The Center for Careers and Experiential Learning has been added to the Brown Library to include the Career Center, Study Abroad, Undergraduate Research and Halbert Institute for Missions and Global Service.
The Center for Careers and Experiential Learning is located in the front, left entrance of the library. It will be a central location on campus for students to access the experiential learning opportunities of four different offices. The center will stand as a resource for, not only students, but also faculty to incorporate within their particular degree programs and courses.
Derran Reese was appointed as the inaugural director of experiential learning and assumed the role officially on July 22. Reese also serves as an adjunct professor in the department of bible, missions and ministry. Prior to his appointment to director of experiential learning, Reese has worked full-time in the Bible department during 2006-08, then left ACU for a few years to pursue missionary work in Thailand with his family. Upon his return, he worked as an adjunct professor of missions.
“I think this is going to be a great opportunity for students to explore different ways to get those types of real world experiences and to help them during their academic career with enhanced learning, but also as they move towards career and vocation, to help equip them for that,” Reese said.
The Center for Careers and Experiential Learning was a recommendation from the Experiential Learning Task Force, which was established by Dr. Phil Schubert, president of ACU, and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) under the Strategic Vision for ACU in 2017. In the final phase of the Experiential Learning Task Force Report, the goal is to adopt these experiential learning initiatives and achieve 50% or greater participation, campus-wide, in each category.
Dodd Roberts, director of the Halbert Institute for Missions and Global Service, said the missions center will not relocate their offices, but rather provide a representative presence at the new library center.
“There will still be separate units, but we’ll be in the same space because what we all share in-common is experiential learning and the different aspects of experiential learning,” Roberts said. “So it will be kind of a one-stop-shop for students who are interested in missions, study abroad, undergraduate research or career opportunities and internships. The center will provide a great opportunity for students to come by and find out, for instance, ‘Am I interested in study abroad or missions or both?’ And we hope that a lot of students will say, ‘Both.'”
The Center for Careers and Experiential Learning is currently working to assess past successes and improvements made in the different areas. As well as working with faculty to establish new opportunities to incorporate in the center.
“This center provides opportunities for students to take the knowledge and content they’re learning in classes, and then be able to take it to real life situations, to different settings and contexts,” Reese said. “But more than that to be able to encounter unforeseen challenges and new perspectives. And those types of experiences enhance learning in ways that are even hard to measure.”
Reese said the new relocation is intended to provide students greater access to these offices and he hopes students feel welcome to come in and ask questions as they seek opportunities to engage in experiential learning.
“There’s so many great things happening across campus and experiential learning touches on so many different areas across all colleges and departments, so many different programs and entities on campus, that the challenge is getting my head around all of that,” Reese said. “So to be able to get perspective on everything that’s happening, so that as we move forward we can make decisions that will build on those great successes that are happening.”