Bylaws and Policies

Political Policy Experiential Learning

Expiry: April 30, 2023

1 Facts

  1. There is a broad variety of experiential learning opportunities including, but not limited to, internships, practicums, co-ops, placements, work experience, undergraduate research, work abroad, community service learning courses, and field experience.
  2. Experiential learning opportunities allow students to better learn, apply and understand content within their studies.
  3. A Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario study confirmed that university students that participate in experiential learning opportunities have lower unemployment rates among full-time job seekers post-graduation[1].
  4. Significant barriers exist towards participating in experiential learning, including but not limited to:
    1. Institutional barriers such as lack of information, academic program restrictions, student status, unsatisfactory grades, external policy barriers such as credit transfer agreements, counting of credits toward degree and/or general requirements.
    2. External policy barriers such as credit transfer agreements, counting of credits toward degree and/or general requirements.
    3. Financial barriers such as lack of funding for program development and lack of financial support for students and lack of available time for paid labour.
  5. Money dispersed through undergraduate research awards at the University of Alberta has not increased in recent years, falling behind to increases to minimum wage and other cost of living expenses.
  6. There is a lack of opportunities and funding for undergraduate students to present their research at national or international academic conferences.

2 Resolutions

  1. The Students’ Union will advocate for increased experiential learning opportunities for all undergraduate students.
  2. The Students’ Union will advocate that program requirements that allow all interested undergraduate students to participate in experiential learning opportunities irrespective of barriers related to their academic or personal background, including but not limited to race, gender, sexuality, religion, spirituality, ability, age, student status, satisfactory academic standing[2], and Aboriginal and/or international student status.
  3. The Studentsʼ Union will advocate to the University of Alberta, government stakeholders, and other external organizations to ensure increased up-front funding and bursaries for students participating in local or international experiential learning opportunities.
    1. Financial, including grants and bursaries;
    2. Administrative, including efficient facilitation of the programs;
    3. Mental health accessibility, and;
    4. Dispute resolution.
  4. The Studentsʼ Union will advocate for information surrounding experiential learning to be present during course enrolment to better showcase these opportunities to students.
  5. The Studentsʼ Union will advocate for increased coordination between programs offering experiential learning, as well as a consolidated repository to connect students with experiential learning opportunities.
  6. The Students’ Union will advocate for increased holistic funding[3] and opportunities for students to present research at conferences abroad.
  7. The Students’ Union will advocate for the expansion of the Office of the Ombuds and the Office of Safe Disclosure and Human Rights to cover students during experiential learning terms.
  8. The Students’ Union will advocate that the University lower the costs associated with experiential learnings, as well as create a clear fee breakdown for students to understand the costs of and associated with experiential learning.
  9. The Students’ Union will work with the university to ensure that students’ location is factored into placement decisions. This includes but is not limited to ensuring that a placement is accessible by transit.
  10. The Students’ Union will work through external advocacy to decrease barriers for international students who want to participate in experiential learning semesters.
  11. The Students’ Union will advocate for more mental health supports specifically for students participating in experiential learning.

3 References

  1. http://www.heqco.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/WIL_Grad%20Follow-up%20ENG.pdf
  2. As defined by https://calendar.ualberta.ca/content.php?catoid=6&navoid=806
  3. We define “Holistic Funding” as funding towards items included but not limited to: transportation, room and board, and conference fees