Denise DiRienzo, Director
145 Marano Campus Center • 312-2151
The Center for Experiential Learning offers students an opportunity to earn academic credit for experiential learning in a variety of businesses, non-profit organizations, and community agencies. Students earn college credit, gain valuable experience outside of the classroom, and link academic content and theory to the real world. Experiential learning opportunities are available throughout New York State, at selected sites throughout the U.S., and in international locations such as London. Opportunities within the Center for Experiential Learning give students the opportunity to: (1) learn the knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential to be effective in the workplace, (2) put theory into practice, (3) gain transferable skills, (4) explore various career opportunities, (5) network with experts in the field, (6) build a resume and portfolio of successful professional experience for future employment, (7) learn about the world of work first-hand, (8) grow professionally and personally, (9) explore a career pathway. Students also value our project-based and service-learning courses with an emphasis on active, community-engaged learning. These credit-bearing courses help students understand the value of civic engagement in our democracy while exploring the many roles they can assume in college and later in life.
Professional Skills Preparatory
Through this course students will examine, define and equip themselves with the critical skills and workplace competencies employers’ desire in successful candidates for employment. These professional skills assist students in obtaining valuable volunteer/community service/service learning, internships, co-ops and jobs, and give job candidates a competitive advantage in the workplace.
The Internship Program is an academic experience designed to provide undergraduate students with a wide variety of opportunities to assist them in clarifying career goals while enhancing their employment potential after graduation. The program is open to junior and senior students who meet standards established by the college. Students may earn college credit by demonstrating that significant learning has occurred through involvement in a supervised planned work experience. This is a three way partnership between the student, faculty sponsor and professional supervisor.
Undergraduate Cooperative Education is a work-integrated learning experience and a mutually beneficial partnership between a student, the institution, and an employer. At SUNY Oswego, Cooperative Education opportunities, co-ops, are full-time paid, work experiences that are transcripted but do not earn credit or have tuition liability. The co-op employer designation will appear on the student’s transcript. Employers offer college students opportunities for co-op positions for many majors and are available throughout the academic calendar year.
Students must successfully complete GST 101: Professional Skills Preparation or an approved co-op preparatory course offered through an academic department to be eligible for a co-op placement. Transfer students must additionally have completed one semester at SUNY Oswego before participating in a co-op. International students on an F-1 Visa must have written authorization from their international student advisor from the International Education Office prior to participation in a co-op. Individual departments may have additional requirements. Students should consult their major program advisor. Any exceptions to the co-op criteria will need to be approved by the Dean of the School of the student’s major.
Students will submit an offer letter from the employer, complete a learning agreement and other required co-op forms before starting their co-op. Students complete the learning agreement through the Center for Experiential Learning. The learning agreement, an agreement between the student, GST 498C instructor and employer, requires student and company information, a list of position responsibilities, and a list of learning objectives. The Center for Experiential Learning will process the registration for the student for their co-op, GST 498C, when all required forms have been submitted.
Registration for co-op includes one summer term only, one fall term only, one spring term only, or a combination for two terms, either summer and fall or spring and summer. While on co-op, students are considered full-time students and work full-time hours. Full-time work hours are determined by federal law, typically forty hours per week. A co-op minimum is twelve weeks and a maximum is twenty-six weeks. Students can participate in a maximum of two co-ops prior to graduation. Students who do not successfully complete the co-op experience through SUNY Oswego will not be able to participate in additional co-op opportunities.
Students may obtain permission to take one academic course per term while participating in a co-op if approved by their academic advisor and the course is deemed part of a student’s academic pursuit of a degree. Upon completion of the co-op students will submit an updated resume, a reflection assignment and will also be required to turn in time sheets and a student evaluation. Employers will also be required to submit an evaluation.
The Mentor-Scholar program provides at-risk middle and high school students from local school districts with trained and supported volunteer mentors to help students improve academically and socially. The Mentor-Scholar program strives to build mentees’ self-confidence and self-efficacy, and to give them the tools to be effective students. Another purpose is to provide an opportunity for SUNY Oswego undergraduates to help improve their community and to gain knowledge useful in their future careers and lives.
