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Thursday, April 15th, 2010 - 11:23 am

The Next Level


Experiential learning that led to a job

The Next Level

The Next Level provides updates of initiatives in which Purdue University Calumet is responding to its strategic plan for attaining the next level of excellence.

Purdue University Calumet’s Strategic Plan Goals


  1. Foster Engaged Learning
  2. Prepared an Educated Workforce & Citizenry for our Region
  3. Improve Student Success
  4. Increase Support for Faculty & Staff Excellence
  5. Develop a Vibrant Campus Community


Structured, applied learning

As a strategy for achieving Goal #1 of fostering engaged learning, Purdue Calumet has become the nation’s only college/university to make structured experiential learning—defined by standards set by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE)—a requirement for all baccalaureate degree-seeking students.

Experiential learning at Purdue Calumet integrates traditional classroom and textbook learning with the applied learning that occurs within a work-related, real world environment. It involves prearranged partnerships among students, faculty and community collaborators in strict compliance with NSEE principles.

Since introducing experiential learning during the 2008 fall term, more than 2,100 students have enrolled in at least one experiential learning course. Some 100 courses have been developed or restructured as designated experiential learning offerings. Additionally, 129 community partners have participated.


Successfully communicating a learning experience

In the program’s short history there has been a growing number of success stories; several are documented in this issue among nursing students through their experiential learning capstone course.

But the successes go beyond nursing. Take communication/public relations student Monica Jimenez of Valparaiso.

Her efforts to identify and perform PR responsibilities for a not-for-profit organization in fulfillment of an assignment in Associate Professor of Communication Tom Roach’s Advanced Public Relations (COM 460) class yielded more than she or anyone else might have expected.

Recalling a contact she had made while serving as a waitress a year earlier, she followed up and connected with Life for the World, an agency that provides support to the Maranatha School and Orphanage in Haiti, as well as food, shelter and medical help to nearby Haitian villages.


It started with a press release

An initial press release she wrote led to other tasks that she handled effectively. Her experiential learning efforts eventually netted her a job offer, which she accepted. In her 35-to-40-hour a week position, she manages the Life for the World website, blog and Facebook; serves as the organization’s media contact; writes articles; coordinates fundraisers throughout Indiana and Chicago; and  supervises in-state and out-of-state project teams.

Monica Jimenez

Monica Jimenez

By the way, she also remains enrolled in the Advanced Public Relations class—in fact, she is a full time student, the mother of two daughters, a room mom at her daughters’ school, and she recently wrapped up production of the school’s yearbook.

“This has been a big change for me, but a wonderful experience,” Monica said. “I am so thankful that I have been blessed with this opportunity, and I attribute my success to (professors) Tom Roach and Neil Nemeth. Tom is always there to answer any questions or help in anyway. His Advanced PR class gives you the ‘hands on’ experience, and I think that is important. Neil has helped me to improve my news writing style. I truly enjoy what I do, and I feel that is very important.”

Experiential Learning Outreach Assistant Jan Anderson interviewed Monica Jimenez for this story. Also contributing were Professor of Communication Tom Roach and Manager of Experiential Learning Janice Golub-Reynolds.


Strategic Plan update to Board of Trustees

Chancellor Howard Cohen provided a Purdue Calumet Strategic Plan update at the April 9 Purdue Board of Trustees meeting. The news story at the link below summarizes Chancellor Cohen’s report.

http://webs.purduecal.edu/news/2010/04/09/strategic-plan-update/#more-3673