Experiential Learning at Muskingum
Recent surveys of corporate chief executive officers over the past five to seven years consistently detail the desire of employers to locate and to hire university graduates that possess specific traits and abilities.
Such surveys show that employers believe that college graduates who want to pursue advancement and long-term career success with their company should possess both field-specific knowledge - knowledge obtained in their major - along with a broad range of knowledge and skills. In short, they place the greatest value upon demonstrated proficiency in skills that cut across all majors.
In particular, the vast majority of employers are looking for students who have the demonstrated ability to:
- Effectively communicate verbally
- Communicate effectively in writing, and
- Work effectively with others in teams.
Through its very design, the curriculum that students follow at Muskingum University gives students the opportunity to acquire the above skills that employers in this global economy seek. Students, for example, must complete a course in English composition, and many courses offered at the university across the curriculum are writing-intensive. Group learning activities are common, also, as are presentations - either individually or in teams - and (increasingly) class or club-related service learning projects.
Additionally, employers increasingly place great value upon what is known as "applied learning," with as many as four out of five reporting that during the hiring process it is very important that recent college graduates be able to demonstrate the ability to apply learning in "real world" situations. Among those experiences that companies felt were more likely to especially tilt an employment offer in a student's favor are the following:
- Research projects demonstrating knowledge, research, problem-solving, and communication skills.
- Collaborative research projects
- Service-learning projects
- Field projects, particularly those in involving diverse cultures and people.
- Study Abroad
Muskingum University offers ample opportunities for students to participate in experiences such as the above that will enrich and expand their classroom learning. A few examples are given below.
Internships (Juniors and higher)
Internships opportunities - both off-campus and on-campus - are made available to students through many of our academic departments and through the universiy's Career Services office. By participating in internships, students gain valuable pre-professional, on-the-job experience, and can also receive academic credit at the same time.
Muskingum University interns have earned academic credit, in fact, in most every academic discipline offered. Students may initiate their own internships proposals, and the goals, expectations, and specific learning requirements for all internships are carefully specified and established in advance so as to assure good rapport between students, department, staff, and the outside organizations involved. All internships proposals and opportunities are required to meet the same minimum standards, and must be approved in advance by the department chair or program coordinator, the supervising professor, and the Academic Affairs office.
To be eligible for an internship, students must have Junior-year status (60 credits completed), and a grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher.
Career Field Experiences (Sophomores and higher)
Career field experience opportunities - such as job "shadowing" - are available to Sophomore-year (and higher) students who have earned 28 credits or more, and have at least a 2.0 GPA.
- As a result, they are perfect for students who wish to gain internship-like experience, but who do not yet qualify for that type of opportunity.
For more detailed information about Internships and Career Field Experiences, kindly consult the Undergraduate Catalog, or contact the Office of Academic Affairs.
Student-Faculty Research and Summer Muskie Fellowships
Student-faculty research is almost a commonplace at Muskingum University. Faculty members will often offer opportunities to students to assist with the faculty member's research - and not just solely in the sciences as one might expect. Students have collaborated with faculty in fields such as English, Music, History, Criminal Justice, Marketing, Psychology, Political Science and many other fields.
Students interested in working with faculty should ask faculty members about opportunities that might be available. Faculty do not often get the opportunity to talk with students about their research, so a good way for students to start a conversation about possibilities is to ask a faculty member - perhaps a favorite professor - about the kind of research that the faculty member does outside of class.
One very significant research opportunity for students is Muskingum University's Summer Fellows Program, known on campus as "Muskie Fellows." The Muskie Fellows program is a collaborative offering of the university's Academic Affairs and Student Affairs offices. Faculty members with research that they wish to conduct over a summer as part of the Muskie Fellows program, submit a proposal to the Academic Affairs office and nominate students to be their collaborative research assistants. If selected to participate, students receive free on-campus housing for the summer, plus a stipend for their services. Once largely the domain of the sciences and upper-level students, the program has been broadened in recent years to include projects in non-science areas, and to create opportunities for younger, qualified, students.
Even more recently, the program has added an association with the Muskingum County Business Incubator (MCBI), so as to give students opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial skills assisting start-ups working with MCBI. Participants in this new MCBI track, have included not only students in the business-related majors, but also students in disciplines such as English, Health Administration, History, Music, and Political Science and who help these businesses in areas such as content development, visual design, marketing research, data collection and analysis, and much more.
Studying abroad is a great way to see the world, and to learn and practice important skills needed by our increasingly global economy - and all while earning Muskingum University credit.
Muskingum University faculty routinely offer short-term programs over winter, spring and summer breaks.
Students may even study for one or two semesters at a foreign university through Muskingum University student exchange programs. Formal student exchange agreements exist with universities in all parts of the globe, and study abroad exchange programs outside of those already established are also possible.
Additionally, numerous non-exchange programs of study are available through the university's far-flung connections abroad. It is even possible to custom-tailor a program abroad that will transfer credits back to Muskingum University.