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The River Semester

The Augsburg Experience Requirement

Canoe the Mississippi River from St. Paul down to Near Orleans over the course of an entire semester. Spend a summer conducting research with a faculty mentor on-campus or off-campus at other institutions like Harvard, Johns Hopkins, or Mayo Clinic. Gain work experience by interning at a Fortune 500 company in the Twin Cities. Explore the culture, people, and countryside of one—or more!—of 90 countries through our study abroad program.

These high-impact experiences are the trademark of an Augsburg education—and every student gets at least one. We call it the “Augsburg Experience,” and it focuses on linking classroom learning with off-campus opportunities.

Augsburg University was an early leader among institutions of higher education nationwide in providing an experiential element in our general education program for all students.

Specifically, the Augsburg Experience provides students with opportunities for:

  • Direct involvement with people and organizations external to the University
  • 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

A Range of Opportunities

Every student completes at least one high-impact external learning experience,* however, 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:

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).

Students should contact their Academic Advisor, the Strommen Career and Internship Services or the Center for Global Education and Experience staff to discuss their interests. Faculty members who are developing new experiences or updating existing ones should contact the Director of General Education for current information and forms.

*The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) has identified “high impact learning practices” in their LEAP initiative (Liberal Education and America’s Promise)