Experiential Learning Requirement

All geography majors and sustainability minors must fulfill an experiential learning component to supplement their classroom instruction at the University of Richmond. Examples include a semester of study abroad, an internship or volunteer position equaling approximately 100 hours of service, summer research, a summer field course (e.g., master naturalist), or another educational and hands-on initiative agreed upon by the student and faculty supervisor. Ideally, this experiential learning involves significant outdoor or cross-cultural experience and is not strictly a laboratory, classroom, or office-based activity. Geospatial analysis can be an appropriate substitute if discussed with your Geography advisor.

Students should approach their advisor before their junior year, if possible, to discuss and identify potential experiential learning opportunities.

    Regardless of the design of the experiential learning activity, the Department expects:
  1. Learning objectives will be identified with a faculty mentor before starting the experiential component and revisited at the conclusion.
  2. If the proposed activity will largely take place indoors rather than an outdoors or field experience, attention to spatial aspects of human-environment (nature-society) interaction and/or sustainability will complement other educational components. For example, if a student primarily works conducting GIS analysis, then efforts may be made to include ground-truthing of data, fieldwork, field trips, etc.
  3. Students will prepare an 8-minute slide presentation, StoryMap, Video, or other engaging image and map/geovisualization-rich medium to share their experiences with Geography faculty, staff, and students at an annual event highlighting experiential learning activities (Geography in Action). In order to tie experiential education to the rest of the curriculum in the major, these presentations should address one or more core geographic concepts such as space, connectivity, place, scale, landscape, etc. Presentations should include at least two maps or geovisualizations. These do not have to be created by the student, although that is preferred.
  4. Students will prepare a 1- page written synopsis of activities and accomplishments (with at least one on-site photograph or video) that the Department can use to promote their work. Students should turn this in to the Department Chair with a copy to the administrative specialist one week before their presentation (#3 above).

The above experiential learning component has been mutually agreed upon by the student and the faculty supervisor. They will stay in communication during the schedule outlined above to discuss the experience and to assess the achievement of learning objectives.