"Prof. Scheckel offered us the opportunity to fulfill our EXP+ requirements through research projects outside of class that were relevant to what we were learning about in class and was helpful in reinforcing course content."
- Stony Brook University Student Course Evaluation
1. Experiential learning opportunities encourage more meaningful contact between instructors and students. Research in the field suggests that these activities directly improve retention rates. Creating experiential opportunities in your courses not only improves your relationship with students but also helps students to feel connected to their peers and form an intellectual community.
2. High-impact pedagogical practices, including Experiential Education, have wide-ranging benefits for all students. These benefits are especially impactful for historically underserved students, who, as researchers like George D. Kuh note, often do not participate in high-impact activities. By integrating experiences into your course requirements, you indirectly help to engage at-risk students who otherwise might not participate in these opportunities at Stony Brook.
3. Adding content-centered, active learning opportunities to your courses will help your students to further develop the skills that industry employers value most--collaboration, research, critical thinking, and effective communication--without sacrificing the knowledge and skills that your courses already provide to students.
4. Experiential Education helps foster relationships between the university and the community, between students and potential future employers, and most importantly, to students and the world around them.
5. Supplementing courses with experiential learning activities offers individual faculty members, departments, and colleges an opportunity to reassess curricular goals to meet the needs of today's students.
Stony Brook University identifies the following activities as possible experiences for students wishing to earn EXP+ credit:
- Civic Engagement
- Clinical Placement
- Community Service
- Cooperative Education
- Creative Works
- Field Study
- International Travel and Study
- Research (Undergraduate)
- Research (Graduate)
- Service Learning
" EXP+" is a part of the Stony Brook Curriculum ( SBC). EXP+ is listed under the "Pursue Deeper Understanding" category of the University's curriculum, alongside Humanities and Fine Arts ( HFA+), Social and Behavioral Sciences ( SBS+) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM+). As stated in the Undergraduate Bulletin, students must take one course in three of these four areas.
If students wish to receive EXP+ credit for experiences based in your courses, you, the faculty sponsor, and the student must complete this contract, which clearly delineates what students can expect from faculty and vice versa.
Once the form has been completed and sent to the Director of Experiential Education, the student then enrolls in your course AND your department's experiential learning course (i.e. BIO 444, EGL 444, SOC 444) OR EXT 444. All of these courses have already been set up for student reflections; it is up to individual faculty members precisely how many of these preloaded assignments are requried for students.
Below you can explore a range of project ideas organized by Stony Brook University's Career Communities. As you will see, many of the suggested projects below require students to engage with skills and competencies that are developed across disciplines and departments.
- Ask students to create an oral history of a subjects related in some way to your course’s topics and/or themes.
- Ask students to visit local museums and create projects that connects classroom-content to the museum’s collections.
- Ask students to develop lesson plans that they can bring to before-/after-school programs.
- Ask students to develop public-interest, accessible presentations of their research that they can actually bring to local libraries and other community centers.
- Ask students to locate nonprofit, arts-based businesses and interview an employee about how this business handles fundraising.
- Ask students to research current fundraising practices of nonprofits and consider how these practices might be improved.
- Ask students to create newsletters aimed at increasing funding for an organization.
- Ask students to volunteer at local community theaters/art galleries and identify how these organizations engage and communicate with the their audiences and the larger community.
- Ask students to identify a business that they believe effectively engages in best-practices related to diversity and examine how and why these businesses succeed in this way.
- Ask students to interview an administrative assistant for a business and identify effective practices in office management and communication.
- Ask students to interview a higher-education administrator and identify some of the tensions between higher education and business.
- Ask students to create an oral history of retired teachers and to connect the interviewees' experiences to their own goals as educators.
- Ask students to interview educators currently employed by public museums to connect classroom-centered pedagogical approaches to public-focused education.
- Ask students to volunteer at local schools, before-and-after school programs, etc.
- Ask students to interview a practitioner in their respective fields regarding the challenges they face and the strategies they use to overcome these challenges. You may wish to ask students to reflect on steps they will take to address similar challenges in their own future employment.
- Ask students to identify an underserved population in the area and create a strategic plan to address this particular group’s needs, perhaps even working collaboratively with local organizations and leaders.
- Ask students to volunteer with advocacy groups and create assessments of these groups’ current strategies.
- Ask students to assist in community-based fundraising efforts by developing additional strategies and approaches in conjunction with those already in place.
- Ask students to discover and learn more about local communities who currently struggle to find access to suitable healthcare.
- Ask students to research local nonprofits that aim to put at-risk populations in contact with preventative medicine professionals.
- Ask students to identify and critique current campus initiatives aimed at educating the university’s population about sexual/personal health.
- Ask students to volunteer at centers focused on addiction and substance abuse and create imagined intervention plans based on their real-world experiences.
- Ask students to research and/or critique the university’s current sustainability plans.
- Ask students to research and explain how professional businesses in their fields of interest address issues related to diversity in the workplace.
- Ask students to design websites for nonprofits and other local, community-based organizations that might benefit from an improved online presence.
- Ask students to develop science lessons geared for students and offer these programs to local schools.
The following resouces offer a wealth of theoretical and practical information related to Project-Based Learning:
1. Work with the student(s) to create a defined experience plan that clearly establishes the parameters for the activity, the time required from both the student and instructor, and deadlines. You can create experiences for an entire class of students, several groups of students, or individual students. The contract for EXP+ offers a simple framework for creating this plan.
2. Provide feedback to the student(s) during the semester. Feedback should assess the student's performance in the activity as well as reinforce connections between the experience and course content. The delivery of feedback may be in writing, in face-to-face meetings, or in another form deemed appropriate by the instructor.
3. Encourage students to reflect on their experiences. Students enrolled in EXP+ will have access to a course on Blackboard that already has reflective assignments there, should faculty choose to use this model. Faculty may require students to reflect and to complete alternate assignments as they see fit.
4. Evaluate students' performance based on the four EXP+ Learning Outcomes. Assign a score of 1-5 for each student based on his/her/their mastery of the four learning outcomes.
You can search syllabi by discipline using your Stony Brook login credentials using Classie Syllabus Explorer.
Click here to view Student Experiential Highlights.