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Experiential Education Program Definitions

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This site includes a list of experiential education program definitions prepared by the Career Enrichment Network.  The definitions are intended to assist departments in the College of the Liberal Arts in the development and implementation of enrichment experiences relevant to their majors.  Please feel free to reference this list at any time and to contact the Career Enrichment Network at lanetwork@psu.edu or 814-865-1070 if you have any questions.

Academic Internship

An academic internship is a form of experiential education that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skill development in a professional setting.  Students earn academic credit, or there is some other connection to a degree-granting, educational institution.  This work/learning arrangement is overseen by a faculty or staff member of an educational institution and by a designated employee of an organization.  The internship is usually the length or equivalent of an academic term, may be part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid.  An integral component of the experience that distinguishes it from other types of work is one or more forms of structured and deliberate reflection contained within learning agendas or objectives.

At Penn State, academic internships earning credit are typically designated as:

295, 395, 495. INTERNSHIP (1-18)

Supervised off-campus, non-group instruction including field experiences, practica, or internships. Written and oral critique of activity required.  A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student's transcript. Multiple offerings may be accommodated by the use of suffixes A, B, etc. Prerequisite: prior approval of proposed assignment by instructor.

 

In the College of the Liberal Arts, LA 495 is the primary internship course with a number of sections for specific departments.  All registrations for LA 495 are coordinated through the Career Enrichment Network.  Specific course requirements are managed by the respective departments and vary from department to department.  A non-departmental/college section of LA 495 is available for Liberal Arts students completing internships not closely related to their academic majors and/or for those who are unable to register for their department internship course section.

Externships

Externships are short-term, usually a few days to a week, experiential learning opportunities that give participating students short, practical experiences in their field of study or in a career area of interest.  They typically do not involve academic credit, but provide students with an opportunity for an extended informational interview and a first-hand view of a specific career path.  If departments want to coordinate externship opportunities for their students, especially with alumni, the Network staff could provide advice as needed.

Service Learning

Service learning is a pedagogical model that actively places learning within the conditions of contemporary social circumstances. Often resulting in a powerful learning experience for both faculty and students, service learning extends the classroom into the community by connecting a service project with academic course work. This form of learning requires students to apply their academic knowledge and skills as well as to intentionally consider (reflect upon) their service experience.

At Penn State, service learning experiences earning academic credit do not have a common course number.  Therefore, it is at the discretion of the department to determine an appropriate number that corresponds to the experience.

Possible options include: 

097, 197, 297, 397, 497; 098, 198, 298, 398, 498. SPECIAL TOPICS (1-9)

(Formal courses given infrequently to explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject that may be topical or of special interest.) Several different topics may be taught in one year or semester. A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student's transcript. Multiple offerings may be accommodated by the use of suffixes A, B, etc.

296, 496. INDEPENDENT STUDIES (1-18)

(Creative projects, including research and design, that are supervised on an individual basis and that fall outside the scope of formal courses.) A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student's transcript. Multiple offerings may be accommodated by the use of suffixes A, B, etc. Students may not register for these courses without prior written approval of a faculty member in the department in which the courses are listed.

 

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research experiences provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in research and creative endeavors.  Working with faculty mentors, undergraduates engage in active learning in the laboratory, library, studio, and field. Through these experiences, students share in the excitement of discovery, develop important skills, and explore career choices. They get to know faculty members and connect with a disciplinary community. Many publish, perform, exhibit, or present their work, sharing it with audiences beyond Penn State.

Undergraduate research experiences earning academic credit are typically designated as:

294, 494. RESEARCH PROJECT COURSES (1-12)

Supervised student activities on research projects identified on an individual or small-group basis.  A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student's transcript. Multiple offerings may be accommodated by the use of suffixes A, B, etc.

 

Undergraduate Teaching Assistantships

Teaching assistantships provide students with an opportunity to broaden their educational experiences and develop a closer working relationship with a faculty member.  Students generally are offered the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for a course in which they have performed at a high level (i.e. A, A-, B+ grade).  Faculty often recruit future TAs from current classes based on student interest and performance.  Teaching assistants may elect to earn credit for the experience, and each department and faculty member may have different policies regarding expectations for the course.  There is no common course number for teaching assistants.  

A search of the Undergraduate Degree Bulletin yielded these following possible options with some variability in the course descriptions depending on the department:

296, 496. INDEPENDENT STUDIES (1-18)

Creative projects, including research and design, that are supervised on an individual basis and that fall outside the scope of formal courses. A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student's transcript. Multiple offerings may be accommodated by the use of suffixes A, B, etc. Students may not register for these courses without prior written approval of a faculty member in the department in which the courses are listed.

097, 197, 297, 397, 497; 098, 198, 298, 398, 498. SPECIAL TOPICS (1-9) (Formal courses given infrequently to explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject that may be topical or of special interest.) Several different topics may be taught in one year or semester. A specific title may be used in each instance and will be entered on the student's transcript. Multiple offerings may be accommodated by the use of suffixes A, B, etc.

 

References

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