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Experience Guaranteed: Connecting Students to Experiential Learning Opportunities

By Bridget Weikel and Marissa Jimenez

"Experience Guaranteed" is a commitment made by ODU to create, promote and connect students to experiential learning opportunities for career preparedness and future contribution to the regional workforce. Experience Guaranteed focuses on three components of the experiential learning framework: applying knowledge to an experience, participating in guided reflection with faculty or other contributor, and applying these skills to a real-world setting in the pursuit of career readiness. These components of experiential learning capture the Experience Guaranteed commitment at ODU.

Experience Guaranteed was launched through a task force initiative in spring 2020 involving faculty, staff, students, business partners, and employers to provide ODU students with career skills through experiential learning opportunities. The task force was supported by a grant funded by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). ODU already offered many types of experiential learning opportunities — internships, service-learning courses, leadership programs, campus employment, undergraduate research, study abroad and curriculum design, just to name a few. By identifying the work already occurring and expanding opportunities for students, Experience Guaranteed has strengthened the commitment and partnerships across the institution and our region as students learn and connect with the community, government, business leaders, and other external partners of ODU. Students participating in experiential learning opportunities are prepared for their careers and are developing the skills to contribute to the regional workforce.

In addition to preparing our current students, Experience Guaranteed contributes to recruiting new students to ODU to gain these valuable skills for their eventual careers. It also places our region as a prime location for business and entrepreneurial enterprises to hire our talented and prepared students.

Over the past year, various stakeholders at the institution have continued the work of the task force and shared ODU's commitment to Experience Guaranteed. Initiatives this past year included marketing Experience Guaranteed as a recruitment initiative at University open house events, onboarding new students to the messaging of Experience Guaranteed during the fall semester convocation, hosting Experience Guaranteed recruitment fairs, and holding a workshop for creating co-curricular experiential learning opportunities.

On April 12, various offices will host a Snack & Chat Experience Guaranteed event where students will share their learning with their peers and promote future engagement. Faculty are welcome to attend the event at the Learning Commons @ Perry Library from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to learn more about Experience Guaranteed, the opportunities available at ODU, and how to connect an existing opportunity to the initiative.

For more information or to learn more about Experience Guaranteed, email experienceguaranteed@odu.edu.

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