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Patrick Ng, Douglas KnealePatrick Ng accepts a sweatshirt from provost Douglas Kneale for winning the Question of the Month contest.

Experiential learning a chance for personal and professional development: contest winner

The most valuable experiences of his time at the University of Windsor have been those that gave him the freedom to apply what he was learning in a semi-controlled environment, says psychology student Patrick Ng.

His list of these experiences, from service learning to community service and undergraduate research, won him a free sweatshirt in the Question of the Month Contest. Provost Douglas Kneale asked to recount their involvement with “high-impact practices” — activities that help students to become deeply engaged with their learning.

The question reflects the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), currently underway on campus, which seeks information on such high-impact practices as:

  • Being part of a learning community or some other formal program where groups of students take two or more classes together
  • Taking courses that include a community-based project (service-learning)
  • Working with a faculty member on a research project
  • Internships, co-ops, field experiences, student teaching, or clinical placements
  • Studying abroad
  • Undertaking a culminating senior experience (like capstone courses, senior project or thesis, comprehensive exam, portfolio, etc.)

Ng wrote that “high–impact practices help me develop professionally by facilitating skill or personal development and providing opportunities to learn about the field, myself, and best practices for applying what I’ve learned.”

He said his culminating course in “Community Psychology” called upon everything he’d learned in other classes, and a project for “Management and Organizational Life” helped him to zero in on his own goals.

“This course was the first time I got the hint of how important the reason I do something is in my satisfaction with a project,” Ng wrote. “I really come to life when the purpose or goal of my project is to genuinely improve the life of someone who really craves it, even if it’s one person at a time.”

Dr. Kneale calls Ng’s story inspiring.

“Patrick is really making the most of his time at the University of Windsor,” Kneale says. “But the community, the University, and the students are the beneficiaries of his amazing engagement and leadership.”

The next round of the Question of the Month contest will start in early March.

In the meantime, students in their first and final years are encouraged to complete the National Survey of Student Engagement, which they can access through their Blackboard sites. They will receive a $5 coupon for Starbucks by e-mail within about a week of completing the survey.

For more information on the survey, please visit: http://www1.uwindsor.ca/provost/nsse.