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Experiential Learning

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has recognized several specific teaching and learning strategies as High Impact Practices. These educational approaches have been successful in supporting in-depth learning at the college level. Some of these key High-Impact Practices shape our Big History program—a first-year experience that is a common intellectual experience and writing intensive. Second Year Experience “Colloquium” delivers content using additional High Impact Practices while still fostering the development of writing and research skills. High Impact Practices used in experiential learning colloquia are Service Learning and Community Based Research.

Dominican's Mission Statement for Experiential Learning

My colloquium helped me gain a profound understanding of my relationship with food and the Earth. Because of our colloquium, I became aware of the factors that affect a community’s food access. I also gained the wisdom to know what choices and what actions I need to take in order to provide a healthy lifestyle for myself, my family, and my community. – J. TeodoroExperiential Learning at Dominican University of California helps prepare students to be socially responsible global citizens and ethical leaders who incorporate the Dominican values of study, reflection, community, and service into both their professional and personal lives. Integrating knowledge with action in the local and international community, students engage in a process that includes appropriate preparation and ongoing reflection to develop the habits of mind required to learn effectively from experience and to address complex issues in our interconnected world.

No more waiting for graduation to put your knowledge to work in the real world. Collaborate with a local non-profit, conduct research with community partners, or collect data in a national park. In the “Colloquium” program the San Francisco Bay Area is your classroom!

Forms of Experiential Learning in the Colloquium

Service-Learning integrates meaningful community work, through planned and mutually beneficial partnerships, with academic curriculum, enriching learning through intentional reflection on the dynamic relationship between theory and practice. Service-Learning embraces the principles of reciprocity between all parties—the community partners are co-educators, faculty and students are engaged citizens, and the academy becomes an active member of the local and global community. Please visit Dominican’s Service-Learning Program page for more information.

Community-Based Research is “a partnership of students, faculty and community members who collaboratively engage in research with the purpose of solving a pressing community problem or effecting social change” (Strand, Marullo, Cutforth, Stoecker, Donohue. Community-Based Research and Higher Education. 2003)

Fieldwork is any study or project conducted in person, in a natural or community setting outside of a classroom, possibly through interviews, surveys, observation, data collection. It is not necessarily done to meet community-identified interests or in conjunction with a community partner. This includes projects done on campus. Therefore it is experiential but not necessarily Service-Learning or Community-Based Research.


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