Equitable Pathways to Experiential Learning

Exploring Student Perspectives on Barriers and Solutions

The UCalgary Experiential Learning (EL) Plan (2020-25), outlines three priorities derived through extensive cross-campus consultation. One of these priorities, to reduce barriers and expand capacity, seeks in part to address access and inclusion for students in experiential learning activities. Drawing on the university’s strategic equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility (EDIA) directions established by the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (OEDI), a research project was designed to better understand student perspectives in participation, access and engagement with experiential learning. This research project, known as ‘Equitable Pathways to Experiential Learning’ garnered more than 2,000 student respondents across a survey and series of focus groups. The engagement and respondents in this project is attributed in part to the collaborative and consultative approach, working with units and individuals serving students and addressing equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility and engaging Students as Partners throughout the project.

In this workshop, participants will gain an understanding of the process and context behind this project, and deeply explore the perspectives of approximately 2,000 students across program types. The student perspectives and trends on barriers and solutions will be shared and accessible for all participants. Through the exploration of student quotes, and thematically organized barriers and solutions, participants will reflect and discuss what we heard from students. This participatory session will focus on application of the student perspectives to the participant’s context. Participants will leave the session with insights and a depth of information to apply to their work, supporting their students and colleagues in student experiential learning opportunities.  

Learning outcomes:

  • Explore barriers to experiential learning and proposed interventions as identified by UCalgary students
  • Develop recommendation(s) for increasing student accessibility and inclusion in Experiential & Work-Integrated Learning in your own context.  
  • Review one process to engage expertise from students, staff and faculty in the design of a large research project exploring accessibility and inclusion in experiential learning

Facilitators: Jessica O’Connell, Suzanne Chew 

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