WINGATE — More Wingate students will get an opportunity to test their skills and put their new knowledge into action, thanks to the University’s new role in the Work-Based Learning Consortium. The Council of Independent Colleges, which includes more than 700 members across the world, tapped Wingate and two dozen other institutions to be part of the inaugural WBL cohort. As such, the University will receive grants, training and free access to Riipen’s work-based learning platform, an equivalent value of at least $65,000 over the duration of the project.
“This is an exciting opportunity for students to gain valuable hands-on experience through internships embedded in their courses,” says Titi Ufomata, CIC senior vice president for academic programs. “That these internships are available to all students regardless of where they are located levels the playing field. We are grateful to our funders for making this possible.”
To put the grant into action, five Wingate faculty members will use the Riipen platform to add a work-based learning component to one course each by the spring 2024 semester. The platform is designed to help match students with employer projects.
The five courses that will initially be expanded by the grant are Communication 498: Senior Seminar, taught by Dr. Daina Nathaniel; Criminal Justice 495: Internship in Criminal Justice, taught by Dr. Mitch Mackinem; Exercise Science 477: Pre-Internship Seminar, taught by Dr. Traci Napolitano; Human Services 411: Practicum, taught by Dr. Christi Sporl; and Political Science 303: Public Opinion, a new course taught by Dr. Chelsea Kaufman.
In addition to these faculty members, working with the WBL Consortium will be Dr. Heather Miller, senior vice president and chief of staff; and Dr. Jeff Frederick, University provost. Throughout the three-year program, the CIC will collect data, with help from Wingate’s Office of Institutional Research, to measure the initiative’s impact on students, faculty members and employers.
“Access to the Riipen experiential learning platform will strengthen institutional efforts and complement the work of faculty champions as they revise courses and design student projects and experiences that link work-based learning to academics,” Frederick says.
According to the CIC, the WBL Consortium is designed to break down barriers to internships and job-market-preparation opportunities, particularly for students from underrepresented groups. Integrating real-world, employer-designed projects into existing courses will equip students with skills, practical experience and professional connections to support their future careers. All told, the program is expected to reach more than 11,000 students at CIC member institutions.
In addition to Wingate, participating institutions are Albion College, Allegheny College, Alma College, Brenau University, Centenary College of Louisiana, Coe College, Concordia College, Drew University, Elms College, Franklin University, Holy Cross College, Keuka College, Lane College, Lindenwood University, Mercy College, Morningside University, Nazareth University, Ohio Northern University, Point University, Roanoke College, St. Ambrose University, The College of Wooster, Viterbo University and Waynesburg University.
This CIC Work-Based Learning Consortium is made possible thanks to funding from Ascendium Education Group and Strada Education Foundation.