SUU Library Welcomes Arrival of National Archive for Experiential Learning
By Nikki Koontz
For Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY, UTAH—The archive of the National Society for Experiential Education arrived at Southern Utah University on July 11 for permanent collection in the Gerald R. Sherratt Library. The donation distinguishes SUU as a key player in the experience-based education movement and represents the first institutional home for the archive.
Founded in 1971, NSEE is a membership organization of educators and business leaders promoting experiential education and best practices for engaged education. Its archive contains historical documents and records capturing the emergence and history of the organization. Previously, the collection was housed at a non-publicly accessible location in Alexandria, Virginia, and at disparate locations throughout the United States.
“It is a real honor for SUU to be able to house the archive of a national organization as successful as this,” said Patrick Clarke, SUU dean of the School of Integrative and Engaged Learning. “The contribution recognizes SUU as a real leader in experiential learning.”
According to NSSE President Stephanie Thomason, Ph.D., the archive is well-matched to SUU for the university’s commitment to experiential learning and the Experiential Learning Leadership Institute (ELLI) serving college educators.
“We are thrilled for the opportunity to collaborate with SUU’s ELLI,” Thomason said. “Both organizations share the goals of enhancing experiential education by supporting professional development, engaging in and sharing research, and advocating for the infusion of effective experiential learning.”
The addition of the NSEE archive joins with several SUU initiatives for promoting experiential learning and educational leadership. The SUU EDGE program engages all undergraduate students in experience-based learning projects. For experience-based educators, SUU publishes a national journal titled, “Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education,” and hosts an annual ELLI conference.
SUU Dean of Library Services Richard Saunders said partnering with an established organization such as NSSE to produce an academic journal provides a natural outlet for speaking to professionals about higher education topics such as this.
In 2015, SUU received the NSEE Outstanding Experiential Education Program Award, which recognizes an outstanding K-12 or higher education institution that has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to experiential education.