Mission Possible: Bridging the Academic/Co-Curricular Divide through the Co-Curricular Résumé

with Deborah R. Barnett, Heather Brake

About This Course

Student learning is at the core of higher education, but how do student affairs professionals demonstrate the value added by their work and how can students demonstrate out-of-classroom learning to future employers or graduate schools?  This session examines how to intentionally link co-curricular programs to common general education outcomes and how providing evidence of this learning through an outcomes-based, co-curricular student résumé results in institutional, programmatic, and student benefits.

Student learning occurs both in and out of the classroom, but a disconnect often exists between academics and student affairs professionals when it comes to the common purpose of student learning.  For students, particularly post- traditional populations with competing obligations, creating clear connections between co-curricular engagement and demonstrated learning to enhance future opportunities can be vital to their participation.  Institutions are exploring options to validate and document co-curricular learning through a comprehensive student record, predicted by NASPA President, Kevin Kruger, as one of the top ten challenges and opportunities in 2016.

Each year, campus calendars overflow with programs and student activities, but how do we successfully demonstrate the learning that occurs outside the classroom? Generating meaningful learning experiences for our students must remain a priority as student affairs professionals.  To remain focused on the common purpose of student learning, Southern Illinois University Carbondale launched a co-curricular résumé project focused on (1) making advancements in how the institution, faculty, and staff recognize co-curricular learning, and (2) demonstrating how to convey evidence of that learning in meaningful ways that provide institutional data and student documentation to inform future goals.  An analysis of CAS standards, NASPA/ACPA's Learning Reconsidered, AAC&U’s LEAP Essential Learning Outcomes, and NACE employer expectations provided the categorical framework to align student learning to co-curricular programs and activities.

Participants will leave this session with the tools to:

  • articulate how co-curricular opportunities on their campus connect to the institutional mission of student learning.
  • intentionally link co-curricular learning opportunities to general education outcomes in the early stages of program planning.
  • utilize a co-curricular student record model to demonstrate student learning for multiple stakeholder groups (institutional, faculty, student affairs division, and individual students).

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