LAWRENCE — John Augusto, director of the KU Center for Undergraduate Research, has taken on the additional role of assistant vice provost for experiential learning in undergraduate studies. Augusto will be the leader of the Experiential Learning Collaborative, which brings together staff from the Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, Study Abroad & International Programs, University Career Center and the Center for Undergraduate Research.
In his role as assistant vice provost, Augusto will primarily focus upon meeting KU’s goal of encouraging students to fulfill part of the KU Core, the university-wide undergraduate curriculum, with an educational experience. KU is one of the few public members of the Association of American Universities to specify experiential learning as part of completing the undergraduate curriculum.
“Integrating experiential learning into a university-wide curriculum is one of the unique aspects of the KU Core and a central piece of our vision for undergraduate education at KU,” said Jeff Vitter, provost and executive vice chancellor. “Under John’s leadership, the Collaborative will work closely with the University Core Curriculum Committee to guide experiences from across campus to fulfilling KU Core learning outcomes.”
The goal of the Experiential Learning Collaborative is to develop, expand and promote experiential learning on the campus. The Collaborative is also working with the Office of First-Year Experience to connect students to opportunities for experiential learning as part of their KU education.
“Undergraduate Studies brings together units that support students from orientation through graduation,” said Ann Cudd, vice provost and dean of Undergraduate Studies. “John will lead that part of Undergraduate Studies that focuses on challenging students to excel by engaging in research and experiential learning opportunities. His vision for scaffolding the teaching of experiential learning from the beginning of a student's career at KU will help make these special experiences common among KU students.”
The Collaborative is initiating a process to support educational experiences at KU, create a tracking system for students, and oversee assessment. This will allow the Collaborative to forward approved experiences to the University Core Curriculum Committee for inclusion in the KU Core. The Collaborative also oversees the majority of the undergraduate certificate programs on campus and will ensure certificate programs are part of KU Core.
For the current year, the Collaborative developed KU Core units for study abroad, the service learning certificate and the Undergraduate Research Experience Program, as well as an innovative way of satisfying KU Core Goal 5 — social responsibility — through an experience that may be added to any existing course.
“Experiential Learning opportunities span across the campus and my goal to bring together the strong programs established at KU with the new Center for Undergraduate Research,” said Augusto. “Working together, we can find new ways to implement co-curricular programs that promote to students and their families the importance of experiential learning as a part of the overall KU experience.”