Dartmouth Convenes a Summit on Experiential Learning

Dartmouth News

September 19, 2018

At Mt. Moosilauke, educators share ways to expand experiential opportunities.

Educators gathered at the Ravine Lodge
At the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, instructional designer Michael Goudzwaard leads DELTA Summit participants in a session on experiential learning. (Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

This summer, a group of experiential educators from around the country gathered at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge for the Dartmouth Experiential Learning and Teaching Adventure Summit (DELTA). 

The event was organized by Ashley Kehoe Blackburn, the associate director for experiential learning at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning (DCAL). Blackburn leads the College’s Experiential Learning Initiative, a five-year pilot program launched in fall 2015 to help coordinate and expand opportunities for experiential learning at Dartmouth. 

To date, the initiative has funded 42 pilot projects and formally engaged 100 faculty, 70 staff, and hundreds of students from 20 departments in the arts and sciences, seven co-curricular centers, and the Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Geisel School of Medicine.

The DELTA Summit represented a midpoint in the initiative’s progress, and an opportunity to showcase Dartmouth’s commitment to experiential education, Blackburn said. “We’ve learned a lot, we’ve connected with lots of different organizations and institutions doing this work, so why not pull folks together to talk about best practices and promising models of experiential learning?”

Participation in the summit was capped at 60, and spots filled up right away, with organizers receiving more than twice as many applications as they could accept, from throughout the U.S. as well as the U.K. and Canada. “There’s a need for this,” said Blackburn, who says that half of the spots were reserved for Dartmouth faculty and staff. The event was facilitated by Dartmouth staff, and participants included faculty and staff from higher education—including several from Dartmouth—as well as K-12 teachers. 

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