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Dan Rush Prepares Students for their Future through Experiential Learning and Community Engagement 

Image of Daniel RushFaculty across campus are finding innovative ways to integrate more Experiential Learning and Community Engagement into their classes. Daniel “Dan” Rush, Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Technology and Supply Chain Management (linked), is currently teaching at the intersection of Experiential Learning (EL), Community-Engaged Learning (CEL), and Service-Learning, and his students are reaping the benefits.

As part of Dan’s course requirements for SCM 435 Project Management, student groups work with a community partner on a project management initiative. Dan knows there is great value in providing students with the option of working with different kinds of organizations including for-profit, non-profit, and public, to provide students with choice and agency, and to address students’ various interests. Some student groups work with local businesses. Other groups choose to work with community service organizations (like the Campus Food Pantry); these students get a Service-Learning distinction on their transcript for this class. Because each student group’s experiences might vary based on their type of organization, Dan offers ample time for students to share lessons learned with one another.

Dan continuously assesses the advantages of EL and CEL for his students and for him. Although EL and CEL have more moving parts than traditional lecturing, Dan decided that these experiential, community-engaged teaching strategies are worth the investment. They provide many benefits to students, including helping them integrate skills from multiple earlier classes and increasing their readiness for interviews, internships, and careers. For example, one student said, “This has been the closest experience to a real-life work environment I’ve experienced in school.” Another student shared, “[I] started my new position this week, and I feel so prepared to take on my new role!” In addition, EL helps students prepare to include real life experiences in job interview situations even when the project does not go as planned. A student reported,”In every single [interview] they have asked about an experience that didn’t go as planned, where I had to adjust, that was difficult, or something along these lines. … Although [the project from this class did not go as]  we expected, I learned so much and came away with a great learning experience. The best part of this all is that every person who has interviewed me has loved the story.”

Are you interested in learning more about community-based, or experiential learning? Contact Kara Brascia from the CTL’s Service-Learning team ( to learn more!