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July 30, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

Experiential Knowledge & Feedback Loops for Undergraduate University Education: Beyond the Classroom

Two Alternative Routes to Experiential Knowledge
I think spending two half days per semester in the workplace might help or at a minimum a panel discussion that brought in outside voices for each department. Or perhaps just time interviewing graduates at various stages in their careers. Ultimately, I think both teachers and students should be exposed to this (and as terrible as it sounds–students should be required to attend, because otherwise they are missing out on something that could be critical for their future and its a rather minimal invasion on their time. I think those going to law school but say majoring in another major would have the option of attending a panel specifically for future law students). Without this kind of feedback loop for faculty and students, they lack the specific knowledge they need to set goals and execute on those goals–they also lack the knowledge of the full scale of opportunities available for them. This could also be a bridge to more self-exploration as well as to checking out internships and career center opportunities.

A Realistic Method for More Experiential Knowledge in Academia
Perhaps more ambitiously I think you could divide the faculty so that you would preserve the creativity and idealism of the university and add practical, real world education as well. For instance the faculty could be self-selected into the following buckets based on their personal priorities:

1. Teaching
2. Research
3. Practicum

You could literally provide an 80/20 breakdown for their responsibilities in the department so that they would provide 80-10-10 with 80 being spent on their most important priority.

There are limits to this system, but I think it could be easily adjusted so that teachers were more well rounded in terms of the application of their studies. The sciences and humanities might have slightly different requirements–given research in the sciences is arguably more important (so for instance the humanities might have a 50-25-25 breakdown).

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