Social sciences students support experiential education


Social sciences students have accepted a proposal to institute
Experiential Education (EE) within the Faculty of Social Sciences. All
full-time students in the Faculty were eligible to vote during the
two-day referendum held on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 20 and 21.

While the EE initiative didn't elicit overwhelming enthusiasm from
social sciences students, Edward Baker, vice-president academic for the
McMaster Social Sciences Society (MSSS), notes that the required numbers did turn out.

“According to the MSSS constitution, a referendum needs a three per cent turnout (of the Faculty's student body) in order to pass. We got better than that.” (An official announcement of the results cannot be made for one week following the vote.)

Experiential education promotes activities which foster learning by
doing, providing hands-on experiences that demonstrate how knowledge
gained in the classroom translates into real-world situations. The
referendum asked whether or not students favoured supporting the
proposed initiative through a $35 fee increase. The Faculty will match
the fees dollar for dollar.

Dean Alan Harrison notes that the fee increase, which will be applied in September 2000, will raise $120,000 which, when matched, will provide an annual budget of $250,000.

The money will be used to develop in-class activities and to arrange for the volunteer service and employment segments of the initiative. “Many social sciences students don't think about their careers until after graduating. This initiative gives them an opportunity to explore possibilities (while at university).”

Baker agrees.”Many students are not sure what they want to do when they
graduate. The program will help them see how the skills they develop at
university will apply in their careers. It will enrich the educational

The initiative was developed by representatives from the Faculty, the
MSSS and the Bachelor of Kinesiology Society. It incorporates four
activities: classroom and research-based learning, a service component in which students would further develop their knowledge and skills in
not-for-profit organizations, and a long-term employment segment.

Harrison stresses that the EE proposal is much more than a focus on
career choices. “It will be an integrated concept, incorporating all
four components.”