On January 22, 2014, Mary Ellen Carroll, Ph.D.
, associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of experiential learning, attended the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD) Annual Meeting, Educating Engaged Citizens: The Dean’s Role in the Advancement of Liberal Education,
in Washington, D.C. The conference concentrated on topics surrounding liberal arts education and the importance of institutions emphasizing experiential learning curricula.
“For me it was a great opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from other small, private liberal arts schools,” Carroll explained.
Carroll co-presented a workshop called “Reanimating Liberal Studies through Intentional and Innovative Experiential Learning,” which aimed to answer questions such as:
How can administrators take a significant step forward in making a 21st Century case for liberal education?
Who has done so effectively and how can other schools adapt these practices on their campuses?
How can both liberal arts and comprehensive institutions honor their missions while engaging all students, no matter their majors?
Carroll and other workshop leaders offered recommendations for diverse organizational structures to administer experiential learning efforts. In addition, they proposed key components of an experiential learning “opportunity structure” that resonates with institutional mission and develops the habits of mind and skills that students will need in a rapidly changing economic, political and social landscape.
“While it was no surprise that institutions approach experiential learning in administratively unique ways, I was very pleased that I could share how the Loras mission formed and continues to shape our commitment to experiential learning,” Carroll added.