Experiential education gets government boost

Brock University has received new funding to further its extensive programming in experiential education.

The nearly $280,000 in annual funding from the Government of Ontario’s Career Ready Fund was announced on April 27 and will see the University implement additional efforts in several key programming areas of experiential learning. Funding has been allocated until Spring 2019.

“As a leader in experiential learning, Brock has implemented countless opportunities across all of its Faculties, from creating escape rooms at a local military museum to surveying rock formations in the Canadian north,” said Cara Krezek, Director of Co-op, Career and Experiential Education.

For Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development Mitzie Hunter, the effect the funding can have on students is life-changing.

“Ontario’s students are highly educated and incredibly talented, but without some work-related experience on their resumé, it can be challenging for them to land that first job after school,” she said. “With support from the Career Ready Fund, students and new graduates will gain the meaningful, real-world experience they need for a successful career start, and employers will have access to talent that can make an immediate impact on their success.”

The new support allows Brock to bring in three additional staff members to enhance the experiential curriculum, assist students in accessing co-op opportunities and ensure the appropriate development of workplace-related skills.

“By adding to our dedicated team of experiential learning specialists, we will continue to grow our programs and prepare our students to succeed in their studies and careers,” said Krezek.

The funding will also directly assist students as they prepare to enter the workforce by creating new experiential opportunities in large first-year courses, providing innovative virtual-reality experiences in partnership with the Brock University library and weaving further opportunities throughout programs in every Faculty at Brock.

“Our students are building skills and relevant experiences that relate to their field of study,” said Krezek. “The new funding will provide them additional tools to understand the skills and competencies they have learned, as well as teaching them how to convey those things to an employer in an interview, on a resumé or during a networking situation.”

Faculty members will receive similar support from the Career Ready Fund. Beyond the previously mentioned additions in resources and staffing support on campus, additional funding will also be dedicated to encourage and support faculty to explore and implement programs online and internationally by partnering with stakeholders from other educational institutions, the Niagara region and around the world.

“By increasing our experiential efforts, as well as student and faculty opportunities, Brock has created a focused and achievable plan for the Career Ready funding we have received,” said Krezek. “Our long-established legacy of experiential learning, combined with the ratification of experiential education definitions by our University Senate, has ensured our efforts continue to break new ground while also remaining sustainable.”

Faculty members and community partners who are interested in accessing funding available through the Career Ready Fund grant are encouraged to visit Brock’s Co-op, Career and Experiential Education website.

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