The Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) held its third annual Experiential Education Celebration on May 5 to honour faculty members, students, businesses and community partners who participated in collaborative experiential education projects and placements during the 2014-15 academic year.
“This is a moment to celebrate the commitment, energy and learning that each of you brings to experiential education,” said Diane Beelen Woody, associate dean, teaching & learning, LA&PS. “Experiential education is a strategy for connecting students with opportunities that link what they are learning in their program of study to issues in the real world.”
Numerous courses offered in LA&PS have an experiential education component. Such opportunities are divided into three categories – course focused, community focused and work focused – giving students hands-on experiences not only in the classroom, but also in the community and the workplace.
“Knowledge is very useful, but unless you know how to apply it, you won’t get much out of it,” said Matthew Genga, a third-year bachelor of administrative studies (BAS) student who developed a marketing plan for an organization as part of his community-based learning project in Applied Marketing Management (ADMS 3220). “This experience has taught me how to apply knowledge in the real world, which I believe is one of the most important things students should get out of their education.”
Experiential Education Program Coordinator Karlene Davis gave an overview of this year’s achievements and what the future holds for experiential education at York University.
“This was a great year for experiential education within LA&PS,” said Davis. “We had the opportunity to help develop new projects, match courses with our community partners’ needs and provide direct support to our course directors and students. We will continue to work with all of our partners and build new relationships to grow experiential education in our Faculty.”
In the Department of Social Sciences, students from the Social Economy Practicum (SOSC 4046) partnered with non-profit organizations serving marginalized groups locally and around the world, including Operation Groundswell and Warden Woods. Students were able to see the impact of organizations with a social mission, and they developed a deeper understanding of issues such as social and economic exclusion and gender inequality.
“Students did placements in social economy organizations for about a year where they got hands-on, community-based learning experience,” said social science Professor Caroline Hossein. “Students learned that there are different ways to engage with businesses in society and that we can address social and economic issues through creative programming and development.”
“Usually in courses you are given a topic, an outline and particular sources which you cannot stray away from,” said Toni Knight, a political science major. “But in this experience, you were told to go out, pick something of interest to you and do something you will be proud of at the end.”
Portuguese in the GTA (POR 4010) is a course offered by the Department of Languages, Literature & Linguistics. Students had the opportunity to refine their language skills while exploring potential career paths in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Students partnered with Camões Toronto – a Portuguese language and culture centre – and with Portuguese airline Sata, where students worked with, and learned from, the sales and events team in the airline’s Canadian office.
“Students are deeply aware of the differences these opportunities make for them in terms of transforming the way they learn, their perceptions of who they are and their perceptions of their own possibilities ahead in life,” concluded Woody.
To watch a video from the ceremony, visit the LA&PS YouTube page.