Experiential Learning and Leadership

Criteria for Experiential Learning (EXL) Course Designation

Goal 1 of Learning by Doing is to “enhance instructional delivery through activity-based and experiential learning practices.” In order to achieve that goal and to support the leadership certificate, which is also part of the QEP, we have broadened the second component (bridge courses) of the Leadership Certificate (LC). The approach allows for any 3000/4000- level course to be identified as an Experiential Learning (EXL) course. If an LC student takes the EXL course, then the EXL course will be considered an LC bridge course in that student’s program of study. The faculty member teaching the course will only have to assess the LC student, NOT the entire class of students, using Chalk & Wire (C&W). 

Rationale for the Experiential Learning Course Designation:
The QEP, Learning by Doing, is significant in supporting the University’s education mission strategic plan goal that states, “Incorporate activity-based and experiential learning practices into their course curricula, as appropriate, using academically endorsed best practices.” The goals of the QEP also identify experiential learning as a critical component:

  • GOAL 1. Enhance instructional delivery through activity-based and experiential learning practices.
  • GOAL 2. Provide opportunities for students to apply skills and knowledge acquired through activity-based and experiential learning in practical experiences.
  • GOAL 3. Prepare students to be leaders in their future professional, educational, and service endeavors by providing leadership curriculum that can lead to a certificate.

Criteria for Experiential Learning and Leadership (EXL) Course Designation
Any course section may be designated as EXL. The “designation” will not replace the course descriptor (ex. MNGT), but will identify that course as using experiential or active learning pedagogy. Each EXL course must provide opportunities for students to meet the Professionalism outcome plus at least two other specified learning outcomes:

  • Communication - Students will demonstrate their ability to communicate in a manner appropriate for the audience and occasion.
  • Problem Solving - Students will demonstrate problem solving skills.
  • Leadership - Students will explain selected leadership theories or models as related to student's own leadership development/experience.
  • Professionalism - Students will exhibit behaviors that distinguish them as competent professionals in their field. (required)
  • Teamwork - Students will be able to effectively work in teams.

A course will receive an EXL designation when it meets all of the following criteria:

  • Meets at least 3 of the designated SLOs
  • Includes experiential learning component or active learning pedagogy such as:
    • Have a service learning component
    • Have an experiential learning component (broadly defined) and/or include active learning pedagogy
    • Have a group project that develops some aspect of leadership skills, such as collaboration, communication, problem solving, etc.

The course pedagogy should include:

  • Intention: Experiences are carefully chosen for their learning potential (i.e. whether they provide opportunities for students to practice and deepen emergent skills, encounter novel and unpredictable situations that support new learning, or learn from natural consequences, mistakes, and successes).
  • Engagement: Throughout the experiential learning process, the learner is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, and constructing meaning, and is challenged to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for results.
  • Reflection: Reflection on learning during and after one’s experiences is an integral component of the learning process. This reflection leads to analysis, critical thinking, and synthesis (Schon, 1983; Boud, Cohen, & Walker, 1993).
  • Faculty teaching the EXL course must agree to 1) participate in an EXL workshop, 2) submit a pre-approval application, identifying how the course will meet the criteria for receiving an EXL designation, 3) submit the syllabus for review, and 4) assess any LC students who may take the EXL course using Chalk and Wire.

EXL Courses as Bridge Courses
The Certificate of Leadership exposes students to learning experiences that foster their leadership and professional development. Therefore, students who are pursuing the Certificate of Leadership must complete at least six EXL course credits in their degree plans. These EXL courses may relate directly to the major or may be a qualified elective in the program’s curriculum.

For the EXL course to count as a bridge course for the student, faculty must agree to assess the leadership student(s) on their leadership development during the course. Assessments will be easily completed using Chalk & Wire. Students must be assessed on Professionalism and the other two other SLOs identified for the course to meet the EXL designation.