Connecting Callings with Careers
With the launch of the Centre for Experiential Learning and Careers, Redeemer is investing in experiential learning for every program.

With Redeemer’s new Core curriculum providing the foundation to help students be difference-makers in an ever-changing world, the Centre for Experiential Learning and Careers (CELC) puts learning into action.

Redeemer now has one place for students to go with questions about anything from interview preparation to internship coordination so that they are job ready by the time they walk across the stage. “Opening the centre signals a much greater focus on Redeemer’s part,” says Susan Van Weelden, the centre’s director, “on connecting a liberal arts or science degree with vocation and career.”

The CELC provides the physical presence on Redeemer’s campus that indicates we want our students to find their calling and figure out their service to God in our culture. But CELC is more than just a physical space. At the core of the centre are people. The centre is run by a dedicated team who make it their passion and purpose to help students become the best version of themselves. Faculty members, too, have worked tirelessly to develop relationships with employer partners and to incorporate placements into the student learning experience.

“University education, especially at Redeemer, offers a depth of learning.”

These efforts, past and present, are pivotal for Redeemer students. Take Katie for example. She completed her kinesiology internship requirement at McMaster Health Sciences’ diabetes clinic. “University education, especially at Redeemer, offers a depth of learning that is so important, and by getting out there I fell in love with working with people who struggle with chronic illness,” she says. “The professionalism, making connections with people in the field, the knowledge from that real world experience and being pushed to use your education all connects classroom application to real life. I feel ready to graduate.”

Brooklyn, a social work student, completed two internships: one at a nursing home, assisting with social services and recreation and the second with Ontario Works. “This allowed me to understand the welfare system within Ontario and to better understand the lives of those living in poverty from an experiential level,” she reflects. “I loved being able to integrate my learning and my faith; recognizing the importance of developing relationships within the helping field and allowing those relationships to flourish.”

Imagine an approach to education that combines the best of liberal arts and sciences with experiential learning, where students put their interdisciplinary knowledge into practice in a work environment. The centre is making this goal a reality.

The CELC has been designed to help students connect their sense of calling with a career through co-ops, internships, workshops and individualized career guidance. The centre partners faculty with employers to design experiences that put the classroom in the workplace, and bring the workplace back to the classroom.

“In the CELC, we have the satisfaction of igniting curiosity and joy when our students master new professional skills.”

In the CELC, we have the satisfaction of igniting curiosity and joy when our students master new professional skills. Months ago, Leanna sat across from me, a soggy shredded Kleenex in hand, unsure of where her education would take her. Today, after the completion of her co-op work term, she strides into our office, confidently conversing about her future career goals. The transformations are exciting and rewarding to watch.

Students come through our doors to discover their calling and, with a little guidance, find a place to test and prove their dreams. Learning by doing isn’t a new idea, and while the CELC is the focal point for experiential learning on campus, we have positioned ourselves as more of a threshold: opening doors so that together Redeemer students, faculty and alumni can transform culture to the glory of God.

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