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Campus Placing Increased Emphasis on Our ‘Applied Learning’ Attributes

Student research, one of the four main areas covered under the applied learning umbrella, along with study abroad, internships, and community engagement.  

ALBANY, N.Y. (January 28, 2016) — Curricular and extra-curricular means of analytic inquiry, active learning, real-world problem-solving, and innovation are nothing new at UAlbany. But now it has one name: applied learning.

“In our applied learning initiative, we’re promoting the things we’ve always done well,” said Linda M. Krzykowski, assistant vice provost for Student Engagement and a clinical professor in the School of Business, who, along with Noah Simon, director of Career and Professional Development, co-chairs the Applied Learning Steering Committee.

“Now, however, we’re applying a label to this good work to focus our campus on making sure that every student be given the opportunity to do applied learning and for every student to see the value of their applied learning activities.”

The initiative will be formally launched on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom. It will feature award-winning motivational speaker Jon Vroman, author of Living College Life in the Front Row, speaking on “Living a Fearless Front Row Life.” Tabling on UAlbany applied learning opportunities will follow.

Many current UAlbany courses already achieve this, through internships, practicums, field projects and undergraduate research. Added to this outreach is the community service performed through student volunteerism, particularly through the Community and Public Service Program, and the opportunities to aid others throughout the world by way of our Study Abroad programs.

"It's a very exciting time for the University, particularly with new initiatives such as the Blackstone LaunchPad creating opportunities for students to further explore and take advantage of applied learning experiences," said Simon.

“We want students, faculty and staff to all know that we are a community engaged by engagement,” said Krzykowski. The committee has several different task forces, working on such areas as faculty development of applied learning in the classroom and the marketing of the applied learning concept and its value to students.

“As a business professor, I know we need to grow both the supply and demand in our applied learning initiative,” said Krzykowski. “We need to develop opportunities for our students and get students to eagerly seek them out.”

She points out that the initiative coordinates internally with the emphasis given it by new Provost James Stellar, who took part in nationally recognized engaged learning during his 22 years at Northeastern University. Externally, the Applied Learning efforts are driven by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, who has listed it among her top priorities for students. Her vision was given formal approval by both the Board of Trustees and the State Legislature.

The Applied Learning initiative also comes at a time when the University will collaborate interdepartmentally to enhance its communication efforts around these efforts. A system will be employed allowing the University to easily identify which opportunities students pursue and then allow them to create their own “brag sheet” to share with family, friends and prospective employers.       

“As the chancellor has pointed out, research shows that recognition of applied learning has the additional benefit of increasing retention and graduation rates,” said Krzykowski. “That’s why it’s important for every campus to have a strategy to maximize applied learning opportunities.”

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.