EDGE Program Overview
SUU’s Experiential Education requirement is based on established experiential education pedagogy and best practices. The requirement is completed via the EDGE Program. The design and execution of the program affords students hands-on opportunities to gain practical experience while achieving a deep and rich understanding of the process of researching, planning, proposing, completing, and reflecting on a rigorous academic experience. These are skills transferable to any professional life.
The program is designed to adopt the recommended experiential learning standards proposed by the National Society for Experiential Education, including:
Experiential learning experience must be intentional on the part of the learner and the facilitator.
Students must plan and prepare their experiences to reach a higher level.
Experiences must be authentic, meaning a real world context.
Time must be taken to reflect which transforms simple experience into a learning experience.
Students and facilitators must be prepared for the experience and must have the training and skills to be successful in the experience’s context.
Feedback is necessary for the student and their facilitator to ensure the experience provides a rich learning opportunity.
Outcomes and processes should be systematically documented with regard to initial intentions and quality outcomes.
There should be culminating documentation and celebration of the learning to help provide closure and sustainability to the experience.
Experiential Education and Transfer Students
All students must complete the EDGE Experiential Education requirements to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. Any transfer of credits from other schools to fulfill EDGE requirements must be approved by the Dean of the School of Integrative and Engaged Learning .
Experiential Education Learning Theory
While the student’s experiential learning project can be the highlight of the EDGE Program, the learning goals of EDGE are not focused solely on this. Each step in the process is specifically designed to promote experiential learning. This high-caliber learning can be simply illustrated by adapting the concepts of education theorists Peter Honey and Alan Mumford, who in turn adapted David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory. This theory states that the stages of learning by experiencing are a cycle of:
- Using experience and knowledge to identify and plan a new experience (Plan)
- Having an experience (Act)
- Reviewing and analyzing perceptions about the experience (Observe)
- Concluding from the experience (Reflect)
- Restarting the cycle by using experience and knowledge to again identify and plan an experience (Plan)
The experiential education EDGE Program is a student-centered process that is student-designed, authentic, and potentially transformative. Experiential learning enhances personal, academic, and professional growth by promoting opportunities for engaged and active learning.
Program Learning Outcomes
The Experiential Education requirement provides academic fidelity to the Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) “Essential Learning Outcomes” as articulated by the Association of American Colleges & Universities and Southern Utah University . Many students completing the Experiential Education requirement will engage with human cultures and/or the physical and natural world. All students should demonstrate:
- Digital Literacy
- Information Literacy
- Foundations for Lifelong Learning
- Problem Solving
- Integrative Learning
EDGE Engagement Centers and Tracks
Southern Utah University’s mission describes a “dynamic teaching and learning community that engages students in experiential education leading to personal growth, civic responsibility, and professional excellence.” The EDGE Program’s academic mission is to provide students with a unique experiential learning opportunity designed to broaden social and cultural perspectives through community, creative, global, leadership, and outdoor engagement opportunities. EDGE Projects often begin in the classroom or as a result of personal interest, but students may also utilize learning methods and programs such as undergraduate research, service learning, internships, honors, or other individualized learning processes. Students have many options in choosing or designing a project to complete this graduation requirement.
Community Engagement Center
The Community Engagement Center promotes learning through meaningful service and active engagement with local, regional, national, and global communities. The Center upholds the University’s core values of academic and professional excellence, civic responsibility, and personal growth. If helping people and making a difference is a student’s passion, they will fit right in at the Community Engagement Center.
Creativity and Innovation Track
The Creativity and Innovation Engagement Track promotes the idea that creativity is a crucial feature of any education that promises to prepare students for a future that defies prediction. The track exists to support students in developing their aptitude for creativity and divergent thinking. It promotes the idea that creative thinking is critical in the lives of educated people and welcomes students who want to learn creativity and enrich their lives and the lives of others through innovative thinking. Projects focused on the entrepreneurship, the arts, design, performance, teaching, engineering, programming, education, and the like are good options for this track.
Global Engagement Center
The Global Engagement Center fosters cultural understanding and personal enrichment for students to pursue intellectually stimulating programs in a variety of locations worldwide. The Center helps students gain practical and informed awareness of their global citizenship. Students interested in global engagement can study abroad with year-long, semester-long, or short and intensive programs.
Leadership Engagement Track
The Leadership Engagement Track helps foster leadership behaviors that enable students to learn and practice critical thinking, clear communication, empathy for others, and personal integrity. It helps students become conscientious and accountable leaders within their chosen organization or community. The Leadership Engagement Track encourages leaders who act for the well-being of others and welcomes students interested in any type of leadership experience.
Outdoor Engagement Center
The Outdoor Engagement Track invites students to create meaningful learning experiences to build a sense of place, gain outdoor competency skills, practice stewardship, gain knowledge about the natural and cultural world, and/or develop academic/professional field skills. We want students to become lifelong learners through outdoor and stewardship pursuits. Students in this track gain practical experience and skills while connecting to people, places, and activities. The Outdoor Engagement Center works closely with multiple park, recreation, tourism, and wilderness organizations to facilitate high impact learning opportunities. Many join this track to pursue their passions.
EDGE Program Requirements (3 Credits)
The EDGE Program contributes to a high-caliber education by allowing students a formal opportunity to create and reflect on their own hands-on learning experience. It is required for completion of a bachelor’s degree.
Complete the following overview course (required of all students):
Complete one of the following course sequences, based on the EDGE project area of focus:
Prior to registration for any of these courses, all students must complete and have the online EDGE Project Declaration approved by one of the EDGE Program faculty or staff. This declaration is available through the mySUU portal. Note: Students declare an Experiential Engagement Track and enroll in courses that correspond to the following Engagement Centers: Global, Community, Leadership, Outdoor, and Creativity and Innovation. More detailed program instruction and guidance comes from the course EDGE 1010 - Becoming an Engaged Learner .