Bridges Beyond the Classroom, the framework for the academic initiative, articulates our University’s experiential learning goals for its students and creation of a portfolio that tracks performance of every graduate inside and outside of the classroom.
Goal 1 of the UTC Strategic Plan seeks to Transform lives through meaningful learning experiences. Experiential learning provides a compass for all academic departments to identify ways to extend the classroom experience, so every UTC student has opportunities for hands-on learning in their area of study.
A recently conducted campus and community-wide survey on experiential learning received an overall positive reaction. Its effectiveness will come from greater definition, implementation and measurable impact that adds increased value to a UTC degree and more opportunities for UTC graduates.
Topline finds from the survey:
Opportunities exist to better define a UTC education across the campus.
Survey results also indicated perceived inequities across the campus when considering collaborative learning. Some departments offer courses that link the classroom with an external learning experience, but these opportunities do not exist campus-wide. Finding the best ways to bridge these experiential learning gaps is an important step for discussion among our faculty, staff and students.
Survey respondents identified these points as enhancing the educational experience for UTC students through experiential learning:
- Applying critical thinking, problem solving, big picture issues
- Combining collaborative experiences among academic departments
- Knowing how to help solve business, industry, non-profit, government and other sectors’ problems
- Offering an immersive experience
Survey numbers show that applied learning experience is a critical component of a UTC degree. These learning experiences develop the whole person, provide an education grounded with real world experiences, community-connected learning and the opportunity to work in a diverse setting.
Assessing the survey, the demographics reflect a greater number of female respondents, a majority of respondents were in the 18-24 age group and 82% were UTC students, faculty or staff. The other survey numbers are:
|Top tier teaching||10.57%||71|
|Applied problem solving||11.31%||76|
|Cross-department & college learning||9.08%||61|
|Private liberal arts education at public institution||10.86%||73|
|None of the options||10.71%||72|
|Beyond classroom experience||18.15%||183|
|City/region learning labs for students||12.40%||125|
|Learning experiences to develop whole person to prepare for profession or advanced studies||20.83%||210|
|Education in real world grounded experiences/opportunities||20.44%||206|
|Positive interdependence helps students learn how to rely on others||7.14%||48|
|Each person accountable for results||12.35%||83|
|Learning to work together is a lesson in collaboration||15.92%||107|
|Group processing assists in understanding assignments & responsibilities||5.06%||34|
|Working in diverse setting is learning tool for future||25.00%||168|
|Creating individual portfolio adds value to UTC degree||14.88%||100|