Reflections on the Experiential Education Symposium 2022

(Courtesy of Gagan Sidhu)

On February 2, 2022, students, faculty, administrators and staff gathered virtually through Zoom to celebrate the accomplishments of students within experiential education. 

The symposium was co-chaired by Lisa Endersby, the acting director of the YU Experience Hub, and Sophie Bury, the director of Learning Commons and Reference Services.

“The Experiential Education Symposium is always a highlight of the year for us both. This year in particular, we were excited to find a way to celebrate the great work that our students, faculty, and community partners have engaged in, despite the many challenges this pandemic has brought us,” both Endersby and Bury tell Excalibur in a joint statement.

“Hearing the many, diverse stories shared by our speakers highlights just how meaningful, powerful, and important experiential education is for our students — both in impacting their learning while also, in turn, giving them the opportunity to extend that positive impact to others on campus and beyond. 

“We are so grateful to have worked with an exceptional committee of colleagues from across campus who helped us to showcase and inspire experiential education opportunities in the classroom, in the community, and in the workplace,” Endersby and Bury continue.

Now some may be wondering, what is experiential learning?

According to the Student Experiential Education Guide, experiential education is the “application of theory to a hands-on experience within the classroom, within the community or in the workplace, which advances what you are learning in a course or program and requires you to reflect upon your learning.”

President Rhonda Lenton commented during the symposium that they’ve been in the area of experiential education and hands-on learning for “more years than they could count.” Lenton continued on to say that they “have been really quite persuaded by the compelling literature that demonstrates how hands-on learning is such a fundamental part of preparing our students to take on the complex problems that they will face in their careers and in their local and global communities.”

Taylor Wakefield, a translation student studying at Glendon, talked about what surprised them the most about experiential learning and how it impacted her career ambitions.

“What surprised me was how concrete and real the experience was. I was able to not only truly understand the time and work demands of my future profession, which was a lot more than I had been expecting previously, but I was able to feel what success felt like in my chosen field.

“My career goals didn’t necessarily shift, but I definitely feel a stronger connection to my future ambitions as a professional translator,” Wakefield affirmed.

Joy Kirchner, the dean of libraries, relays that the libraries have been co-sponsors of the Experiential Education Symposium since its first year in 2019. 

“The Libraries and Learning Commons are proud to be imbuing these students with critical skills, such as writing concise, meaningful reflections, and presenting effectively online. The event demonstrates how truly transformative experiential education experiences typically are for our students and we’re proud to be a part of an event that celebrates and showcases this.”

To further learn about experiential learning, check out the presentations put together by the students who are a part of the program. For further questions or inquiries of how to be part of experiential learning contact eesteam@yorku.ca.

About the Author

By Jannat Yaqobi

Assistant News Editor

asstnews@excal.on.ca

Jannat is a first year Criminology student at York. Along with being part of Excalibur, she is also part of the Criminology Society, SCOLAPS, and the YFS. She has a passion for reading, writing (particularly spoken word and slam), photography, and watching classic and vintage movies. Apart from juggling her busy (and at times hectic) schedule, one can occasionally find Jannat journaling, graphic designing, or watching Golden Girls with her mom or Friends with a cup of black tea.

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