Ropes Course and Leadership
Jennifer Eury embedded a ropes course into a business course, MGMT 355: Leadership & Change in Organizations. The ropes course helped students achieve two of the course objectives: (1) to identify your leadership strengths and be alert to how you are influenced by and how you exert influence on the people around you, and (2) to demonstrate your ability to practically apply your leadership skills. Additional objectives were identified for the ropes course itself. During the activity, students were able to demonstrate their ability (1) to listen, plan, and solve problems, (2) to communicate with meaning, and (3) to apply their leadership strengths in challenging situation(s). Through reflection, students were able to do the following after the ropes course: (1) compare and contrast examples of effective and ineffective problem-solving, (2) differentiate between examples of strong and weak communication, (3) critique their leadership strengths, (4) recognize how they were influenced by and how they exerted influence on the people around them, and (5) create a personal leadership philosophy. Observation and reflection papers provided evidence that the students achieved the course objectives and the objectives for the activity.
Regional Engagement Expositions
Tim Kerchinski organized a series of Regional Engagement Expos to highlight engagement opportunities for students at selected regional Penn State campuses with an aim to draw a clear connection to the Invent Penn State innovation and economic development initiatives that are on-going at those campuses. One of the benefits of such a collaboration is the opportunity to share the large partnership network from the Invent Penn State initiative with those seeking engagement opportunities for their students. This type of “Expo” encourages a focus for regional faculty to participate with regional organizations/companies to expand student engagement opportunities throughout their coursework. It also opens a pathway for local entrepreneurs who operate small companies to engage with students that are looking for professional work opportunities in the region.
Best Practices in International Experiences: Away and Hosting
This project involved building a partnership with the Centre for Medicine in Society and the Master’s in Urban Global Health at the University of Freiburg. One finding related to this partnership was confirmation of how fruitful and timely such an alliance can be. Issues that are in public discourse in the USA – health care systems, immigration, refugee resettlement and other areas are handled differently in Germany. Students from the USA would be well served to deepen their understanding of how another HIC responds to these issues.
Reciprocity in student exchange programs that consistently engage with identified partners is extraordinarily important, especially so when partnerships are between HIC and LMIC countries. Reciprocity matters: it matters to the Deans, faculty members and various mentors who host our Penn State students year after year and contribute immeasurably to our students’ education. It matters most perhaps to the host country students whose lives and experience is transformed by participating in a STEGH (see quotes at the end of this segment). Our institutional gesture to invite and support even a small number of students to participate in a three week STEGH was met with gratitude, appreciation as well as commentary regarding how rare this gesture is.
Journaling Assignments in the Engagement Experience
In 2016, Sankey and her colleagues assessed a program-level outcome and discovered that students were largely unable to produce thoughtful reflections that reflected higher-level learning. This workbook has been written in response to the lessons learned from these program assessment exercises – that experiential learning, coupled with guided reflection, can deliver excellent results. Carefully crafted journal prompts, designed with inquiry-based learning in mind, can make all the difference in helping students invest in and produce reflective and analytical work.