Closing the Gap:
Experiential Education for All Undergraduates at Iowa 

Pathways to Success:
Ensuring High Quality Career Development for Every Hawkeye 


Congratulations to instructors awarded in the first round of course development funds to enhance or create experiential learning in their course or create a whole new experiential course. The next application will be open July 2023. 

Irene Lottini, Department of French and Italian, Faculty-led study abroad, ITAL:2330 – Mafia, Anti-Mafia, and Social Sustainability      
Experiential learning includes cultural exchange, interactions with witnesses of Mafia crimes, relatives of Mafia victims, and anti-mafia activists, and collaborations or service at confiscated and converted properties, such as community centers, rehabilitation centers, public gardens, farms, and tourist housing. Through the different experiential components, this course will help students reflect on the notions of social justice, social commitment, community engagement, and sustainable development.  

Mark Bruckner, Department of Theater Arts, THTR:2690 – Sound Excursions: The Evolving Soundscape and the Reverberations of Human Activity 
Experiential learning includes field research where students apply conceptual learning to real world experience of field recording in different acoustic territories. In addition to learning key concepts about biodiversity, sustainability, and environmental justice as viewed through the lens of soundscape change, each student will do a project that is scientific, ethnographic, or creative in nature.  

Matthew McGill, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, CBE:4460 Process and Design for Technologies, Science Sensors, and Satellites   
Experiential learning includes participating in design processes by building interoperable modules which apply lecture concepts in fun, creative, and low-stress ways. Instead of participating in prescribed laboratory activities with predetermined outcomes, students learn the processes and requirements for developing and implementing advanced technologies and science sensors while answering questions including: How are requirements derived?  How do scientists and numerous engineering disciplines fit together and work together? How do you recover from problems and their associated impacts? Why is my module not working or how can I make it work more efficiently or accurately? What can I learn from others’ methods and challenges? After going through the design process, students will demonstrate their final product via public display. 

Paul Dilley, Department of Classics, CLSG:3001 Archaic and Classical Periods
Experiential learning is being added to the course through the use of digitized original manuscripts and papyrus rolls, as well as trips to Special Collections to collaborate with curator Eric Ensley to handle and use centuries-old books for translation experience. Once this course is updated, there are plans to use the instructional lessons learned to update three other courses, teach other instructors how to use the new methods, and help students start to use original works as early as their first year, taking them from only using a textbook of standardized translations to understanding Classics as a living, complex textual and cultural experience. 

Nicholas Martini, Department of Political Science, POLI:3001 – Hawkeye Poll 
Experiential learning includes active involvement in all aspects of survey research in a real-world setting, including survey sampling, question wording, data collection, data analysis, and report preparation and dissemination. Political Science students learn of the challenges and nuances of survey research first-hand through public opinion polling. 

Adam Brummett, Department of Chemistry, Faculty-led study abroad, ABRD:3049 – Sustainable Chemistry along the Rhine River: Germany, Switzerland, and France 
Experiential learning includes cultural exchange and real-life examples of how research concepts are applied to sustainable chemistry and complex problem solving. Students will interact with globally recognized researchers in a variety of institutions – academia, industry, and national labs, as well as representatives from EU parliament. This will be the first chemistry faculty-led study abroad offered by UI. 

Elizabeth Menninga, Department of Political Science, POLI:3527 – Civil War Research Lab 
Experiential learning includes contributing to, reflecting upon, and improving research design, coding protocols, and quality control procedures. In addition to activities, students will develop and improve research protocols, code and/or calculate data, and identify a research or policy-relevant question related to the work done throughout the semester, using data gathered by the class to answer the question. This course adds to experiential learning opportunities for International Relations students. 

Beatrice Mkenda, Department of French and Italian, SWAH:2002 – Intermediate Swahili II 
Experiential learning includes immersive community trips to practice Swahili and engage with the Swahili speaking community in the Iowa City area. Through trips to local African markets, restaurants, and Stanley Museum of Art, students will interact with food, art, family structure, and culture and converse with Swahili speakers. Interaction with community members from countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Congo, and Tanzania will expose students to language practice and culture through real life interactions, applications, and examples.   

Ray Fagenbaum, Department of Health and Human Physiology, HHP:3700 – Healthcare Communications 
Experiential learning includes extensive simulations and role plays to practice clinically relevant communication skills. Student outcomes include the ability to take a patient history and ability to communicate the history to other medical professionals. The course builds upon content and theory from pre-requisites as well as introduces and allows application of communication competencies. The course adds to experiential learning opportunities for Human Physiology students as well as students in pre-health programs and a newly created Clinical Physiology track.  

Julie Gros-Louis, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, What Animals Can Teach Us about Being Human
Experiential learning includes a combination of research, field work, and service-learning. Students will explore topics such as language and communication, development, emotion, social behavior and learning through a comparative psychology lens. Through their service and outreach at community organizations, students will connect disciplinary knowledge to application in order to understand the connection between human and animal needs in relation to climate, sustainability, and social justice. This will be the only undergraduate course in the department that involves hands-on interaction with community groups and civic engagement. 

