A distinctive feature of an Augsburg education is our focus on linking classroom learning with off-campus experiences. Augsburg College was an early leader among United States institutions of higher education in providing an experiential element in our general education program for all students.
We call it the “Augsburg Experience.”
Specifically, the Augsburg Experience provides students with opportunities for:
- Direct involvement with people and organizations external to the college
- First-hand discovery, integration and application of knowledge
- Self-awareness through reflective and critical thinking
- Exploration of vocation — of what one is called to do in the world
- High-impact learning that helps students make the transition from college to career
Faculty members who are developing new experiences or updating existing ones should contact the Director of General Education for current information and forms.
A Range of Opportunities
Every student completes at least one high-impact external learning experience.* Many students find these opportunities so beneficial that they complete more than one. Professional and pre-professional work-based learning experiences (internships, cooperative education, student teaching, practica, clinicals and fieldwork) that are done outside the classroom and off-campus are an essential learning dimension of many academic departments.
The typical routes to completing Augsburg Experience include:
- Study Abroad (both short term or semester-long experiences qualify)
- Student Teaching, Practica, Field Work, and Clinicals
- Service-Learning and Civic Engagement experiences embedded in courses
- Faculty-Student Research
- Special and Individualized Off-Campus Immersion Experiences
- Work Connections (typically for AU students)
*The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) has identified “high impact learning practices” in their LEAP initiative (Liberal Education and America’s Promise)
The Case for Experiential Education
The Experiential Education Commission Report (1998) states: “People worldwide need a whole series of new competencies—the ability to conceptualize and solve problems that entail abstraction (the manipulation of thoughts and patterns), system thinking (interrelated thinking), experimentation, and collaboration. Such abilities cannot be taught solely in the classroom, or be developed solely by teachers. Higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills grow out of direct experience, not simply teaching; they require more than a classroom activity. They develop through active involvement and real-life experiences in workplaces and the community” (quoted from Abbott 1996:3-4).