Faculty mentoring has been identified as an important component of experiential learning success. However, most higher education institutions lack the support to provide training and guidance to faculty for this type of instructional programming. The identified purpose of the conducted exploratory study was to explore the faculty perceptions regarding the challenges and opportunities in experiential learning programming due to a lack of clear instructional guidelines at a public university. Despite an increase in enrollment in higher education experiential learning courses, limited research exists to assist faculty members who engage in this type of instructional strategy. Thus, faculty development and training efforts have been fragmented and not highly published. Faculty do not often feel equipped to embrace this type of instructional strategy. River City University (RCU) has an existing experiential learning program with over 2,500 students enrolled in some form of experiential learning each semester yet no clear guidelines exist for the role of faculty in this instructional programming. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore RCU faculty perceptions of the challenges and successes of the current program by gathering data through in-depth individual interviews with seasoned faculty mentors. The research was used to create recommendations to enhance the current program at RCU. The methodology used for the study was an exploratory, qualitative, holistic, single case study which investigated the "how and why" of this contemporary phenomenon. Data was gathered through open-ended, semi-structured in-depth interviews with seasoned faculty mentors. The participants were a diverse group of faculty from various disciplines who previously mentored students in experiential learning courses. The setting was a large state university within the southern region of the United States. A pseudonym, River City University (RCU), was used for the name of the actual university. The results of the study indicated that faculty at this institution significantly valued experiential learning as an instructional strategy as well as a means for preparing students for future career and life opportunities. The review of both successes and challenges provided the researcher the opportunity to present realistic recommendations for enhancing the experiential learning program at this public state institution.
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Experimental learning, Faculty development, Internships, Service learning|
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