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Call for Proposals for Education in Action: Mobilizing the Next Generation for Social Reform

Submission Deadline: November 17, 2011.


An Experiential Learning Conference


sponsored by Sixth College, University of California, San Diego
In collaboration with Warren College


DATE: January 26, 2012
Cross-Cultural Center, UC San Diego


Organizers: Diane Forbes Berthoud, Practicum Director, Sixth College, Jim Lin, Acting Provost, Sixth College, and Liz Losh, Director of Academic Programs, Sixth College.


Today’s college students, a decade into the millennium, have come of age in a post-9/11 world, characterized by multiple wars and divisions, a dismal economic climate, high unemployment, and significant political, social, technological, and cultural shifts in our global society.


The portrait of this college generation is promising. Social scientific research contends that they possess the distinctive and admirable attributes to be effective leaders who are trail blazers of social reform. Among these attributes are creativity and entrepreneurship, more positive attitudes and engagement in community service and volunteerism, appreciation of diversity, and openness to new and challenging ideological forms. Students are often looking for career choices where they can make a significant contribution to society, but are often discouraged by the dismal economic climate.


Recent reports by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the Pew Research Center, and other research institutions recognize that colleges and universities are uniquely positioned to prepare the next generation to be effective citizens who are equipped to function and thrive in an increasingly complex and diverse world. At a recent policy summit on the economy, Secretary of State Clinton articulated important steps in a path toward the Participation Age — where every individual has the opportunity to be a contributing and valued member of the global marketplace.


Higher education leaders have turned their attention to experiential learning as a pedagogical tool and resource in the last few decades, contributing to the academic, intellectual, and social growth of young people. Through experiential pedagogies, students can become contributing and valued members of society, as they develop leadership skills, social responsibility, and commitment to public/human service. The University of California, San Diego has had investment in connecting the academy to the community to give our students that cutting edge in the marketplace, to enhance teaching and research, and to contribute to the making of a new generation that is more interconnected and aware.


Researchers and practitioners continue to struggle with many questions concerning experiential learning such as: Why does experiential learning remain on the periphery of higher education? And how might educators address the challenge to shift its location to be a more central component of academic life? Other questions concern the institutionalization of experiential learning, the complex dynamics of university-community partnerships and collaborations, and the impact of the current economic climate on service-learning efforts in higher education. Of particular interest are the intersections and tensions among interests, organizational cultures, conflict, and power. How do institutions and communities negotiate competing interests for mutual benefit? How can communities and universities work effectively towards a balance of power and a mutual exchange of knowledge and resources? How do we mobilize more students to become involved in experiential learning on their campuses? How are universities managing assessment initiatives?


The purpose of this conference is to bring together the many groups on campus that create experiential learning opportunities for UCSD students. We seek to engage participants interested in the development of experiential learning pedagogies to join us for a day of dialogue about best practices and strategies that enhance research and teaching.


Panel submissions may be organized around the following themes related to Experiential Learning in Higher Education: Civic engagement, Technology/Digital Literacy, the Arts, Leadership development, Higher Education challenges, Public Health, Economic climate, Student Development, STEM discipline engagement and many more.


The goals of the conference are to:


1. Develop strategies for building experiential learning initiatives in higher education
2. Provide a global picture of the experiential learning resources and benefits at UCSD and other higher education institutions
3. Increase opportunities for collaboration and networking among those engaged in experiential learning in its various forms
4. Foster more institutional dialogue about how ’service’ might count as ‘research’
5. Learn more about the impact of experiential learning on students, higher education, and the community
6. Collaborate with students who have been both campus or community partners in experiential learning initiatives
7. Explain how experiential learning can help students to clarify their career goals
8. Help faculty to create new experiential learning environments
9. To create a framework where undergraduate education includes experiential learning as an essential element


Call for Proposals:


UCSD’s Sixth College invites submissions of individual and panel proposals from university and community college instructors, employers, practitioners, students, community organizations, activists, and others who are interested in Experiential Learning.


We are particularly interested in proposals that focus on the transformative elements of experiential learning for students, alumni, faculty, employers, and the community. We are also particularly interested in best practices in experiential learning.

Possible Presentations from Students:


1. When you began your practicum experience, what did you know? After your practicum experience, what did you learn?
2. Describe an internship or practicum experience that helped you
1. develop critical thinking skills and problem solving skills
2. raise your awareness and understanding of how to contribute to a culturally diverse world
3. use your disciplinary knowledge and experiences to be effective in addressing societal problems
4. identify your core personal values
3. Describe a practicum or internship experience that touched, moved and inspired you to take action.


Discussion: Psychosocial well being is a term used by the American Association of Colleges and Universities to refer to such characteristics as purpose in life, supportive social relationships, positive mental health, and optimism about the future. The AACU notes that although many students are academically successful, they can be somewhat disengaged and passive learners in the classroom. A practicum or internship often requires students to become active learners in a community setting who are more motivated and inspired about their learning experience.


Presentations from Faculty, Staff, Community, Employers and Alumni:


The organizers would like descriptions of experiential learning projects by faculty, staff, community, employers and alumni to include a number of students who would talk about the impact of their having participated.


Possible topics might include:


1. Describe a project or internship opportunity and its transformative impact on students, community and yourself.
2. Describe how your project assists in retention of underrepresented students.
3. Describe how your project encourages people to work cooperatively in groups and increases students abilities to think about complex real world issues.
4. Describe how your project encourages faculty members or staff from diverse disciplines to integrate their skills to find solutions.
5. Describe how your project promotes better relations with underserved communities.
6. Describe the benefits of engaging in a project that sends students abroad.
7. Describe methods you have used to assess the value of your experiential learning project.


Individual and Panel Proposals accepted.


Individual Proposals: Provide a 250- to 300-word abstract of the proposed paper and include a one sentence description of the paper for the conference program.


Panels: Provide a 250- to 300-word abstract of the panel, the panel title, and the paper titles. Also include a one sentence description of your panel and of each paper for the conference program. Provide a chair/respondent, if possible.


Submission Deadline: November 17, 2011.


Submission Procedure: Electronic submissions only.


Submit your:
• individual proposal here.
• panel proposal here.


You will be asked for the proposal, the presenters’ names, addresses, phone numbers, and a primary contact for panel proposals. Only one submission per person.


To register for the conference, click here.


For more information, contact Diane Forbes, Practicum Director, Sixth College at or call 858-822-5953.

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