system for students and oversee assessment. This will allow the Collaborative to forward approved experiences to the University Core Curriculum Committee for inclusion in the KU Core. The Collaborative also oversees the majority of the undergraduate certificate programs on campus and will ensure certificate programs are part of KU Core.
“John and I are excited to welcome students as well as faculty and staff to our new, central location in Strong Hall,” said Andi Witczak, director of the Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. “Integrating experiences in the KU Core is an example of how KU is a leader among its peers in providing formative experiences that make a college degree more than a collection of credits.”
Faculty Fellows will work within first-year experience, civic and social responsibility and undergraduate research to coordinate best practices programming, facilitate planning with faculty advisory boards and promote the role of faculty in course based/non-course based experiential learning. Each faculty fellow is expected to actively contribute to the development of first-year experiences or experiential learning opportunities across campus.
Three of four faculty fellows have been appointed:
- Civic & Social Responsibility: Shannon Criss, associate professor of architecture
- First Year Experience: Jeremy Shellhorn, associate professor of design, and Robert Bayliss, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese
- Undergraduate Research: To be determined later this month