13 A Pan-University Approach to Experiential Education

PRESENTATION OVERVIEW FROM CONFERENCE PROGRAM

Kathleen Winningham & Julie Rahmer, York University

In this session learn how York University – Canada’s third largest University–developed an integrated approach to experiential education (EE) designed to improve engagement with EE stakeholders, prevent duplication of services, increase efficiencies and optimize resources. The directors from the York University Career Centre and the newly created YU Experience Hub will discuss the evolution of this new approach at York and share successes and challenges encountered along the way. In 2013 York University established a working group to provide advice about the integration of EE approaches in York’s degree programs. The Working Group developed a Discussion Paper that included a draft of EE Common Language to serve as a tool for consultations with, Faculties, students and community partners to encourage conversations about the integration of EE strategies to enhance student learning. As a result of these consultations, several key themes emerged to support the creation of a coordinated, pan-university approach to advancing EE that would: create more EE opportunities for students, engage Faculties, facilitate connections with community partners, foster collaboration among key stakeholders and showcase York’s successes. Learn how these themes informed the infrastructure proposal that recommended:

  1. The creation of a new pan-University “YU Experience Hub” to meet the functional requirements of
    providing EE support for faculty members, students and community partners.
  2. The establishment of EE Coordinators in each Faculty to support the integration of EE into all degree
    programs.

The creation of the YU Experience Hub in June 2015 cemented York University’s commitment to EE. The YU Experience Hub supports opportunities to develop new community partnerships as an important point of access that links community partners with faculty contacts. The Hub also provides support to Faculties in administering internships and co-op programming. As it evolves, the YU Experience Hub will become the home of a database of community partners, standardized and simplified risk management documents and procedures, and will offer logistical support. Easily recognized by community partners and other stakeholders looking to engage in EE, the YU Experience Hub promotes best practices and showcases the breadth and depth of work underway at York University to foster experiential education opportunities in the classroom, community and workplace.

KEY WORDS

  • Experiential education
  • Collaboration
  • Partnership
  • Community engagement
  • Student success
  • Hub

 

BIO

Kathleen Winningham, York University
Kathleen has over 25 years’ experience in the field of experiential education in the post-secondary sector both at the university and community college level. Currently the Director of the YU Experience Hub at York University, she is responsible for advancing the university’s pan-university curricular experiential education strategy. This portfolio includes: cultivating existing and potential experiential education opportunities and partnerships; representing the university on issues pertaining to experiential education; establishing policy, protocols and procedures to ensure high quality and effective delivery of experiential education programming; and promoting and enhancing the value of York’s experiential education programming.

Julie Rahmer, York University
Julie brings 20 years of experience within the career development field to her role as Director, Career Centre at York University. In her current role Julie is a key member of the leadership team of the Student Success Centre and responsible for establishing and cultivating strategic partnerships, both internally and externally, to create effective career exploration, job search and workplace skills development supports for York students and new graduates. Having recently been seconded to the Office of the AVP, Teaching & Learning, Julie was instrumental in building a new unit – the YU Experience Hub – designed to expand, enhance and promote experiential education opportunities at York University. Prior to coming to York, Julie was Manager, Research & Publications at the Canadian Association of Career Educators and Employers (CACEE).

 

LINK TO PRESENTATION

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SUMMARY

Overview

In this session delegates learned how York University – Canada’s third largest University – developed an integrated approach to experiential education (EE) designed to improve engagement with EE stakeholders, prevent duplication of services, increase efficiencies and optimize resources. The directors from the York University Career Centre and the newly created YU Experience Hub discussed the evolution of this new approach at York and shared successes and challenges encountered along the way.   

Key Findings

In 2013 York University established a working group to provide advice about the integration of EE approaches in York’s degree programs.  The Working Group developed a Discussion Paper that included a draft of EE Common Language to serve as a tool for consultations with, Faculties, students and community partners to encourage conversations about the integration of EE strategies to enhance student learning.  As a result of these consultations, several key themes emerged to support the creation of a coordinated, pan-university approach to advancing EE that would: create more EE opportunities for students, engage Faculties, facilitate connections with community partners, foster collaboration among key stakeholders and showcase York’s successes.  Participants learned how these themes informed the infrastructure proposal that recommended:

  1. The creation of a new pan-University “YU Experience Hub” to meet the functional requirements of providing EE support for faculty members, students and community partners.
  1. The establishment of EE Coordinators in each Faculty to support the integration of EE into all degree programs.

Next Steps

The creation of the YU Experience Hub in June 2015 cemented York University’s commitment to EE.  The YU Experience Hub supports opportunities to develop new community partnerships as an important point of access that links community partners with faculty contacts.  The Hub also provides support to Faculties in administering internships and co-op programming.  As it evolves, the YU Experience Hub will become the home of a database of community partners, standardized and simplified risk management documents and procedures, and will offer logistical support.  Easily recognized by community partners and other stakeholders looking to engage in EE, the YU Experience Hub promotes best practices and showcases the breadth and depth of work underway at York University to foster experiential education opportunities in the classroom, community and workplace. 

Implications to Career Education

Delegates learned the steps York University took in engaging stakeholders to create a pan-university approach to EE and how the new YU Experience Hub has spawned collaboration among Faculties, students, staff and the employer community. 

References

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