Learning in Action Fellows Program

Providing high quality experiential learning to University of Alabama students requires high quality professional development opportunities for the faculty and staff who lead our campus in this area.

Through a competitive application process, Learning in Action supports faculty and staff interested in designing and implementing best-practices experiential learning opportunities (ELOs) to support undergraduates’ problem solving skills. Selected participants design, implement and assess an ELO over the course of an academic year; meet with national experiential learning experts, participate in a professional learning community and the UA Learning in Action Summit; engage in other professional development opportunities; and contribute to the ongoing evaluation of effective teaching and learning practices at UA. For more information about best-practices based ELOs, visit the experiential learning best practices page.

Apply to Become a Learning in Action Fellow – Applications for Participation as a Spring 2018 Fellow Now Available

Meet the Fall 2016 Learning in Action Fellows

Jennifer Caputo

Jennifer Caputo

Associate Professor, College of Arts & Sciences

The ELO I would like to design and implement will include significant student engagement with a local arts organization, artist or venue in their city of residence. For example, a student living in the Huntsville, AL area may be interested in interviewing a staff member of a local arts organization, a manager of a local arts venue, or a local artist for his/her final project for this course. I would like to develop this experience and assignment beyond a single interview and brief background research. Ideally, I would like students to work with selected local arts organizations, artists, or venues on specific projects and assist with developing programs to reach broader audiences.

Lauren S. Cardon

Lauren S. Cardon

Assistant Professor, College of Arts & Sciences

Just as medical students learn by doing rotations or law students learn by participating in mock trials, students in an experiential learning course learn by doing. I use digital humanities and experiential learning as tools to ensure students have a public audience for their work and to help them visualize how their work can have relevance outside the classroom. As a Fellow, I will aim to develop a semester-long experiential learning opportunity for my writing seminars.

George L. Daniels

George L. Daniels

Assistant Dean, College of Comm. & Information Sciences

There are many problems that students at the University can help solve, if given the opportunity. We must see problem-solving as a responsibility that we hold as a state institution. I believe my experience as a service learning instructor can be put to greater use through actively participating in the Learning in Action Program. As one who is teaching a diversity-focused course, I see no better way to prepare students to be culturally competent professionals than by engaging them in solving problems that are reflected in the diverse environments located beyond the four walls of The University of Alabama.

Jonathon Clay Davis

Jonathon Clay Davis

Senior Associate Director, Enrollment Management

I teach the “Dark Side of Technology” course for the Honors College. I’ve been using a “service learning” model for the class…we go over theory in the face-to-face meetings, and then as the semester progresses, the students use the things they’ve learned in a service project within the community. I’d like to push this model and learn new ways and new techniques to make this experience better for the students and I’d also like to have a more scientific/researched-based way of determining how beneficial this ELO can be.

Pamela Derrick

Pamela Derrick

Director, Experiential Learning Services, Arts & Sciences

The goal of this course is to introduce students to experiential learning through interaction with various campus resources that will prepare them for internships, undergraduate research, education abroad and service learning. This ELO will focus on a problem-solving project that addresses an issue faced by a local service agency such as the Tuscaloosa Food Bank or The Boys and Girls Club. Through collaboration with Kristi Wheeler-Griffin and the Career Center, we will translate how students can apply knowledge from this project to their own career readiness.

Isabelle Drewelow

Isabelle Drewelow

Assistant Professor, College of Arts & Sciences

My ELO will allow me to develop experiential learning opportunities for students enrolled in a newly created French course: Globalization, Business and Marketing (FR424). I am particularly looking forward to receiving guidance in contextualizing and designing assignments and assessments for a global simulation experience. Students will conceive and develop marketing and advertising tools in French that will culminate with the development of a website in French which localizes an American product.

Maureen Flint

Maureen Flint

Assistant Director, Ferguson Student Center

This project will allow us to more closely examine the differential nature of supervision on students’ learning experiences. In many ways this project is equivalent to studying 26 separate course sections that deliver the same course content. We believe that this presents a unique opportunity for comparative study of the factors that can best support students’ reflective learning in a co-curricular experience that contributes to career readiness.

