I <3 Experiential Education

Posted on January 25,2013 by msppjen

As many of you may know already, experiential education is one of MSPP's core values. This played a large factor in my decision to attend MSPP. In undergrad, I participated in a co-op program and now I am an assistant director at the organization where I held my very first co-op job 6 and a half years ago! To say that I see the value in experiential education is an understatement. In a very, very nerdy way, I want to sing my love for experiential learning from the rooftops!

In the MAOP program, we have an infinite number of options for what we would like to do for our field placement projects. A lot of us designed our own projects with guidance of our advisors, but there were specific, structured opportunities available as well. I wanted to explore some of my interests, so I decided to design my own project.

I chose to study employee engagement right in my own department at work. For part of my project, I designed, distributed, and analyzed an anonymous survey. The second part of my project, which I am currently in, is conducting one on one interviews with some of the employees based on some of the trends I found in the survey results. Some of the issues that the survey dealt with were a little sensitive for a manager to be asking an employee, such as how employees are treated and what is lacking in the work environment. However, I tried to be as transparent as possible and the interviewees seem to be really forthcoming so far, which is great!

One employee in particular was very open with me and really had a lot of interesting insight. At the end of the interview, she started to ask me some more about what I am studying in school and what I want do with it when I'm done. I told her how there are different options, but I'm interested in consulting with organizations, to help them be more effective and healthy, and that I have a particular interest in increasing employee engagement and participation. She told me that she feels I will do really well at that because I am a really non-threatening person who knows how to put others at ease and allow them to open up to me.

That really meant a lot to me. First, I am glad that I am the kind of boss that someone can say that to. But I am also glad that I am just "that type of person." A field placement can often tell you whether or not you're headed down the right career path. So far, all signs point to yes for me. I can really see myself doing this externally for other organizations, in the long term. I'm going to hold onto that thought as I continue working on my Capstone paper this weekend.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!