In a society where college degrees are becoming more common, it is important for graduates to have experiences and references as they pursue careers. CSU takes preparing graduates seriously, and the purpose of the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) program is to differentiate graduates and help give them an edge when competing for jobs after graduation.
All CSU students under the 2018-2019 academic catalog and the 2019-2020 catalog are required to complete one Experiential Learning Requirement (ELR) which falls under ELI. The program has been implemented as a means to “allow students to explore nontraditional roles as a learner,” said Dr. Nathan Martin, director of the ELI program.
The most common way people earn the ELR credit is by completing an internship. This tends to be an easy way to meet the requirement since many majors have an internship already built into their curriculum. Other ways to meet the requirement are different classes offered, such as ROTC, practicums in education, or clinicals in nursing. All classes that count toward the ELR credit can be easily found in the academic catalog if students search “ELR.”
For traditional undergraduate students who fall under the catalogs mentioned above, there are no exceptions, and they will be required to earn the ELR credit before graduating. Upperclassmen who are under older catalogs are not required but can take advantage of the ELR courses offered. Any offering or experience classified as ELR is available to any undergraduate student, even if they are not required to take the course.
CSU is in the process of adding more options in the coming school years, but there are currently over 20 options to gain the ELR one hour credit required. Most majors require student interns to be juniors or seniors, but sophomores can do a General Education internship their sophomore year if desired. For freshmen there are a few courses, such as HIST 275, that fulfill the requirement also. These courses have been implemented to allow any student the opportunity to achieve the ELR credit.
Dr. Allison Trochesset, internship director, advises all students who will be required to gain an ELR to, “plan ahead the semester before you want to be enrolled in an ELR course or internship. Talk to your advisor; register early for the course, and come to the Career Center to meet with me.” Students with any questions can come to the Career Center and be pointed in the right direction as well as get help with logistics of the ELR credit.