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EL Opportunities at UD

EL Opportunities at UD

Experiential learning (EL) takes many forms at the University of Dayton (UD). In all of our EL programs and activities, students have the opportunity to engage in self-guided learning and exploration with the guidance of supportive mentors who encourage students to reflect on what they have learned and how they will apply their experiential knowledge for the common good. The various forms of EL described below reflect our Marianist education for the whole person - mind, hands, and heart. Students can put theory into practice and develop valuable leadership skills, deepen their diversity and intercultural awareness, engage in vocational discernment, reflect on their faith and morals, and gain practical wisdom along their unique EL journey. At UD, EL is more than just a resume builder - it is about engaging in a process of discovery and realization, to explore one’s own gifts, talents, and skills and find meaningful ways to employ them in the world.

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While this list is not fully comprehensive of all the EL opportunities UD has to offer, we encourage you to check out the experiences below. Note that some of these opportunities can span multiple categories. With that being said, the opportunities are endless!


Students abroad in EcuadorAt UD, students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to connect with the global community through EL abroad. This is accomplished through formal partnerships with international organizations and universities abroad that offer a variety of options for academic and professional development. Whether for a summer, semester or year, students may study, intern or volunteer in places such as Ireland, China, Spain, Nicaragua, Cameroon and more. UD encourages students to explore educational opportunities in communities around the world. These programs enhance student learning away from traditional learning environments and cultivate cross-cultural and interpersonal skills.

Community Engagement

River sterwardsUD provides students many opportunities to collaborate with our local Dayton community to address critical social issues, develop as servant leaders and justice-oriented citizens, and transform their classroom learning into impactful actions. EL through community engagement involves collaboration, partnership, shared knowledge and resources, and critical reflection. Through various community engagement activities and programs, students receive mentorship and support from a faculty/staff facilitator, a community partner, and/or their peers. Students also reflect on their community-engaged experience in a variety of ways such as: dialogue, discussion, small groups, individual e-portfolios, presentations, etc. Students also have the opportunity to meaningfully engage and collaborate with diverse communities abroad through various service-learning experiences involving technical immersions, student activities, research, and hands-on projects. This contribution beyond UD’s campus advances student's understanding of community.

Cooperative Education

Group Picture from Hack-For-Impact EventCooperative education integrates classroom theory with practical work experience. Participating students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of full-time paid work experience a specific industry, business, or government. Students can stay with the same employer throughout their program for consistency and networking. Approximately 80 percent of cooperative education employers are located in the Dayton and the Southwest Ohio regions. The cooperative education program provides a relatable and diverse learning experience for students.

Faith and Vocation

Picture of students walking during their service trip Tijuana.Each person's vocation is rooted in a sense of being called and how they respond to that call in a way that puts their gifts and talents to use for the common good. Vocational exploration is a life-long journey where each individual is invited to ask who they are, who they are called to be, and what they are called to do. UD offers resources for students to navigate their journey as college student to explore these questions, engage in vocational exploration, and act for justice. This mission is carried out by numerous opportunities for reflective service, service-learning, and education and advocacy for justice. Through prayer, discernment and interaction with others, students can come to a clearer vision of their journey and destination.

Internships and Externships

Students during Summer Research Symposium 2017An internship can be a part-time, full-time, paid, or non-paid position during their college experience that may be related to a student's major, career exploration, or career goals. Internships help students make well-informed career decisions, develop marketable skills and experience, enhance their commitment to academic excellence, and connect theory with practice. Internships are a key to connected learning which helps distinguish UD graduates.

An externship is a semester-long legal apprenticeship for students to develop practical, professional skills and obtain significant experience in a legal setting, such as a governmental agency, law firm, corporation, court or legal aid. An externship provides students with the opportunity to practice their craft, to observe highly respected attorneys and judges at work, and to network with the legal community.


Leadership and Professional Development

Photo of studentUD offers intentional, inclusive leadership opportunities that foster self-awareness and promote personal development. Students are empowered to be socially-just servant leaders through the acceptance and practice of responsibility, thoughtful decision making, reflection, and the exploration of the faith and spirituality of self and others. UD students are challenged to celebrate diverse perspectives and recognize their impact in the world. Students can also develop their leadership abilities through participation in UD’s 250+ student organizations. Students also have the opportunity to engage in professional development such as networking events and showcasing their skills through conference and workshop presentations at various symposia both on and off campus. This type of EL benefits students by furthering their leadership and professional capacities.


img_2026.jpgPracticum experiences are designed to provide students with opportunities to practice skills that are required in professional practice while receiving direct supervision. General characteristics of practicums include shadowing employees who will guide the on-site experience, observing and correlating practices in the field with theories and methods previously studied, and assisting with tasks as directed by on-site personnel. For example, in the School of Education and Health Sciences, the primary purpose of the educational field practicum is to enable students to develop competence in practical skills within the framework of teacher education values and ethics. Ultimately, these field experiences allow students to observe and document how working professionals perform their job responsibilities.

Project Based Learning

Student DrawingStudents can further develop their knowledge and skills during project-based learning which incorporates real-world scenarios, challenges, and problems. The goals of using complex questions or problems is to develop and enhance student learning by encouraging critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and self-management. Project-based learning drives students to make their own decisions, perform their own research, and review their own and fellow student processes/projects. This practical experience engages students by mentoring, creating, developing, and learning from students and/or community partners.  In conclusion, students have the opportunity to publicly display and articulate their work to their peers, faculty/staff, and employers.

Research and Labs

student in science labUD students have the opportunity to participate in various forms of undergraduate and graduate research. With the support and guidance of mentors, students can conduct lab-based research and fieldwork in the natural sciences and social sciences. Students can also get involved in community-engaged scholarship opportunities in conjunction with community partners and organizations in the Dayton area. Students also have the opportunity to reflect and apply what they have learned in a variety of educational forums including research conferences and symposia both on and off campus. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research is encouraged in various ways. At UD, we believe that significant and new discovery lies at the intersections of different disciplines. We are driving interdisciplinary collaborations across the sciences, engineering, business, education and law. Multidisciplinary collaborations across our university bring together faculty and researchers with similar interests regardless of their academic department or research group. These collaborations continue to develop and grow in both results and recognition within UD. 

Student Employment

student at career fairEach year, more than 3,000 employment opportunities are available for students through Student Employment varying from entry-level to advanced and supervisory-level positions. All experiences are designed to be developmental and provide all UD students with experiences to build upon for future learning and employment opportunities. Federal Work Study (FWS) eligible students can work on campus or off-campus with local organizations to improve the quality of life for members of the Dayton community. All students hired for student employment opportunities are assigned a staff supervisor. While supervisors vary in style, all are asked to provide direction and supervision to student employees. All departments are encouraged to provide student employees with opportunities and prompts for reflection. Working on campus is an outstanding experience and can provide hands-on learning to complement classroom lessons and prepare students for future opportunities.



The Office of Experiential Learning

Roesch Library
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469