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Elaine Rundle-Schwark


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UIS launches experiential and service-learning initiative

October 16, 2006

Staff in the new Experiential and Service Learning program at UIS are: (back row, left to right) Jan Kirkham, Bill Jordan, Kathy Guthrie, Frederick Murphy, and Bill White; front row (left to right) Sarah Chism, Elaine Rundle-Schwark, and Adriel Ippolito.

SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois at Springfield has consolidated its efforts in nontraditional, outside-the-classroom learning with the inception this fall of Experiential and Service-Learning Programs. The new entity encompasses existing programs in Applied Studies and Credit for Prior Learning, with the addition of the new Service-Learning program.

Applied Study and Credit for Prior Learning have been part of SSU/UIS since the campus was founded in 1969.  However Elaine Rundle-Schwark, director of Experiential and Service-Learning Programs, explained that new requirements that went into effect this academic year – specifically, an Engaged Citizenship Common Experience (a set of categories that address the "engaged citizenship" principle) – prompted formation of the combined program. Rundle-Schwark said that while the AST and CPL programs will fall under the EXS-L umbrella, there have been no changes in their curricula or in how these programs are facilitated.

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Experiential & Service Learning at UIS

"Service-Learning is an effort to enrich students' education by engaging them in meaningful service to their communities," said Rundle-Schwark. "This is accomplished by combining service tasks with structured opportunities for self-reflection, self-discovery, and the acquisition and comprehension of values, skills, and knowledge content."

Classes in the new Service-Learning program will be offered beginning with the 2007 spring semester. Proposed plans for the curriculum include such things as a seminar course on global warming that would include discussions of how community service can impact and offset changes in the environment, and a number of off-campus courses.

AST provides opportunities for undergraduates to learn outside of a classroom environment and earn college credit at the same time.  An AST can be an internship, project or supervised travel or study abroad.  Some AST placements are paid. CPL offers up to 16 hours of academic credit to students who have qualified experiences such as work, travel, volunteer efforts, independent learning, or military service. 

The EXS-L office is located in Brookens 482 on the UIS campus. More information is available by contacting the office at 217/206-6640 or by sending an e-mail to ast@uis.edu.

    The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs – 21 bachelor’s, 20 master’s, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.