Since the time of publishing the last issue of Experience Magazine: Practice and Theory, many members of the Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA) have continued to grow, expand, and evolve their respective corners of the Experiential Learning world. Many stakeholders are breaking new ground, and they are doing so in exciting ways.
For example, Drexel University has created an Entrepreneurship Co-op, a program funded by their Close School of Entrepreneurship, providing teachers and learners a chance to collaborate in new and interesting ways. In addition to encouraging their sophomores to explore internships, co-ops, and research over the summer through their Reflective Immersive Sophomore Experience program, the University of Puget Sound is leveraging their alumni engagement efforts to pilot a campus-wide mentorship program to collaboratively build career pathways for students. The University of Waterloo has developed a number of collaborative innovations in experiential education, such as the Co-op Research Certificate and the Enterprise Co-op, the latter allowing students to start their very own businesses while earning academic credit. The University of South Carolina will be launching the new My UofSC Experience, a collaboration funded by the Lumina Foundation, which aims to empower learners to articulate and actualize their educational journey by leveraging their networks. The University of Colorado is leading a collaborative network called the QUAD, an inter-institutional partnership with Colorado Springs, Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College, and the United States Air Force Academy, all aligning efforts to form a cross-disciplinary team to address needs in the community. Trinity College leaders are currently planning to collaborate with the Stanford University’s d.school in order to bring home ideas to support liberal arts students. Leaders at the University of Cincinnati are launching a new Employer Institute, a new Service Learning Co-op program, and have recently launched a new Cyber-Security Apprenticeship program, all of which were collaboratively created.
Are you recognizing a common theme here, a fundamental element at the center of all of these innovative ideas, programs, and projects? Not one of these efforts is happening in isolation.
Most understand that our field continues to evolve, continues to grow, and continues to innovate because it MUST do so. The field demands it. The world is thirsty for it. Stakeholders, universities, and academic communities are innovating, too, because they must. Their work depends on it. We have been forced to adapt, and in doing so, we have been relearning – exercising again – the lesson that drew each of us to the field in the first place.
We do our best work together. We innovate through collaboration.
It is not only an exciting time to be involved in the world of Experiential Learning, but it’s a crucial time to be doing the work with others — with us and with them. It is the perfect time to share best practices, learn from peers and colleagues, embolden higher education to move the needle on solving real-world problems, and prepare our students to take-up the same charge. Now is the time to deconstruct silos and build bridges — this has never been more apparent and available.
In these pages, you will find best practice highlights, field trends, how-to articles and relevant information and resources for scholars and practitioners. What is written in these pages is for teachers and for learners, for thinkers and for doers, and perhaps most importantly for everyone that finds their voice in the spaces between.
You will notice, however, that not one of the articles in Experience Magazine: Practice and Theory lacks that one, important element. They will each speak to the most crucial component of innovation – Collaboration.
We can do more, and we can do better, when we do it together.
Dr. Michael J. Sharp, Editor