Long a leader in experiential learning, Keuka College has been tapped to join two dozen other colleges and universities nationwide in piloting a program to enhance student preparation for the working world.
The Council of Independent Colleges has named Keuka College among 25 colleges and universities to participate in the inaugural cohort of its Work-Based Learning Consortium. The Consortium, founded by the Ascendium Education Group and the Strada Education Foundation, will provide national resources to support institutions in easing student barriers to workforce preparation, particularly for students from underrepresented groups.
The experiential learning platform, in partnership with the work-based learning platform Riipen, will integrate real-world, employer-designed projects into existing courses to equip students with skills, real-world experiences, and professional connections to support their future careers.
Those goals align strongly with Keuka College’s generations-long commitment to experiential learning, exemplified by the annual, student-designed experiences students conduct through the College’s Field Period® program.
“It’s a different approach to integrating work experience into the curriculum,” said Keuka College Dean of Experiential Learning & Career Engagement Ann Emo. “It’s really an augmentation of our Field Period program.”
This multi-year program is expected to reach more than 11,000 students at CIC member institutions. It has an estimated value of over $65,000 per institution and will be administered free of charge to the selected colleges and universities.
“This is an exciting opportunity for students to gain valuable hands-on experience through internships embedded in their courses,” said Titi Ufomata, CIC senior vice president for academic programs. “That these internships are available to all students regardless of where they are located levels the playing field for all students.”
A team of five faculty members, one career services administrator, and the chief academic officer or designee are selected on each campus to update curricula and integrate experiential learning into course materials beginning in Spring 2024. At Keuka College, that team consists of Dean Emo, along with:
- Dr. Malia Spofford Xavier (Humanities and Fine Arts Senior Capstone: Convergence in Professional Practice)
- Dr. Peter Ozog (Strategic Management)
- Prof. Carrie Kehoe (Professional & Technical Writing)
- Prof. Mike Smith (Decision Making for Criminal Justice Administration)
- Dr. Cassie Hey (Community Health and Wellness Capstone II)
The instructors will collaborate with other consortium members on real-world projects provided through the Riipen platform. Students benefit not only by taking part in hands-on initiatives with companies in their field of study, said Dean Emo but by amassing professional contacts throughout the process.
“Particularly for students who don’t have the opportunity to travel widely for Field Period, this is a national program; they have opportunities to work with students and companies all over the country,” she said. “It will broaden their knowledge base.”