With the launch of the Centre for Experiential Learning and Careers (CELC), Redeemer University College is investing in experiential learning for every program. On March 2, employers, students and faculty of all disciplines gathered to celebrate the official launch of the centre.
With this latest launch of a 2020 plan initiative, the university’s goal is to triple the number of programs with co-op opportunities and ensure experiential learning options in every program. The CELC builds on the foundation of Redeemer’s new Core curriculum to combine the best of a liberal arts and sciences education with experiential learning. For students, this means putting interdisciplinary knowledge into practice in a work environment. Through co-ops, internships, workshops and individualized career guidance, the CELC is helping students connect their sense of calling with a career. Together, the Core and the centre shape students into difference-makers for an ever-changing world.
“There’s tremendous benefits in bringing in fresh perspectives and vibrant energy, new ideas and new skills.”
Take student Sarah Kuran ‘17. Kuran did an eight-month co-op with World Vision Canada after finishing her third year of studies. She jumped into digital marketing and communications tasks. She supported donor journeys with digital marketing automation. Kuran learned email marketing best practices, created email content and built landing pages. Her manager took notice. Through it all, “Sarah brought a service mentality,” quoted former World Vision vice president, new supporter engagement Janet Johnson, referencing comments on Kuran’s work. “Whether it was supporting our World Vision team by attending a sales trip to Ottawa, using her own personal connections to build some inroads for us or supporting the filming of our paint night video, she was an eager participant.”
For an employer partner like World Vision, “there’s also tremendous benefits in bringing in fresh perspectives and vibrant energy, new ideas and new skills,” Johnson said. “Frankly, this helps the organization build a really great recruiting pool for top talent, but also actually energizes the rest of the team that’s there.”
CELC staff have already been hard at work in the months leading up to the centre’s launch. During the CELC team’s first year, over 220 students took part in seven different career-related events on- or off-campus from resume clinics to the Connect-to-Careers Job Fair, where Redeemer partnered with McMaster University and with Mohawk College.
“Today’s launch of the CELC does not signal the start of experiential learning at Redeemer. We’ve been doing internships and practicums for more than 30 years in up to a dozen different departments. We have had a Business Co-op program for over 20 years,” said Susan Van Weelden, the centre’s director, in her remarks at the launch. “What today’s launch does mark is Redeemer’s firm commitment to increase experiential learning and career services across the university so that students in our liberal arts and sciences programs are better prepared to successfully enter the workforce.”
The centre was officially launched the moment that Van Weelden and Cheryl Campbell, Crossroads Christian Communications director of human resources, together opened a door hung as a stage backdrop, symbolizing the doors to careers opened by the centre and its employer partners.