Experiential learning is a key component of ϲʿ’s undergraduate General Education. This type of learning engages students outside of the classroom to broaden and deepen their awareness of societal problems and participate in community-based activities that address these issues.

Types of Experiential Learning

  • Introductory Experiential Learning exposes students to foundational experiential learning opportunities beyond the classroom.
  • Advanced Experiential Learning provides more robust and meaningful experiential learning opportunities with additional engagement required of the student in both time and effort.

Through the Experiential Learning for Social Justice (EL4SJ) mission marker course in the General Education requirement, all undergraduate students will complete at least one introductory experiential learning opportunity. Students may have additional curricular and co-curricular introductory experiential learning opportunities during their time at ϲʿ’s.

As articulated in Strategic Plan 2027, 100% of undergraduate students will complete at least one
advanced experiential learning opportunity before graduation. To support this goal over five years, constructing definitions of experiential learning areas and establishing clear criteria for advanced experiential learning across the university is key to overall success.

As a result, ϲʿ's has developedfive definitions for advanced experiential learning:

1. Internships and Field Experience

2. Research and Creative Works with Faculty

3. Immersive Domestic and International Travel Experiences

4. Service-Learning and Volunteering

5. Student Employment/Leadership On and Off Campus

Advanced Experiential Learning Criteria

To achieve rigor through time and effort, an Advanced Experiential Learning opportunity must meet all of the following criteria:

1. Quantitative: 60 clock hours within a semester. Equal to 1 credit or 4 hrs/week for 16 weeks.

2. Intentional: The experience should be purposeful, planned in advance with explicit goals and intended outcomes.

3. Beneficial: Support students’ interests, career readiness, and aspirations.

4. Supervised: The experience should be supervised, including ongoing faculty, staff, supervisor and/or community involvement in all phases.

Optional Enhancements

Advanced Experiential Learning opportunities can be enhanced or further enriched by meeting one or more additional criteria:

  • Offer credit hours or financial payment.
  • Provide opportunities for reflection.
  • Occur in or simulate a "real-world" context as much as possible.
  • Present a meaningful challenge to the student.
  • Incorporate active learning, with the student an active participant in all stages of the experience from planning to evaluation.
  • Enriched, with access to materials, resources, and support systems.
  • Opportunity to learn, with adequate time and quality of opportunities.
  • Involve the application of concepts/knowledge learned in the student's regular course work.

Advanced Experiential Learning Programs

Austin Impact Internship Preparation

The Austin Impact Internship Preparation connects ϲʿ's University students to internships with Austin-area employers as part of the Austin Impact initiative in the Strategic Plan 2027. The goal of this program is to offer students the opportunity to participate in advanced experiential learning and strengthen the community through these local partnerships.

To learn more, .

Blue & Gold Scholars Program

The Blue & Gold Scholars program is dedicated to recognizing ϲʿ's University undergraduate student participation in advanced experiential learning opportunities. Fill out and become a Blue or Gold Scholar!

If you completed an advanced experiential learning opportunity as a result of taking an , there is no further action required to become a Scholar. All submissions will be reviewed by a committee of advanced experiential learning supervisors. Students will be recognized as a Blue or Gold Scholar upon approval of their submission(s).

Types of Scholars

  • Blue Scholars have completed 1 advanced experiential learning opportunity
  • Gold Scholars have completed 2+ advanced experiential learning opportunities

Requirements and FAQs

How many advanced experiential learning opportunities can I submit?There is no limit — please submit as many opportunities as are currently participating in.

Do the advanced experiential learning opportunities need to be completed in the past or can I submit experiences I’m currently completing?You can only submit experiences you are currently completing.

Is there a deadline for submitting my survey?In order to receive a prize, submissions must be sent in by the priority deadline of March 31 (spring semester) or October 31 (fall semester).

How are the Scholars recognized? Students who submit their experiences and are verified this semester will receive the following recognition:

  • Entry into Blue, Gold & Beyond the Hilltop: A Student/Alumni Networking Mixer on April 27, 2024 (this includes all graduating seniors who have submitted their experiences at any point during their undergraduate years)
  • Graduating Seniors (with 1 AEL completion): Gold cord for graduation
  • Graduating Seniors (with 2 or more AEL completions): Entry into raffles to win professional swag

When will I get my cord?Students graduating in May can pick up their cord at GradFest.

For any further questions, please contact success@stedwards.edu