What is Experiential Education?

Experiential education goes by different names - internships, co-ops, practical experiences, research experiences, field experiences, etc. - but the one thing they all have in common is they give students valuable career-related experiences that make a difference in post-graduate employment.

How does experiential education connect to the mission of Xavier University?

The variations of active learning can be encapsulated in one term, experiential education, which is a process through which a learner constructs knowledge, skill, and value from direct experiences. The activities that constitute experiential education are consistent with, and in many ways central to, the mission of the university. Building critical thinkers, who are sensitive and responsive to both the requirements of their chosen career and their responsibilities to the larger communities they inhabit, is increasingly important in higher education. We understand that internships operate differently from co-ops, practica, and other experiences but also recognize their connectedness to other opportunities under experiential education as well.

Career Development Office staff will:

  1. Assist students in all aspects of their search
  2. Help with resume development and review
  3. Train students on proper and advantageous interviewing techniques.

In addition to CDO staff assistance, we have numerous online and print resources to guide students in finding an appropriate experiential educational experience.

Experiential Education Resources for Students

What constitutes experiential education?

Experiential education can be an internship, co-op, service learning project, study abroad encounter, volunteership - any opportunity were the student is doing quality work in their area of study. The National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) has released a statement on what makes a legitimate internship experience. The CDO uses these guidelines when advertising opportunities to students. If you are interested in setting up an internship for students, or wish to refer an employer looking to hire an intern, please contact Darian Richardson get the process started.

National Association of Colleges & Employers Internship Position Statement

To ensure that an experience—whether it is a traditional internship or one conducted remotely or virtually—is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship by the NACE definition, all the following criteria must be met:

  1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
  5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
  7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

If these criteria are followed, it is the opinion of NACE that the experience can be considered a legitimate internship.

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