Experiential Education 2018-19

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Experiential education, involving “learning by doing” outside the classroom, has been a relatively understated but successful part of the Williams curriculum for a number of years. In addition to the use of traditional laboratory work in the natural sciences and studio work in art, faculty have been challenging students to become engaged more personally in the Williams curriculum through field work, whether in the form of research, sustained work on special projects, or through placement with community organizations. Courses which include experiential learning provide students with opportunities to encounter firsthand the issues that they read and study about, requiring them to apply academic learning to nonacademic settings and challenging them to use their experiences in those settings to think more critically and deeply about what they are studying. Courses involving experiential education as defined above range from fully integrated off-campus programs such as the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program to courses involving one small field research project. The amount and nature of the experiential component(s) varies according to the instructor’s judgment. More information can be found on the Center for Learning in Action website.

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