Sunday, June 16, 2024

Centenary College selected for national learning consortium on work-based learning

by BIZ Magazine

SHREVEPORT, LA — Following a competitive application process, Centenary College has been invited to join the Council of Independent Colleges’ (CIC) inaugural Work-Based Learning (WBL) Consortium. Centenary is one of 25 institutions selected to participate in this national initiative supporting colleges and universities in efforts to make internships and job market preparation more accessible to students, especially students from under-represented groups.

The consortium will utilize an experiential learning platform, created in partnership with Riipen, to integrate real-world, employer-designed projects into existing courses. On each campus, CIC and Riipen will work with faculty, staff, and administrators to integrate these experiential learning resources into existing courses, helping equip students with skills, real-world experiences, and professional connections to support their future careers. The multi-year program has an estimated value of over $65,000 per institution and will be administered free of charge to students at Centenary and other consortium campuses.

Dr. Rachel Johnson, director of Centenary’s Center for Teaching and Learning, spearheaded the College’s application to the WBL Consortium. Johnson and other Centenary faculty and staff were motivated by a desire to expand the College’s current programs and services while offering faculty access to tools and resources needed to design innovative work-based learning experiences.

“Centenary is committed to providing authentic learning experiences for our students,” explained Johnson. “Our experiential learning curriculum (Trek) has been in place for over 25 years and represents a signature feature of the Centenary experience. One exciting outcome of participating in this consortium would be the creation of a faculty cohort who can serve as long-term champions for expanding work-based learning at Centenary and in the Shreveport-Bossier community. Creating connections between the College, employers, students, and cutting-edge technologies is crucial for preparing the next generation of global citizens.”

Centenary’s WBL Consortium cohort represents a variety of academic disciplines. Joining Johnson on the leadership team are Dr. Karen Soul, vice president for academic affairs and provost, and Debbie Bury, director of career services. Faculty champions include Dr. Matthew Blasi, assistant professor of English; Rev. Lindy Broderick, college chaplain; Dr. Priyanka Chakraborty, assistant professor of economics; Dr. Terrie Johnson, assistant professor of education and chair of the Education department; and Alissa Klaus, director of the College’s Meadows Museum of Art.

“This is an exciting opportunity for students to gain valuable hands-on experience through internships embedded in their courses,” said Titi Ufomata, CIC senior vice president for academic programs, in a media release. “That these internships are available to all students regardless of where they are located levels the playing field for all students. We are grateful to our funders for making this possible.”

The WBL Consortium is supported by funding from Ascendium Education Group and Strada Education Foundation. For more details and a list of WBL Consortium members, visit cic.edu/news.

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