News

Delaware Valley University Accepts National Award for Experiential Learning

Sep 26, 2019

Delaware Valley University Accepts National Award for Experiential Learning

Credit: Delaware Valley University. Representatives from Delaware Valley University accepting the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) 2019 Outstanding Experiential Learning Program award. From left: Experience360 Advisor Emmaline Armstrong, Experience360 Program Director Darrah Mugrauer, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Benjamin Rusiloski, and President of the Board of Directors of NSEE Paul Kwant.

In a survey quoted by the Harvard Business Review, “93% of executives and 94% of hiring managers indicated that they would be more likely to hire a recent graduate who has held an internship or apprenticeship.” As young graduates go out into the job market, it is often their experiences outside of the classroom, solving real-world problems, that set them apart. On Sept. 24, Delaware Valley University accepted a national award for being a leader in experiential learning. 

DelVal’s Experience360 Program, which all undergraduates are required to complete, was named the 2019 Outstanding Experiential Education Program by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE). NSEE awards this honor in recognition of “an outstanding institution that has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to experiential education.” Representatives from DelVal accepted the award at the annual NSEE conference in Florida. 

The Experience360 Program prepares students to solve problems, integrating classroom knowledge with experience. Through the program, 100 percent of DelVal undergraduates gain experience before graduation. 

Students start preparing for their careers from their first semester on campus, beginning with a course incorporating professional development and problem-based learning and ending with the creation of a co-curricular transcript that includes experiences such as internships, study abroad, research and civic engagement.

“Having a prominent organization recognize Delaware Valley University as the national leader in experiential learning is rewarding,” said Dr. Benjamin Rusiloski, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “We plan to continue to expand and refine our program and serve as a resource for other schools.”

Since launching the Experience360 Program, the University has seen its career outcomes rate climb by 5.5 percentage points. DelVal’s Class of 2018 – the most recent class surveyed – reported a record-high 93.2 percent career outcomes rate, a measure of the percentage of alumni who are employed, engaged in service work, in the military, or continuing their education within a year of graduating. The University surveys its graduates throughout their first year after graduating.

Career outcomes graph.

Credit: Delaware Valley University. Delaware Valley University surveyed members of the Class of 2018 and found that 93.2 percent of the survey respondents indicated a career outcome of either employment, continued education, volunteer service or military service within a year of graduating. Employment in this graph may include military service and volunteer service in the calculation. The survey for the Class of 2018 included students who graduated in August 2017, December 2017 and May 2018. Statistics are derived from a total knowledge base of 78 percent of the total undergraduate class. 

“Experiential learning changes students’ lives and helps set them up for success after graduation,” said Experience360 Program Director Darrah Mugrauer. “I see the power and value of experiential learning every day on campus when I hear from our students and young alumni.”

As the University implements its strategic plan, DelVal plans to incorporate even more experiential learning opportunities for students.

“Delaware Valley University is leading the way in experiential education,” said DelVal President Dr. Maria Gallo. “As we implement our new strategic plan, we will continue to expand and enhance our innovative and effective approach to experiential learning.”

To learn more about Delaware Valley University’s Experience360 Program, please visit delval.edu/e360.