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Research Paper

Research Paper

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Published by Sally Blechschmidt

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Published by: Sally Blechschmidt on Apr 27, 2012
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Running head: RESEARCH PAPER 1Research Paper: Five Big Ten Centers for Experiential LearningSally BlechschmidtLoyola University Chicago
 
RESEARCH PAPER 2As a Big Ten alumna and someone who is interested in working at a large, researchinstitution, the author was curious how these universities structure experiential learning. In orderto understand this concept more fully, the author chose five institutions: Indiana University (IU,2008), Michigan State University (MSU, 2010), the University of Iowa (UI, 2011), theUniversity of Minnesota (UM, 2011a), and the University of Wisconsin at Madison (UW, 2010).Given the expansive nature of these universities, the author limited the scope of the centers. For
example, some institutions’ centers are under larger umbrella offices (e.g., MSU’s Office of University Outreach and Engagement and UM’s Office of Public Engagement) which frequently
address needs outside of student experiential learning. In addition to the review of each
institution’s center 
, the author interviewed a coordinator of 
advising within UW’s Center for 
Leadership and Involvement (CfLI) (see Appendix for transcript). The coordinator providedinsight which reinforces many of the research findings. Ultimately, this paper will weavetogether center information, components o
f the coordinators’ interview, and course content.
Structure of the Center
The centers vary in what they offer and how they are structured. UI
’s
(2011) PomerantzCareer Center for Leadership and Career Advancement is the most centralized center. Eightareas exist within this center: career education, experiential learning, Hireahawk.com, corporateand community relations, alumni services, student outcomes, academic courses, and Pomerantzresearch. As the name and many of the areas suggest, this center focuses on career development;however, the center also holds other opportunities for experiential learning. This center contrasts
with MSU’s (2010) Center for Service
-
Learning and Civic Engagement (CSLCE) and UM’s
(2011a) Community Service-Learning Center which focus primarily on service-learning andvolunteering. In a wider scope
, IU’s (2008) Office of Student Organizations and Leadership
 
RESEARCH PAPER 3Development works closely with students on service-learning, service events, leadershipprograms, academic programs,
and student organizations. Finally, UW’s (2010) CfLI mainly
implements leadership development and outdoor experiential education programs, as well as actas a resource to involve students during their undergraduate careers. Even from these shortdescriptions, one can begin to recognize the similarities and the vast differences between currentcenters of experiential learning in higher education.
Program Design
In addition to each center having a different focus, they also engage students in
experiential learning in a multitude of ways. UI’s (2011)
Pomerantz Center provides career
education and leadership studies’ academic courses
which integrate seminars, activities, andother events into their curriculum. Yet, the community based learning program recommendsservice-learning, volunteering, and non-profit internships to engage their students. The corporateand community relations area builds relationships with agencies in order to place students intointernships and to assist with career development throughout Iowa and the United States.Because this center has a distinct career vision,
most programs revolve around developing one’s
career.From a different viewpoint,
MSU’s (2010) CSLCE implements their programs in order to
work with the community. Students decide whether to devote a few or many hours to civicengagement over the course of the semester. They may partake in service-learning,national/international alternative breaks, Federal Work Study jobs which integrate tutoring, orstrict volunteering. Additionally, the CSLCE offers a program which awards $1,000 to studentswho complete 300 hours of service per calendar year. Furthermore, directly related toimplementation is how this center works with community partners. They intend to integrate best

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