Our SIG group consists of six members. We chose to focus on the ‘wicked problem’ of student engagement, and defined our strategy following consultation with a variety of stakeholders at the university. We posit that maximizing student engagement will promote better retention and will provide students with more meaningful learning experiences. Engagement, though, is a concept that is difficult to operationalize – it is more art than science. It relates to students feeling that their education is relevant to their lives, that it sparks their interest, and that they are connected to others while they learn. We decided to focus on first-year student engagement, and to offer a proposed template for a project that is realistic and cost-effective. We will present a model for a first-year in-class experiential learning course. The university has many formal experiential learning opportunities (such as internships or capstone projects), but they are often available primarily to third and fourth year students. By establishing a course/courses in which experiential learning occurs in the classroom, we can involve first year students, and help them to build skills such as proposal-writing, drafting a budget, or negotiating an agreement. While we will offer a sample template of how such a course could be built, we also hope to  stimulate conversation about how best to highlight and encourage in-class experiential learning opportunities that already exist on campus.

  • Dave Brown, Manager, Ancillary Systems, ITS
  • Andrea Chandler, Professor, Political Science
  • Yassar Hassan, Professor, Civil Engineering
  • Andy Mutch, Manager, Contract Facility Services, FMP
  • Sujit Sur, Associate Professor, Sprott School of Business
  • Laura Wilson, Assistant Manager, Financial Services