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Elevating the Educational Experience

Located in the Student Union Memorial Center, the Office of Student Engagement is at the heart of student activity. From study abroad experiences to internship and externship opportunities, the Office of Student Engagement is dedicated to elevating engaged learning so that it is central to the UA’s campus culture. 

Vincent Del Casino, vice provost of digital learning and student engagement, oversees the UA’s Student Engagement Initiative and new UA Online integration efforts. He talks about new opportunities, UA Online and how philanthropy can support experiential learning. 

What’s changed for students at the UA since the student engagement initiative began? 

When we began this process over a year and half ago, we wanted to make sure to align the initiative with the values of the University – high quality, student-centered learning that cuts across the institution. What resulted is a robust suite of UA-approved student engagement credit and non-credit opportunities that are centered around experiential education. Now, many courses and experiences are, for the first time, being formally recognized for the value they add to student learning. 

How does student engagement fit into the new UA Online undergraduate programs? 

We made a commitment to achieve the same learning outcomes for UA Online students as those seeking our traditional degrees. That means translating the engagement initiative into the online space. One of the most exciting initiatives is the development of Blue Chip Online – our nationally recognized leadership program. After completing a number of for-credit leadership courses, students in UA Online can take an upper division course that provides the same framework for the deep reflection and application as any UA-approved engagement course. 

What excites you most about this initiative? 

This year, a new Student Engagement Committee is vetting an entire suite of non-credit engagement opportunities for students. We’ve approved applications from across campus for experiences that will be overseen by various departments including athletics, academic initiatives and student affairs, to name a few. Our students and community can see how this collaboration enriches learning and helps prepare students for future success. 

How can philanthropy support this initiative? 

Your support in helping a student take a rewarding out-of-state summer internship or forgo a summer job so they can work in a research lab can make all the difference. Philanthropy also supports the programs that provide these student engagement opportunities. Faculty and staff have amazing ideas and seed money can help them create new experiences that will benefit students for years to come. 

The Patron | Spring 2016

For more information, please contact Rachel Rivera, director of development, at 520-626-0225 or rachelrivera@email.arizona.edu

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