Contact: Checky Herrington
A new transformative initiative at Mississippi State is enabling students to better shape their futures through greater leveraging the power of experiential learning.
With the launch of MSU’s Bulldog Experience program, undergraduates are going beyond traditional classroom education, experiencing more immersive activities that foster personal growth, intellectual development and professional preparedness. The Bulldog Experience initiative is the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, a university-wide focus on improving student learning.
“Bulldog Experience is about much more than getting a degree,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “It is a transformative journey that empowers our students to connect their experiences with their academic pursuits. This program is preparing them to be successful in a rapidly changing world by developing the skills and hands-on involvement they need to thrive as leaders, innovators and problem solvers.”
Bulldog Experience builds upon MSU’s rich tradition of experiential learning, linking students with a multitude of opportunities in which to engage: first-year seminars, undergraduate research, service and community-based learning, study abroad/study away, internships and co-ops.
The initiative aims to enrich and enhance students’ core curriculum through such involvement as undergraduate research, volunteering in the community or joining campus organizations. Students then can build an engagement portfolio, with basic to more intensive experiences of capstone or senior design courses, or employment.
“Through personal reflection and self-discovery, students are gaining a deeper understanding of their strengths, interests and potential, laying the foundation for lifelong learning and growth,” said Keenum. “Bulldog Experience is a commitment to providing our students with the best possible education and is a testament to our unwavering belief in their potential.”
Sam Stewart, a student in MSU’s College of Education, agrees. Spending much of his college career in the classroom, an eight-day MSU educational psychology course held in Seville, Spain introduced him to unimaginable possibilities.
“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” said Stewart. “The opportunity was transformative, leading to a new level of confidence as I navigated international travel and studied and toured with about 40 others from MSU, ranging from freshmen to graduate students.”
MSU faculty members like marine geophysicist/oceanographer Jonathan Harris play a crucial role in the program’s success.
Harris, who has navigated a remarkable path from the depths of the oil and gas industry to the world of marine education, joined MSU’s Northern Gulf Institute in 2016 as an outreach and education program director, which exposes middle, high school and college students to marine science, technology and exploration.
“These students are the future of our workforce and getting them involved in science from an early age is pivotal,” he said. “Experiential learning offered through NGI’s outreach programs introduces students to the world of science and opens the door to incredible opportunities, adventures and careers.”
To learn more about how MSU students are transforming their experiences into new knowledge today, visit the Bulldog Experience website at https://www.qep.msstate.edu/.