Experiential Education Program
The Experiential Education Program is designed to assist in connecting students and employers in developing career-related learning opportunities in an internship, cooperative education (co-op), volunteer, service-learning, or externship experiences. The classifications sometimes vary depending upon the academic discipline. All positions are carefully supervised, professional-level, and structured in which the student sets intentional learning goals and actively reflects on what has been learned.
There are many benefits to providing experiential education opportunities to University of Kentucky students. Whether you are looking to increase profitability and productivity, complete a project, or alleviate personnel shortages, hiring a student may be one of the most cost-effective decisions you will make – but there are more reasons to add students in a professional role to your team. Students are enthusiastic, present fresh ideas, contribute to the success of your organization, and provide a pool of potential employees with experience and training.
At the University of Kentucky, there are two forms of experience opportunities offered to students:
Academic Experiences: An academic experience indicates that a student will be seeking academic credit for a career-related experience. This process includes creating a Learning Contract, obtaining department approval, obtaining a UK Sponsor, submitting completed field hours, and receiving an employer evaluation. An academic experience may be either paid or unpaid. Academic experiences are typically done on a general elective, Pass/Fail basis with the number of acceptable credit hours determined by the student’s college or department.
Non-Credit Experiences: A non-credit experience implies that a student will be working for the benefit of experience gained, but not for any type of academic recognition. In this case, the employer should consider the intern as they would any other temporary employee. This option may be preferable to a student who does not need additional credit hours. Non-credit experiences are often paid in order to comply with U.S. Department of Labor laws. Exceptions made are those experience positions affiliated with non-profit organizations.
How Will Your Experiential Education Program Help Students?
By participating in this mutually-beneficial program, you become part of the educational process, sharing your valuable expertise, and teaching students about your profession. Offering experiential learning opportunities helps students:
- Obtain professional experience in their areas of academic study
- Create opportunities to work with professionals
- Learn about their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, values, etc.
- Develop marketable skills such as professionalism, leadership and problem-solving
- Build confidence
- Define career paths
- Make valuable contacts
How Can You Participate?
- Develop a job description. Information needed for a strong position description would include duties & responsibilities, qualifications, compensation, provides training, duration of position, learning outcomes, if the position is virtual or in-person, and how the student will be supervised.
- Determine pay for positions. At least 75% of the student’s duties should be professional-level, non-clerical tasks. The average hourly rate ranges from $10.00 to $16.00 per hour, depending on the nature of the position and specific to the industry (i.e. engineering and accounting co-op or experience positions often pay more than the highest end of this range.)
- Post your position in Handshake
- Receive approval of your posting
- Interview students and make offers directly to those selected
- Provide a quality learning experience for the student with consistent guidance and supervision
Designing a new program? Check out the attachment below for the guidelines and inspiration in making your dynamic experience for a UK student!