Emilie Maurel-Destruel, Department of French and Italian, FREN:3007 – French Phonetics
Experiential learning includes two components. First, students will converse weekly with native-French speakers in partner-universities in France. Second, students will also be involved in a community-based multilingual oral history project led by the Center for Language and Culture Learning. Students will conduct oral history interviews at the Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County and Global Food project, exposing them to the French-speaking African diaspora including Togolese and Congolese immigrants in Iowa. Both activities allow students to apply knowledge learned during the theoretical portions of the class by practicing authentic speech with native speakers of various dialects. 

Experiential Education Grant Information

Experiential learning is a priority of the University of Iowa campus, and multiple campus-wide initiatives focused on applied learning are underway in support of expanding access and creating additional opportunities on and off campus.  

As such, the P3 project Closing the Gap: Experiential Education for all Undergraduates aims to create more curricular experiential learning opportunities for students within their program of study.  

The purpose of this grant program is to increase undergraduate student access to and participation in experiential learning, particularly expanding access to students who are not otherwise participating in experiential learning. Integrating experiential learning into coursework is a way to build access to it into the student experience, reducing some time and cost barriers. As noted below, it also promotes reflection and integration with academic course concepts.  

It is the intent of this grant program to fund undergraduate experiential education courses that will be sustainable over time and offered on a regular basis. This will allow students to anticipate and plan for experiential learning opportunities in their programs of study, many of which require advance planning.

After securing this one-time funding, it is intended that grant awardees demonstrate the enhancement/impact/outcomes of the funds, in order to secure ongoing funding through their department or other means.  

For the purpose of the University of Iowa 2022-2027 Strategic Plan, experiential learning is defined as the practice of learning through applied experience –curricular or cocurricular, and guided reflection on those experiences (Kolb, 1984). These experiences help students apply knowledge and theory through conceptual, practical and reflective components. Experiential learning could include but is not limited to research, community engagement, internships, student-employment, study abroad, applied class work, student organization leadership, or service.

  1. Existing courses – already experiential  
    Existing undergraduate-level courses that are already experiential in nature and would like to enhance that component are eligible to apply for up to $2,000 in one-time funding and assistance in enhancing the applied elements of the course.  

  2. Existing courses – not yet experiential  
    Existing undergraduate-level courses that would like to apply for grant funds to remodel their course into a newly experiential course are eligible to apply for up to $2,000 in one-time funding and assistance in creating applied elements of the course.  

  3. New experiential courses 
    Academic departments that have ideas, concepts and instructor(s) for undergraduate-level courses that are not yet developed may apply for experiential course development funds through this program. Departments may apply for up to $3,000 for development and execution of the new course. 

  • Application open: July 5, 2023 
  • Application close: The application will close on January 5, 2024

  • Notification: Awardees will be notified by January 26, 2024  

Note: new courses should be mindful of Academic Planner open and close dates.

Support provided (financial and developmental) will include participation with the following offices as an expectation:

  • Course Development Stipend and/or Supplies 

  • Office of Teaching, Learning, and Technology (OTLT) Center for Teaching 

  • Support before, during, and after the course is taught 

  • Pomerantz Career Center, Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates, Office of Community Engagement dependent upon the course type 

  • Note on fund use: Funds may be used for course development and execution of the course experiential elements within the course, but not course instruction.  

All courses funded will meet with Pomerantz Career Center and the OTLT Center for Teaching to determine needs, discuss proposed course outcomes and future consultations necessary to achieve those agreed upon goals. At that time consultations with OTLT Center for Teaching, Pomerantz Career Center, Office of Community Engagement or Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates will be recommended to achieve those goals and an agreement will be made.

Existing courses: 

  • Above mentioned meeting, plus;  

  • After the course, have a minimum of one consultation one of the following: Pomerantz Career Center, Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates, Office of Community Engagement dependent upon the course type to discuss the course evaluation and OTLT Center for Teaching if agreed upon.

New Courses: 

  • Above mentioned meeting for all courses, plus; 

  • Have a minimum of one or two consultation meetings with an appropriate subject matter expert office (I.e. Pomerantz Career Center, Office of Community Engagement, Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates)  

  • Have a minimum of one meeting with OTLT after the semester is over to discuss the course evaluation if agreed upon.

Here is a sample of the application questions.  

When ready, please submit your responses via this Qualtrics form.

Successful proposals will: 

  • Demonstrate departmental commitment to the sustainability of the course over multiple semesters through a letter of support from the departmental DEO and identified instructor or instruction team 

  • Identify the challenges in developing/revising the course, including current and previous barriers 

  • Describe what support would be most useful in developing or revising the experiential component of the course 

  • Include a course budget for two semesters of the course including targeted minimum enrollment for the course 

  • Include course summary, learning outcomes, modality, applied elements of course 

  • Include how you will promote or encourage student enrollment in this course 

  • Demonstrate how the course will expand access to students who are not otherwise participating in experiential learning. And/or, demonstrate how the course’s experiential learning will be enhanced by the funding.  

For questions regarding the application process, please contact Angi McKie at For questions from College of Liberal Arts and Sciences departments, please contact Jennifer Eimers at