Non-Credit Engagement Experience

UA Faculty and staff can propose non-credit experiences for approval to participate in the 100% Engagement initiative. A committee of UA faculty, staff and students reviews and evaluates these proposals. When a student completes an approved non-credit experience and the faculty or staff sponsor submits a record of this through the UAccess system, the student will earn the Engaged Learning Notation on the official student transcript and the experience will be entered on the Student Engagement Record in UAccess Student. Because these experiences will be included on a student's official UA record, the UA faculty require a rigorous university level review of the proposals to ensure they meet the UA engaged learning criteria.

If you are considering submitting a new non-credit engaged learning experience proposal, please reach out to Devon Thomas, Senior Coordinator for Student Engagement: 

What is a non-credit engaged learning experience?

Non-credit Engagement Experiences are meaningful applied learning experiences for which no academic credit is granted. Non-credit experiences can include optional add-on experiences associated with a for-credit course, for example field work or a special project that students may elect to participate in but that is not required as a part of the course grade.

For-credit Engagement Experiences are managed through the College Curriculum processes and should not be proposed via this process.

What are the criteria for a non-credit engaged learning experience to be approved?

As per UA policy, all approved non-credit Engagement experiences must at a minimum:

  • Identify the Engagement Activity and Engagement Competency
  • Require a commitment of at least 45 hours of engagement on the part of the student
  • Include a reflective component that helps the student make meaning of the experience

The committee's charge is to review proposals for non-credit experiences to ensure 1) that the proposals meet the minimum criteria and that the activities proposed require appropriately sophisticated application of skill and competency on the part of the student (See Applied Learning rubric, Levels 3 and 4) and 2) that the sponsors of the experience provide students with a learning experience that aligns those activities the student will do with clear learning outcomes related to the competency and skills that the students are expected to develop, requires student reflection and that includes an assessment plan related to the learning outcomes. In other words, the committee reviews experiences to ensure that the solid building blocks of student learning are incorporated into the experience. The committee uses this rubric to evaluate the proposals.

What are the benefits of proposing an engaged learning experience?

While this FAQ is not well-suited to a full lit review (version 2 of this website is under development and will include further references), extensive research indicates that engaged learning contributes to improved student retention and learning outcomes, to students' immediate career outcomes and to measures of student satisfaction with their undergraduate educational experiences. If you're leading student learning activities aligned with the initiative, you likely have based some aspects of your program design on similar research.

By aligning your program with UA's 100% Engagement Initiative, you contribute to an institutional effort to ensure that every student has an opportunity to transform aspects of their professional and personal life through meaningful applied learning. At the UA, these opportunities occur not only within our classrooms-- they are also woven throughout the student experience and take place everywhere that students invest their time and talent. This commitment to 100% engagement differentiates the UA as the destination of choice for undergraduate students seeking these types of experiences, and making good on this commitment will help UA to continue to attract and retain the strongest incoming class of students. 

Students and their parents are interested in the UA because of our commitment to engaged learning, and all approved non-credit experiences are featured in a directory on our website to assist in identifying opportunities that have the components demonstrated to enrich the student experience. 

UA will acheive the 100% engagement promise to students and their parents as all units on campus identify their opportunities and commit to engaging students fully in both the doing and the learning involved in these experiences. As we collectively raise the bar for engaged learning at UA and identify all programs and students who have engaged in this learning, we create additional data points that can help individual programs and the UA as a whole to best tell the story of the positive impact we have on students. 

The proposal process encourages programs to clearly identify learning outcomes, the expected activities and deliverables that demonstrate students' level of achievement of these outcomes, and an assessment plan. As such, this process offers an opportunity for professional reflection that can serve as the basis for an improved case for support for your program, as these components are frequently also part of requestes for continued support of programs to demonstrate that they are working as well as for applications for grants or seed funding that can help get a new program off the ground. 

What is the committee's process for review of proposals?

The committee uses a rubric to evaluate proposals prior to monthly meetings in which each proposal under review will be discussed by the committee members. The committee uses a consensus building process to determine which of the following actions to take in response to each proposal under review:

  • Approve: Proposals are approved in this status when all members of the committee are satisfied that the proposal has clearly and satisfactorily addressed all the questions included in the proposal form and that the experience provides a meaningful engaged learning experience for students.
  • Deny: Proposals are denied when the majority of the committee believes that the experience as presented in the proposal form does not represent an engaged learning opportunity that should lead to transcript designation and entry on the student engagement record. The committee may share feedback as to the areas of concern. The committee will review another proposal for the same experience only after the sponsor has consulted with Sr. Coordinator or Associate Director, Student Engagement and substantially redesigned the planned experience to meet the engaged learning criteria.

The committee also may defer final decision on a promising proposal through one of the following responses:

  • Approval contingent on revision and review by full committee
  • Approval contingent on revision and review by committee chair

In these cases, the committee may have some questions for clarification about one or more aspects of the proposal, or some recommendations that would strengthen particular aspects of the proposal so that all committee members can agree or strongly agree that the experience meets all the minimum and additional criteria for engaged learning as outlined in the proposal evaluation rubric. This feedback will be provided to the sponsor of the proposed experience by the Sr. Coordinator, Student Engagement. The Office of Student Engagement staff is available to assist in interpreting the feedback and to support you in considerations related to learning experience design and proposal revision prior to resubmitting for approval.

When does the committee meet? What is the deadline to submit my proposal in order to have it reviewed?

Proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis. Notifications are sent within one month of submission date. 

Keep in mind that our proposal process requires that a Director, Department Head or Dean be informed and approve of the submission, unless the sponsor holds one of those titles. Please allow time in advance of the proposal deadline to ensure your proposal will be approved before the deadline. Please also ensure your supervisor is aware in advance of your submission.

What resources are available to assist me in designing an engaged learning experience and completing my proposal? 
This website includes answers to Frequently Asked Questions about proposing a Non-Credit Engagement Experience. An Engaged Learning Toolkit has also been provided on this website to assist you in developing the experience and your proposal.

Though it is not required, the committee recommends a consultation with a member of the Office of Student Engagement staff prior to submitting your proposal in order to clarify any questions you may have about the process and to identify any aspects of your proposal that may be strengthened prior to committee review. Please contact the Office of Student Engagement, 520-621-2024, if you would like to arrange for a consultation.

Proposals are reviewed by OSE staff for completeness and alignment with minimum engagement criteria prior to forwarding to the committee. If your proposal is missing information required by the committee or is rife with errors that may make it difficult for the committee to give your proposal full consideration, a member of the OSE staff may contact you and request revision before forwarding to your approver or to the committee.

How do I submit my proposal?

All proposals must be submitted online.


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