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Hands-on Experiences Challenge Students to Build and Contribute

September 1, 2016

Dr. Neil Emery sitting in front of a large blue research machine. Neil is smiling and wearing a suit with a blue tie.

“Today’s university students want more than a degree – they want hands-on experience,” says Dr. Neil Emery, vice-president of Research and Innovation at Trent University, as he discusses the importance of offering experiential learning opportunities to students.

“We can’t predict a lot of the jobs that our students are going to have in the future,” Professor Emery explains. “So we need to instill in them adaptive skills to make them a success in whatever they undertake – a skill set that experiential learning will give them.”

Opportunities for students to gain practical experience abound at Trent: from work placements and internships, to undergrad research opportunities and international projects.

“Experiential learning can be more than an internship at a company,” Prof. Emery explains. “There are a variety of activities that bring different value to the diverse careers that students may want to have.”

“We’re now trying to get as many students as we can involved in the research process,” he says, noting the many opportunities that Trent undergrad students have to work with faculty and get involved in science and social science research.

“An undergrad spends at least three years learning by deconstructing, being taught how to critically pull what they’ve learned apart,” Dr. Emery says. “But at some point we have to challenge students to build something and to contribute to the field of knowledge based on what they’ve learned.”