Real-World Learning

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Experiential learning opportunities, often referred to as field work or internships, simply means learning from experience or learning by doing. There has been a long tradition in the training of human services professionals to include experiential learning opportunities in order to build practioners skills and to help facilitate student transition from theory to practice. What makes the Human Services and Community Justice Major (HSCJ) especially distinctive, popular, and valuable is that it provides and requires that you participate in several experiential education experiences throughout your studies within this major.

As part of your degree requirements, you may be placed within a variety of social service/community agencies where you will gain first- hand experience assisting individuals, families, and communities that are most disadvantaged and in need. You may be advocating for children victims of crime/abuse, assisting the elderly, working with people with disabilities or with mental illnesses, veterans, immigrants, homeless, or perhaps working in a community based program assisting people with legal issues or in need of help navigating the criminal justice system. 

The benefits of experiential learning are many. Obtaining work experience helps build and sharpen your professional helping skills which is vital for preparing you for employment and/or advanced education upon graduation. It helps you to reality test this field of study to determine if the helping profession is suitable to your interests and abilities.  Participating in an internship allows you to network and establish relationships with working professionals in the field. Fostering these connections may be useful in obtaining career advice, not to mention, useful in providing letters of reference for future jobs or graduate education. It is not uncommon that many students who participate in an internship become recruited to work in their agencies upon graduation.  Finally, participating in internships, especially in the human services field where you can truly make a difference in the lives of others, helps you to become a more compassionate and engaged citizen. Working to improve the lives of others enhances confidence and is a tremendous source of personal and professional pride and satisfaction.

Below is a list of the experiential learning courses in the HSCJ major:

AFR 377       Field Education in Community Organizing and Community Practice I

AFR 378        Field Education in Community Organizing and Community Practice II 

CSL  311         Field Education in College Community Outreach

CHS 381          Field Education in Human Services I 

CHS 382          Field Education in Human Services II  

UGR 390         Practicum in Youth Justice (Pinkerton Fellowship) *