Experiential Learning

Within its mission of fostering a creative, interactive, multidisciplinary structure for socially significant research and creative efforts in the social sciences and humanities, ISCE is positioned to enhance experiential learning opportunities for students. Experiential learning takes many forms, among them research scholarship, cooperative education, internships and work experience, service learning and living, student organizations, and study abroad.

As an initial focus, ISCE has undertaken an initiative in experiential learning in public policy and practice. In collaboration with faculty in various departments, these learning opportunities will facilitate engagement of students with their instructors and advisors in public policy processes and social programs that involve complex collective governance decision making or service delivery.

As a complement to classroom learning, these experiences provide students opportunities to research the issues involved in specific governance decision-making or public-sector program implementation and evaluation, to meet and engage on a personal level with leaders from government, stakeholder groups and academia involved in these processes, and to integrate this experience with their classroom disciplinary training.

Complex policy decision making and program implementation and evaluation processes by their nature extend beyond the confines of the academic calendar structure. Ultimately, we envision facilitating experiential learning that extends across specific courses, semesters and academic years so student’s learn from, contribute to, and gain appreciation of the ongoing dynamics of democratic governance and public policy determination, implementation and evaluation.

Faculty interested in partnering with ISCE in the policy experiential learning program are encouraged to contact David Orden (dorden@vt.edu) to discuss possible options. Suggestions of additional experiential learning activities across the social sciences and humanities are also welcome for discussion.


2017 Policy and Practice Experiential Learning Activities

A day at De Hogeweyk, the Dementia Village in the Netherlands, March 2017

The Virginia Governor’s Conference on Agricultural Trade, March 2017

Dialogue with Dr. Katheryn Russ, Senior Staff Economist, President’s Council of Economic Advisors, November 2016

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