Associated Faculty Leonard Branson, Dyanne Ferk, Karen Kirkendall, Paul McDevitt
Adjunct Faculty Mitch Hopper, Adriel Ippolito, Janette Kirkham, Holly McCracken, Thomas Shaughnessy
The applied study and experiential learning term (AST) is central to UIS' public affairs emphasis within the framework of a liberal arts curriculum and stresses practical experience, professional development, and experiential learning. The AST fulfills this role by providing an academically sponsored learning experience that gives all UIS degree-seeking undergraduate students an opportunity to learn from the community -- about its everyday tasks, its professional life, its problems, and its unmet needs.
The AST process emphasizes self-directed learning that provides opportunities for career exploration, integration of academic studies with practical experience, determination of additional learning needs, cultivation of independent learning skills, and development of increased awareness of community, diversity, and public affairs.
The campus and AST faculty recognize the diversity of backgrounds and academic and career needs of students. A variety of curricular options are described more fully in the AST course descriptions. The AST experience can be in the form of an internship, a special project, student/faculty research, study abroad, or travel abroad. Some programs (i.e., social work and clinical laboratory science) have an experiential component integrated into the academic curriculum of their own program.
UIS provides an opportunity for all degree seeking undergraduates at UIS to take 2 to 12 semester hours of applied study. Only six semester hours of applied study may be used to satisfy ECCE requirements. An additional 1 to 4 semester hours may be taken for elective credit with the adviser's permission. The AST may be taken after admission to an academic major at UIS, selection of a major adviser in the academic discipline, and completion of three core courses in the academic major at UIS. Some programs have additional regulations and prerequisites for applied study terms. Scheduling is flexible and a variety of options are available to meet individual student needs.
Early in the semester preceding enrollment in the AST (their third year), students should make an appointment with their program advisers and an AST faculty member to discuss plans for the integration of academic studies and experiential learning. Early in the semester preceding enrollment in the AST, students should arrange all details of placement with the AST faculty in Brookens 483. Registration can be completed only with the permission of the program adviser and an AST faculty member.
Undergraduate and graduate students with extensive paid work, community service or volunteerism, and other non-classroom learning experiences may earn credit in appropriate academic areas. Enrollment in AST 305 Prior Learning Portfolio Development or AST 501 Graduate Prior Learning Portfolio Development is strongly recommended for students preparing prior learning portfolios. Undergraduates may elect to use successful completion of AST 305 to satisfy three semester hours of ECCE requirements. Applicability of additional credit for prior learning hours toward a UIS degree is at the discretion of individual academic programs. All students should contact the Credit for Prior Learning office in Brookens 487 for more information.
Service-learning courses combine learning with providing service to communities in need. The service that students perform is combined with self-reflection, self-discovery, and learning new skills and knowledge. Not only do service-learning courses enrich students' learning experience, but they can also fulfill one of two Engaged Citizenship Common Experience requirements, which are part of the general curriculum. Service-learning courses can be taken to complete the ECCE Engagement or the ECCE Elective requirements. Students enrolled in service-learning courses will complete 60 hours (about four hours/week) of direct service to specific sites and attend approximately seven seminars throughout the semester.
One core service-learning course is AST 200 Learning and Serving in the Community. This course is designed to promote experiential learning for UIS students while advancing the institution's mission of providing a sound basis of information and concerned citizens. Students in this course will conduct a community needs assessment, plan and implement a service project to meet a community need while critically reflecting on the experience through discussion and journaling. All students should contact the Service-Learning office in Brookens 489 for more information.