SMU is answering students’ calls for learning opportunities outside the classroom with a new program that will provide both structure and funding for their endeavors.
The University’s Quality Enhancement Plan – “Unbridled Learning: Engaged Learning Beyond the Classroom” – will allow SMU undergraduate students to participate in at least one extensive experiential learning activity before graduation, according to the plan released by SMU’s QEP Committee. It also meets requirements for the University’s upcoming reaccreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
The program will allow undergraduates to “build on their formal classroom education through participation in structured experiential learning beyond the classroom, which will help them to develop a significant and sophisticated understanding of the ways in which the context of the world community intersects with disciplinary knowledge,” according to the committee’s executive summary.
A survey of SMU students conducted by the Meadows School of the Arts’ Temerlin Advertising Institute found that more than 80 percent of them find that it is important to experience life outside the classroom.
The QEP will provide opportunities – and University support, including funding – for undergraduate students to choose an out-of-classroom experiential learning activity in the community focus area of their choice:
Each student will be in charge of identifying, defining, completing and reporting on his or her work, with approval by an advisory committee and overseen by SMU faculty and mentors.
To support the QEP, SMU is creating a grant program, advisory board and staff director to help students through the process.