Engagement Initiative and Leadership Programs

The Engagement Initiative at the University of Arizona is centered around the concept that experiences beyond the classroom provide students with enriching personal and professional growth. An essential element of the UA's Never Settle strategic plan, the Engagement Initiative calls for all University of Arizona students to engage in integrating and applying their knowledge through real-world experiential learning.

Specifically, Engagement Initiative is the University of Arizona's commitment that all undergraduate students will have the opportunity to apply their learning to real challenges through an upper division course or significant non-credit applied learning experience such as an internship, undergraduate research experience, preceptorship, senior capstone, study abroad, field work, performance, student leadership or service learning. Through these experiences, students develop professional and personal skills and reflect upon their learning in ways that ensure they graduate ready to launch meaningful careers. When students complete an engagement experience, they will earn an Engaged Learning Experience notation on their academic transcript.

In support of the Engagement Initiative, Leadership Programs restructured its curriculum and programs to ensure students earn an Engaged Learning Experience notation on their transcript. This restructuring of Leadership Programs has resulted in many new and exciting changes that are designed to benefit students. As of the 2015 fall semester, Leadership Programs will be supporting the Engagement Initiative by incorporating the following attributes:

Reflection and Application
Reflection and application is at the core of the 100% Engagement Initiative. With this in mind, Leadership Programs has intentionally designed reflective components into all facets of our programs. For example, students completing an internship hosted by Leadership Programs will be asked to complete an in-depth reflection that asks them to consider how they have been developing core personal and professional competencies and how they anticipate applying their learning in their post graduate experiences.

Non-Credit Experiences
The  Engagement Initiative will allow students to connect with both for-credit and non-credit applied-learning opportunities. Students in the Blue Chip Leadership Experience will gain a for-credit experience through their EDL 393 internships in Year 3. In Year 4, Blue Chip students will participate in a non-credit experience by completing a 45 hours Meridian Project, which is a long-term, high stakes, community engagement project.  At the end of Year 4, students complete a Capstone presentation and paper where they reflect on their entire Blue Chip and collegiate experience. Participating in all 4 years of the Blue Chip Leadership Experience will ensure that students earn multiple engagement experiences.

Foundational Engagement
Leadership Programs realized that the Engagement Initiative is targeted at students in their later years in college. In order to best prepare our students to consider how they will engage while at the U of A, Leadership Programs created a foundational engagement experience with Blue Chip Leadership: The First Year Experience. The First Year Experience will prepare students for their next steps by having them learn essential leadership competencies such as team work, professional development, personal leadership values, and effective communication. The First Year Experience can serve up to 700 students while providing community, a support system, leadership education, and an introduction into campus and community engagement.

Overall, Leadership Program offers hands-on, experiential learning activities to help students grow as individuals and professionals. By participating in engaged learning, Leadership Programs students will be Real-World Ready, and they will be effectively prepared to lead in their careers and educational endeavors post-graduation.

For more information about the University of Arizona’s Engagement Initiative go to http://ose.arizona.edu/100-engagement.