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Delaware Valley University Named a National Leader in Experiential Learning

May 13, 2019

Delaware Valley University Named a National Leader in Experiential Learning

Courtesy: Josh Weldin. Josh Weldin ’19, a Delaware Valley University turf management major, at his Spring 2018 internship with the Philadelphia Eagles.

According to a Gallup News post, “recent graduates (those who graduated from 2002-2016) who had a relevant job or internship while in school were more than twice as likely to acquire a good job immediately after graduation.” 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. Delaware Valley University recently earned a national award for being a leader in providing relevant, real-world experience. 

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.” DelVal will receive the award at the organization’s next annual conference, to be held in September in Florida.

The Experience360 Program prepares students to solve problems, integrating classroom knowledge with real-world experience. Through the program, 100 percent of DelVal undergraduates gain real-world 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 incorporates experiences such as internships, study abroad, research and civic engagement.

“At Delaware Valley University, we weave opportunities to apply what students are learning into the experience from their first day on campus,” said Dr. Benjamin Rusiloski, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “Having a prominent, national organization recognize Delaware Valley University as the leader in experiential learning is rewarding. 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. The University surveyed members of the Class of 2017 and found that 91.24 percent of the survey respondents indicated a career outcome of either employment, continued education, volunteer service or military service within a year of graduating.

A graph on career outcomes.

Credit: Delaware Valley University.  Delaware Valley University’s career outcomes rate increased between 2015 and 2017. DelVal surveyed members of the Class of 2017 and found that 91.24 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 2017 included students who graduated in August 2016, December 2016 and May 2017. Statistics are derived from a total knowledge base of 70.7 percent of the total undergraduate class.

“Experiential learning makes a difference to our students as they set out to achieve their personal and professional goals,” said Director of the Experience360 Program Darrah Mugrauer. “Our faculty and staff have worked to enhance DelVal’s commitment to experiential learning. We see the power and value of experiential learning and the many great outcomes it is producing every day on our campus and, we are grateful for this recognition.”

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

“Our vision at Delaware Valley University is to be the leader in experiential education, empowering all learners to transform the world,” said DelVal President Dr. Maria Gallo. “Experiential learning is a component of the University’s strategic plan, and as we look to the future, we will be continuing 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.