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Experiential learning prepares grads for jobs

Virtually every day, Purdue University Calumet students distinguish the Purdue education they are acquiring by engaging in rich, marketable experiential learning.

Experiential learning, as reported here previously, is a signature component within the PUC curricula of all baccalaureate degree students. Students learn experientially by taking lessons they have mastered from textbooks and classrooms and applying them in a hands-on, real world environment.

Experiential learning opportunities include internships, research, service learning, cooperative education, design projects and cultural immersion. Distinctive to PUC, such experiential learning involves educational relationships involving students, faculty members, academic advisors and community partners.

What’s more, each experiential learning initiative must satisfy rigorous standards set by PUC’s Faculty Senate and the National Society for Experiential Education.

Here are three current examples of how PUC students from various academic disciplines are learning experientially and, in the process, more closely preparing and positioning themselves today for their jobs and careers of tomorrow.

Experiencing the restaurant and cruise industries: Each Wednesday during the academic year, the campus-based PUC White Lodging Center for Hospitality and Tourism Management is converted into a high-end restaurant, managed by hospitality and tourism management students.

Scrumptious lunches and dinners are planned, prepared and served by a class of students who assume the various roles of staffing and restaurant management — from meal planning to supervising preparation, from serving customers to managing the dining room.

By the way, the a la carte lunches and four-course dinners are open to the public on a first-come, first-served reservation basis. For more information, call 989-2714 (lunch) or 989-2340 (dinner).

Additionally, in May, students enrolled in the HTM 38500 educational cruise study course explore the cruise line industry firsthand by partaking on a multi-day cruise. During their experience, they study customer service standards, engage cruise staff members about their jobs and enhance cultural understanding.

Expanding university marketing: After excelling in a competitive marketing class project last spring, two students, Julie Yarusinsky of Hammond and Chris Charizopoulos of Merrillville, are applying their marketing know-how as interns this fall in PUC’s Office of University Relations. They are engaged in a project in which they are attempting to learn more about prospective students by interacting with Illinois community college students who reside 10 to 40 miles from PUC.

By conducting research, the interns are becoming better aware of perceptions their target market have about PUC. That knowledge can influence marketing strategies and techniques for use in attracting those prospective students to PUC. More specifically, the interns are using social media as a tool for advancing their research.

Inspecting home structures: Junior level construction students within the university’s Department of Construction Science and Organizational Leadership are honing their structural observational skills by conducting some 1,800 structural condition inspections of Hammond homes. Their experiential learning is in conjunction with a Greater Hammond Housing Services survey project.

Additionally, while assisting Habitat for Humanity, entry level construction students are expanding two-dimensional drawing skills to 3-D realities, while applying hands-on knowledge to increase their understanding of materials and tools needed for framing and building homes.

Join us on campus for…

† “The Art of Advertising around the World” — 2 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3, in the Student Union & Library. This free, multi-cultural program focuses on how art has helped shape the advertising industry. Music, dance and theatrical performances will help tell the story. Sample international cuisine, too.

† “View Purdue Calumet” visitation program — 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 10, in the Student Union & Library, 989-2217.



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