Local teachers to learn experiential learning concepts

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In this 2014 file photo, MTSU student Maria Rojano, left, a sophomore graphic design major from Nashville by way of Venezuela, stops by the healthy eating booth during a Health Fair held in the Student Union atrium by professor Mary Beth Asbury's Health Campaigns experiential learning class. Offering Rojano a sample of fruit-infused water is Starlethia Hicks, a junior organizational communication major from. (MTSU file photo)

Registration is open for an upcoming daylong institute at Middle Tennessee State University for community college and university educators interested in incorporating experiential learning concepts into their classrooms.

The Institute of Experiential Learning will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, at MTSU's James Walker Library. A printable campus map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Attendees will learn how MTSU has infused experiential and service learning into academic courses to create a national model that is both sustainable and replicable.


Cost is $25 for non-MTSU faculty and free for MTSU faculty who register. Participants will earn Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credit and a certificate. Registration and more details are available at http://bit.ly/1IhtbqJ. Seating is limited, so early registration is encouraged.

In 2006, MTSU established an Experiential Learning Scholars (EXL) Program to enhance student learning through hands-on learning activities incorporated into academic courses. The campuswide initiative currently includes courses in all six colleges and includes 26 academic departments.


"The EXL Program is a direct result of MTSU's commitment to student success," said EXL Director Carol Swayze. "National research and MTSU data reveal the connection between experiential learning and higher student achievement. With the success of our program over the past decade, other institutions are now looking at adopting our program as a model for student engagement and achievement."

MTSU was awarded a commendation by the regional higher education accrediting body as a model quality enhancement program, and the EXL Program has won both the regional and national awards for best practices in programming.

MTSU is sponsoring the EXL Institute open to share information and guide development of best practices across the region. A variety of presenters will explore how the program has been institutionalized and how students earn the honor of the EXL Scholar Designation upon graduation.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee has praised EXL for improving student retention, noting that the six-year graduation rate for students taking EXL courses is 86 percent, well above average.

"Being an EXL student has literally changed my life," said Chloe Truitt, a 2015 liberal arts graduate and EXL scholar. "The only part I have regrets about is not starting sooner. I would highly recommend this program to any student, professor and university. It has been a game-changer in higher education, and I will be forever grateful for this opportunity."

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