Many institutions rely on prescriptive four-year degree maps to help students plan their course schedules. Unfortunately, these plans are typically limited to course requirements and a handful of elective courses and fail to encourage exploration of additional opportunities.
Innovative institutions have created experiential major maps that align course requirements with cocurricular and experiential learning opportunities. These maps help students explore majors, reflect on the career-relevant skills they are gaining, get hands-on experience in preparation for jobs and graduate programs, and see career paths available to each major.
How Southwest Baptist University built experiential major maps
In December, EAB experts hosted Allison Langford, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Initiatives at Southwest Baptist University, in a webconference to discuss lessons from creating and implementing experiential major maps. Allison learned about the practice from past EAB work highlighting experiential major maps at Queen’s University. She saw the maps as an opportunity to address some barriers that students face in pursuit of a degree, and to convey the unique value of a degree from Southwest Baptist University.
The implementation team decided to develop their major maps in three phases: the first was creating the map itself, the second will involve creating a cover page with relevant major and career outcome information, and the third will embed regular updates for each major map.
During the webconference, Allison held a Q&A session for participants to ask questions about the experiential major maps implementation process and we identified five main takeways and lessons learned.
Interested in building your own experiential major maps? Here’s how to get started.
It’s not too late to join the Collaborative that officially launches on Thursday, January 16 with our virtual webconference kickoff that features EAB researchers and university experts from South Dakota State University and Rutgers University-Camden, who will share lessons learned from creating experiential major maps.
Later in the series, Collaborative participants can join webconferences on collecting information to populate their maps and finalizing and distributing maps and participate in virtual working sessions. You’ll also have the opportunity to network with peers, share your achievements, and brainstorm ideas on an online discussion board.