Students at St. Thomas University will now have the opportunity to connect their in-class learning with practical experience and work in the community through an interdisciplinary Certificate in Experiential Learning and Community Engagement.

The certificate, which students can complete concurrently with their Bachelor of Arts, will provide tangible evidence of the hands-on learning and community service completed during their studies at St. Thomas.

Experience Employers Will Notice

“This will be an opportunity for students to document and be recognized for their community involvement and course-based experiential learning,” said Jessica Hughes, manager of the Office of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement. “With this certificate, students will be better equipped to communicate their achievement to potential employers and in post graduate opportunities.”

Dr. Kim Fenwick, Vice President Academic and Research, said students are looking for more than traditional learning and are seeking opportunities to add more value to their degree. The experiential learning and community engagement focus of this certificate complements a St. Thomas education.

 “We think this is going to be a win for the community and a win for students,” Fenwick said.

“Experiential learning fits well into what we do in liberal arts, because we provide transferable skills that can be used in almost any area of life or employment. Part of a liberal education is being able to affect the world in a positive way, so we want students to see how what they’re leaning can help others, professionally and through volunteerism.”

“The highlight of my grad year”

Rebecca Boone, a recent graduate who majored in History, took advantage of the experiential learning opportunity offered to her as a researcher at the Centennial Building. Through her work, she came to a better understanding of the role of the Centennial Building in Fredericton and the country, while also analyzing its significance to Canadian society and its evolution over the past 50 years.

“Material history is a field that can be very relatable to the public, as objects can be more relatable than concepts or people, because we interact with objects—like the Centennial Building—every day,” she said. 

“This experiential learning opportunity was the highlight of my grad year, and let me feel as though I was making a real contribution to the field of history.”

In the fall, Boone will begin her Bachelor of Education degree at St. Thomas.

Certificate Requirements

Students wishing to earn the Certificate in Experiential Learning and Community Engagement must complete nine credit hours from the list of academic courses to be provided by the Registrar’s Office, as well as 30 hours of non-paid community service paired with critical thinking and reflective exercises.

A list of approved community service opportunities will soon be available from the Office of Student Services and Residence Life.

The certificate program begins in September 2017.