Education - Page 6 - Learning by doing

- Page 6
Learning by doing
Enhancing the academic experience with hands-on learning

By Carol Sorgen, Contributing Writer

Terri Gladus recently graduated from Salisbury University with a major in environmental studies. Thanks to her involvement with the university’s Green Fund, Gladus feels confident that she has an advantage when it comes to looking for a job in her chosen field.

Proposed by Salisbury’s Student Government Association in 2014 and passed by student votes, the Green Fund supports environmental projects proposed by students or student-faculty teams. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to submit their ideas for projects to help make the campus more sustainable for a chance to receive a grant from the SU Green Fund. (Students must be part of every proposing team.)

Students make up the majority of the Green Fund review board’s members (five students, three staff and one faculty member). The board reviews all proposals received and approves expenditures for those selected.

“Projects can be small or large, whatever you think might make a positive impact on the environment,” says Wayne Shelton, director of campus sustainability and environmental safety.“The only limit is your imagination.”

Among the projects supported by the Green Fund since its inception have been Meatless Mondays, pedal power generators, LED conversion lighting, water quality and biodiversity study, solar power charging stations, and a native species restoration project.

The Fund receives its money from a per student/per semester fee of $8; to date, the Fund has garnered approximately $225,000 and funded 48 projects.

“The Green Fund gives students experience not only in developing ideas, but in bringing an idea to fruition,” says Shelton.“It’s a great learning experience and gives them a sense of ownership.”

Gladus says that her involvement with the Green Fund – both as a student and a board member – is also a good resume-booster. In addition to the practical experience she received from working on pedal power generators, she has learned much in the way of grant writing and project administration. “This is good experience to have under my belt.”

University of Maryland’s Legal Clinics Benefit Students and Community

Unique among law schools across the United States, the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law requires every student who initially enrolls as a first-year, full-time day student to provide legal services to people who are poor or otherwise lack access to justice as a prerequisite to graduation.

Known as The Cardin Requirement, this program can be traced back to 1987, when then-U.S. Representative Ben Cardin agreed to chair the 30-member Maryland Legal Services Corporation (MLSC) Advisory Council. The Council’s objective was to research the need for civil legal services among Maryland’s poor and find ways to meet those needs. Among the 41 recommendations that the Council made was to “require law school clinical experience in providing civil legal services to the poor as a condition of graduation.”

Courses that are offered through the Clinical Law Program that satisfy the Cardin Requirement provide students the opportunity to represent real clients in real cases. “The Cardin Requirement defines who we are as a law school,” says Donald Tobin, dean and professor of law.

“The clinical and legal theory and practice courses encourage students to develop a professional identity valuing service to the poor and other underrepresented persons and communities,” Tobin continues. “Most importantly, however, the Cardin experience enables students to understand, apply, and critique legal theory and law practice to help them analyze how to improve the law and access to justice.”

For more than a decade, the Clinical Law Program has been ranked among the nation’s top 10 by U.S. News & World Report. It was also the first law school program in the country to receive the John Minor Wisdom Award, the American Bar Association’s leading public service honor.

Each year, 20 faculty lead 150 students in providing almost 75,000 hours of free legal services to the community, making the Clinical Law Program one of the region’s largest public interest law firms, according to Clinic Director Michael Pinard, observing that by working alongside faculty members on real-life cases, students gain a unique combination of theoretical study and practical experience that prepares them to “hit the ground running” in their legal careers.

The clinics cover a multitude of cases such as immigration, gender violence, public health, intellectual property and entrepreneurship, consumer bankruptcy, and environmental law.

“The clinics are a marriage of theory and practice,” says Pinard. “They also expose students to individuals and families who are living very different lives from themselves.”

According to Pinard, participation in the clinics not only provides students with the hard skills they will need as attorneys, but also soft skills such as empathy. “It’s a humbling experience to work with our clients and understand the issues that they confront every day,” he says.

“The Clinical Law Program is both eye-opening and rewarding,” Tobin concurs. “It gives students the opportunity to experience what it is to help people, what it means to succeed and, at times, what it means to fail. The program is important for both the students and for the community.”

Carroll Community College Opens “Fab Lab”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many jobs of the future will require workers to
be skilled in the areas of scientific discoveries, new product technologies and product marketing acceptance. Carroll Community College is preparing students for that future through its Digital Design and Fabrication Program whose “Fab Lab” provides students with the opportunity to apply the skills they learn in their courses to their desired career.“Everyone who visits the Fab Lab and learns about the program is intrigued by the possibilities and the connections to a wide array of careers,” says Rosalie Mince, Ph.D., vice president of academic and student affairs.

The Fab Lab opened at the beginning of the all 2018 semester and was created to support the development of CCC’s new academic program that will consist of an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree and two certificates, in digital design and fabrication, according to Scott Gore, division chair of applied and theater arts.

In the lab students learn how to use a variety of additive manufacturing (AM) equipment, also referred to as 3D printing, to produce concept models and final use parts for a diverse range of disciplines.“ThisAM equipment exposes students to a variety of 3D printing methods and materials, such as FDM,SLA, Continuous Carbon platforms, to name a few,” says Gore, adding that students also learn how to use a variety of subtractive manufacturing (SM) equipment to produce concept models and final use parts for a diverse range of disciplines. Some of this equipment includes Laser Cutter/Etcher, Carver, and CNC machines.

The program will focus on preparing students to be digital fabricators in fields such as manufacturing, industrial engineering, industrial design and product design. Digital fabricators are designers who use digital modeling software and additive and/or subtractive manufacturing processes in the creation of an object, part, product

Hands-on, continued on page 7

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Above left: As part of a Green Fund project, a Solar Dok picnic table was installed near Salisbury University’s Henson Science Hall, allowing students to charge their devices while chatting, studying or dining. Solar power also lights the table and benches at night.

The importance of experiential learning

According to eLearning Industry (, experiential learning is the future of education. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. It speeds up the learning process. “Learning by doing” enhances critical thinking, problem solving and decision making, which has been found to be more beneficial than repetitive learning.
2. It brings together theory and practice. First-hand experience helps students retain ideas and concepts.
3. It increases levels of engagement. By taking an active part in an activity or challenge, students feel a sense of ownership and are more invested in the outcome.
4. It develops both hard and soft skills. Not only do students enhance their knowledge and skills, but they also develop feelings and emotions not generally addressed in traditional learning environments. •