Engaged Learning

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Background

As a social movement, "engaged learning" has recently been gaining importance in academic circles, but the idea itself has been around for many years.  Philosopher John Dewey empasized that students learn best when they are "engaged" in the process of discovery, when there is reciprocity between teacher and student.

In his article for the AAC&U, George Kuh identified ten educational practices that have high impact on student engagement because they devote time and effort to meaningful tasks; require student interaction with faculty and peers over substantive matters; challenge students to critically think and explore diversity; offer ongoing, critical feedback about performance; provide the opportunity to experience learning in various settings; and prove to be potentially life-changing.

Northern Illinois University has embraced Kuh's model for enacting student engagment and experiential learning in our campus and community, an effort in accord with the findings of the NIU Presidential Taskforce on Curricular Innovations.

NIU is classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the category of Research Universities (high research activity).  We applied and received the outreach and partnership elective designation in December 2008.  In 2010, NIU was also honored with the Community Engagement classification.  View a copy of our application (PDF).

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Strategic planning documents