Centre College hosted the Engaging Kentucky Undergraduates Through Experiential Education conference on March 21, funded by a multi-year grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation of Louisville.
The conference, a partnership with Kentucky Campus Compact, included about 120 people from 31 institutions across Kentucky and Tennessee.
Throughout the day, participants engaged in 12 sessions led by higher education faculty and staff from Centre, as well as Berea College, Bellarmine University, Eastern Kentucky University and more. The sessions included conversations centered around internships, community-based learning and experiential learning among other related topics in higher education.
Since the announcement of the conference in the fall, there was an overwhelming amount of response from those who wanted to participate, Experiential Learning Coordinator Ellen Prusinski said.
“This excitement was clearly evidenced at the conference itself, where people engaged enthusiastically in conversation about student learning, high-impact practices and how to work together across institutions,” she said.
As part of the conference, participants heard from keynote speaker George Kuh who is well-known for his work on the topic of high-impact practices. Kuh currently serves as a senior scholar at the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment and as Chancellor’s Professor of Higher Education Emeritus at Indiana University.
Kuh spoke about high impact practices in higher education and how they benefit student growth and learning.
“It was an honor and a privilege to be at Centre with colleagues from other Kentucky campuses and surrounding states to share what the research shows to be the developmentally powerful effects of experiential education, especially what we now know to be ‘high-impact practices,’ such as service learning, learning communities, student-faculty research, study away and internships, to name a few,” Kuh said.
“I have long admired Centre College for its commitment to high-quality liberal arts education with an emphasis on applied learning,” he continued, “and was delighted to spend time with faculty and staff discussing their work and ways to further enhance the rich undergraduate experience for which Centre is known.”
In August 2013, Centre was awarded a $500,000 grant for Engaged and Experiential Learning from the James Graham Brown Foundation.
Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations Elizabeth Graves explained that the conference is a component of this multi-year grant work Centre’s Vice President for Academic Affairs Stephanie Fabritius envisioned when she conceived of the Engaged and Experiential Learning Initiative.
“Our intention in hosting the conference was to invite staff and faculty from higher education institutions from across the state to discuss the high impact teaching practices of engaged and experiential learning, such as academic internships and community-based learning, with each other and to learn from one another,” Graves said.
by Kerry Steinhofer
March 27, 2017