Experiential learning grant accepting proposals from students and professors

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Story by Lindsey Coleman, Staff writer

The application period is currently open for students and professors to submit proposals for the Bringing Learning to Life Grant, which funds experiential learning opportunities at Murray State.

Jamie Rogers, co-director of Murray State’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and co-chair of the Experiential Learning Advisory Committee said the Bringing Learning to Life Grants are part of Murray State’s QEP.

“The goal of the QEP is to both enhance and expand our experiential learning opportunities on campus,” Rogers said.

Rogers said that two types of grants are available: mini-grants, which students can apply for, and Instructional Development Grants, which professors can apply for.

According to the Bringing Learning to Life Grants website, mini-grants are meant to support short-term experiential learning activities.

Rogers said gas money for student teachers and nurses has been funded with mini-grants in the past.

According to the website, “The target of Instructional Development Grants is to improve university infrastructure so that the experiential learning activity becomes sustainable for many years.”

Rogers said an example of instructional development would be buying new equipment which could be used for multiple years.

He said about $15,000 is available for grants as part of the QEP budget.

“In general, the experiential learning as a whole, to me, is one of the most beneficial things students can be involved in,” Rogers said. “The grant’s purpose is to put funding into the hands of faculty and students to be able to do more of that.”

Rogers said the deadline for grant applications is 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2016.

For more information about how to apply, visit www.murraystate.edu.

EXISTING EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

Roger Weis, nonprofit leadership studies (NLS) professor, said that the NLS program began incorporating experiential learning in 1990.

“I’m very passionate about it for obvious reasons,” Weis said. “I think students really get something out of it.”

Weis said in the NLS program students are required to complete service-learning hours, which incorporates learning in a classroom and applying knowledge by volunteering in the nonprofit sector.

He said service learning connects students with the community and also with classmates.

Staci Stone, interim dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, said, “The College of Humanities and Fine Arts believes in the transformative value of experiential education, and most programs in the college require students to participate in an experience-rich activity.”

Stone said many opportunities exist in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, including conducting undergraduate research, presenting research at national conferences, participating in performances and completing internships.

Tim Todd, dean of the College of Business, said there is experiential learning in all six business departments.

He said students can do anything from helping senior citizens complete their tax forms to doing internships at Walt Disney World.

Stephen Cobb, dean of the College of Science of Engineering and Technology, said students in his college can complete research, study abroad, find internship opportunities and take service-learning courses.

Cobb said service learning could include assisting in city planning or testing groundwater and well-water quality.

Amelia Dodd, a professor in the applied health sciences department, said they require clinicals and internships, offer experience through organizations and clubs, involve students in community outreach and incorporate application of skills in many courses.