Brainstorming at breakfast
Workshops focused on experiential learning
On June 20, students and community members discovered the importance of connecting with each other and the power experiential learning has to enhance the university experience.
The Big Bold Beautiful Breakfast brought together over 100 students, community and internal partners to hear from young alumni who have been directly impacted by experiential learning programs at the University of Manitoba.
Taylor Morriseau (BSc, 2017), one of three young alumni who spoke at the event, reminisced about the impact of her experience with Alternative Reading Week and of falling in love with research during a co-op program placement in the field of diabetes. “It is through the support of programs like these that I found strength in my voice and began to question the world around me,” said Morriseau, who encouraged students to get involved in opportunities like these and to take part in student groups, noting that “through connecting with people and building communities, we can achieve things that we never thought were possible.”
“Putting on an event like this gives the University and our partners a chance to see the positive impact they have on the lives of our students,” said Gail Langlais, director, Career Services. “This is important as it is not always easy to offer an experiential learning opportunity and when you see the positive impact it has on the student, coupled with the positive impact on the organization, it is motivation to engage again.”
New this year, attendees were also invited to brainstorm with each other about the future of experiential learning and to engage in conversations on how these programs can be enhanced at the U of M.
A number of important themes and ideas emerged, calling for current and future programming on campus to be responsive to community need; accessible and adaptable to a diverse range of students; integrated into the curriculum and marketed in a way that allows for early student engagement and full participation by community, faculty and employers.
The need for partnerships and the importance of working together to provide experiential learning opportunities also surfaced as a critical step in moving forward.
“I hope that the attendees will take away that we want to hear their voice,” said Langlais. “We are in the preliminary stages of creating a holistic vision for experiential learning at the University of Manitoba and we want to ensure our partners have a role to play in creating that vision.”
The Student Engagement and Success unit is in the process of compiling a thorough and clear report of the feedback received from the breakfast conversations and will use that information to map out next steps for experiential learning. The aim is to share this information with the breakfast attendees and the University community more widely in August.
For more information on experiential learning opportunities at the University of Manitoba, please visit the experiential education webpage.