Via one-on-one relationships, mentors will provide both academic tutoring as well as the motivation necessary for each mentee to achieve their personal potential. While working on academic assignments, mentors will help mentees develop study skills and interpersonal skills necessary for later school success. Mentors will assist mentees in creating academic goals, and provide the necessary social support to see that they achieve them. Mentoring occurs at different times after school Monday through Thursday on site, in individual classrooms. In addition to bi-weekly sessions, mentors and mentees will participate in social activities to help mentees’ connect with and aspire to higher education.
Each mentor contributes over forty hours of one-on-one support to their student annually and mentors are encouraged to ‘loop’ with students for up to three years to assist with academic transitions (such as middle school and high school) and to ensure long-term success. Since the program’s inception, hundreds of mentors have contributed thousands of hours of one-on-one support to at-risk students in various school districts. When asked what she likes best about the program one student commented, “I am helped individually and I feel I can tell her anything.” In addition to improving educational outcomes for students, 90% of mentors who participated in the program reported that their awareness of the local community has been raised.
The Mentor-Scholar program provides SUNY Oswego students with an opportunity to work alongside teachers, school district staff and community members, learning and participating with them to make their community a better place. Among the benefits to SUNY Oswego students, mentors report that they have developed patience, flexibility, communication skills, and a greater awareness of differences as a result of participating in the program. Ultimately, this kind of immersion of college students has the potential to build bonds with the community that can affect their choice to work and live in the area after graduation perhaps stimulating the economy in ways so as to alleviate the economic issues that are at the root of educational inequity in Oswego.
SUNY Oswego undergraduates interested in joining the Mentor-Scholar program must complete an application and interview. Mentors must also enroll in GST 311, a year-long 2-credit service-learning course. Coursework includes an on-site building orientation to help mentors understand the cultural and demographic uniqueness of the population with which they are working. Mentors will also attend three small-group discussion classes during each semester. The classes provide an opportunity for mentors to read and engage in scholarly discussion about topics pertaining to mentoring, and enable them to receive support from peers as well as the Project Coordinator.
STEM Mentoring Program
The STEM Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for SUNY Oswego students to help improve their community by providing engaging STEM curriculum to middle school students while working alongside their peers from Cayuga Community College. The goal of the program is to expand underrepresented groups from local school districts with access to STEM curriculum as well as, introduce them to aspiring STEM practitioners. These connections allow for district students to view higher education and STEM fields in a tangible and beneficial manner.
Students are able to receive one upper division credit through participation in GST 313, a mandatory semester requirement for participation in the program. The service learning course asks students to reflect on their service experience through writing, discussion, and reading to gain further understanding of course content, broaden their mentoring skill set, and enhance their sense of civic responsibility.
Oswego Children’s Project
The Oswego Children’s Project is an elementary school based program that works with pre at-risk children in the Oswego City School District through the implementation of play techniques. It is a two semester internship for juniors and seniors. Students start the OCP Program in the fall semester and return for a second semester in the spring. Students earn general studies credit for their two semester commitment.
Service Learning is an opportunity for students to provide direct service on a sustained basis to those in need in the community while taking academic courses that ask them to reflect on their service. Students engage in service through an academic course. Supervision is done jointly by college faculty and site supervisors. Course credit is available through the Center for Experiential Learning.
Research and Individualized Student Experiences provides a broad range of opportunities for students in every discipline to broaden their experience, apply the skills learned in the classroom, and find their passion. The Council on Undergraduate Research defines “undergraduate research” as: “an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline”. Participation in scholarly and creative activities is appropriate at any stage of your academic career, whether you are a freshman or a senior, and offers many rewards. Right now is the best time to get involved. The advantages to getting involved early are that it will afford you the time to complete more complex projects and develop the skills necessary to tackle more advanced positions.
Research and Individualized Student Experiences enable you to go beyond the classroom setting and gain a deeper understanding of your field. Activities out of the classroom will enable you to grow personally and professionally giving you critical experience that will lead to your success in your career. Interaction with faculty and the excitement of first-hand experience is invaluable to your growth and will be recognized as you proceed to the next stage of your career. These experiences give you a chance to do something that no one has ever done before.