A Case Study for Experiential Teaching and Learning


  • Sevinj Iskandarova Bridgewater College
  • Karen Ford James Madison University




experiential learning, externships, teaching, higher education


This study investigates experiential learning’s role and efficacy at a doctoral-level leadership studies program concentrating on a compulsory externship. Key to this work is the collegiate climate and collaboration of the graduate students and many participating organizations. This study employs hybrid community-based participatory research (incorporating graduate student, organizational stakeholder, and instructor perspectives) to increase knowledge and understanding of doctoral-level experiential learning and integrate that knowledge to benefit pedagogy, leadership development, and organizational-university partnerships. Results indicate that experiential learning builds robust collaboration between institutional and organizational settings. Moreover, the experiential learning experience provides a distinctive approach for graduate students, enabling them to make better work-context decisions and advance science by asking better, more salient research questions. Experiential learning also enriches the course context, encouraging students to marry their technical and academic expertise to make practical, positive changes.