Frannie James

Frannie James

Instructor, Capstone International Center

In this ELO, the academic content is focused on issues of culture & intercultural experience. This academic content is framed by regular participation in specific English Language Institute (ELI) courses; CIP 202 students attend two ELI courses - each over a period of six weeks; one course meets during the first half of the semester; the other meets during the second half of the semester. Students will improve their ability to interact (socially, academically, and professionally) with people from cultures different from their own. They will thus grow their intercultural competence.

Elle Shabaan-Magana

Elle Shabaan-Magana

Director, Women and Gender Resource Center

The project seeks to build a community with a foundation of shared respect and interests, and both individual and social responsibility models. This program draws its name from the delta symbol, which signifies change in the science disciplines. This program represents engagement with learning and innovation, and a commitment to foster self-empowerment in the students, who develop the skills to serve as positive social change agents in their communities.

Lane McLelland

Lane McLelland

Director, Crossroads Community Center

To be dynamic global citizens, students need skills to resolve conflicts across lines of difference. The ELO I will develop focuses on the use of Sustained Dialogue, a five-stage dialogue-to-action model that requires participants to focus on transforming change-blocking relationships in order to address issues of diversity and social identity more effectively. Students will learn skills for moderating dialogues that have the potential to increase problem- solving capacity in the multiple contexts they may encounter in their careers and community- related roles.

Jackie Northrup

Jackie Northrup

Assistant Director, Women & Gender Resource Center

The project seeks to build a community with a foundation of shared respect and interests, and both individual and social responsibility models. This program draws its name from the delta symbol, which signifies change in the science disciplines. This program represents engagement with learning and innovation, and a commitment to foster self-empowerment in the students, who develop the skills to serve as positive social change agents in their communities.

Charlotte Petonic

Charlotte Petonic

Assistant Director, Student Health Center & Wellness

75% of my role on campus requires me to mentor and support the efforts of our peer health educators. Our peer health educators are a part of Project Health & GAMMA and are comprised of 160 students who volunteer between 5-15 hours a week throughout the semester in a highly structured internship. Through Learning in Action, I look forward to the institutional support and guidance to verify that we are giving our students the most beneficial experiential learning opportunity.

K. Andrew R. Richards

K. Andrew R. Richards

Assistant Professor, College of Education

The ELO will involve preservice physical education teachers, and take place during an afterschool time program for 1st through 5th graders offered at Holt Elementary School. While the program itself will include several components, the specific component that will be used for the ELO will involve provision of a physical activity program focused on the teaching personal and social responsibility (TPSR) pedagogical model (Hellison, 2011). This model seeks to use physical activity as a vehicle to enhance students’ social and emotional learning.

Kristi Wheeler-Griffin

Kristi Wheeler-Griffin

Director, Career Center, Student Affairs

The goal of this course is to introduce students to experiential learning through interaction with various campus resources that will prepare them for internships, undergraduate research, education abroad and service learning. This ELO will focus on a problem-solving project that addresses an issue faced by a local service agency such as the Tuscaloosa Food Bank or The Boys and Girls Club. Through collaboration with Kristi Wheeler-Griffin and the Career Center, we will translate how students can apply knowledge from this project to their own career readiness.

Spring 2017 Fellows

  • Melisa Fowler, Clinical Associate Professor, Elementary Education – College of Education

  • Alvin Niuh, Assistant Professor, Human Nutrition and Hospitality Management – College of Human Environmental Sciences

  • Brian Taylor, Instructor, Clothing, Textiles, & Interior Design – College of Human Environmental Sciences

  • Karen Spector, Associate Professor, Secondary Education Language Arts – College of Education

Information about Spring 2017 fellows’ courses coming soon!

Members of the Learning in Action Assessment Team are:

  • Sarah M. Barry, Associate Professor (College of Arts & Sciences)
  • Angela Collins-Yoder, Clinical Professor (Capstone College of Nursing)
  • Ana Corbalan, Associate Professor (College of Arts & Sciences)
  • Mary Louanne Friend, Assistant Professor (Capstone College of Nursing)
  • Karl Hamner, Assistant Dean for Research and Director, Office of Evaluation (School of Social Work and College of Education)
  • Courtney Thomas, Director, Center for Service and Leadership (Student Affairs)