Applied Learning at SUNY
Today's high-tech, global economy is fast-paced and moving forward every day, and we have to ensure that, above all else, we are preparing our students to be a part of it. At SUNY, we believe in the power of learning by doing. That’s why we are working to ensure that every SUNY student will have access to an applied learning opportunity, even those attending online, including opportunities from clinical placements and cooperative education to service learning, volunteerism, student research, international opportunities, and field study.
Applied learning refers to an educational approach whereby students learn by engaging in direct application of skills, theories and models. Students apply knowledge and skills gained from traditional classroom learning to hands-on and/or real-world settings, creative projects or independent or directed research, and in turn apply what is gained from the applied experience to academic learning. The applied learning activity can occur outside of the traditional classroom experience and/or be embedded as part of a course. This strategy promotes student success outcomes like increased retention, graduation, engagement, employment and well-being.
In total, campuses currently offer 9,473 approved applied learning opportunities to SUNY students.
Since 2015, each of SUNY’s 64 campuses has convened an Applied Learning Team to work on their campus Applied Learning Plans. Every campus has answered questions about faculty, student and partner engagement. Campuses are developing infrastructure for tracking applied learning opportunities, working on quality assurance criteria and deciding whether or not to include applied learning as a local graduation requirement for students.
We know, in their own words, that SUNY students value the opportunity to turn theory into action through applied learning experiences, that applied learning helps them develop their soft skills and refine their career goals. Perhaps most important to student success, students grow their networks and many feel a sense of community on campus through their applied learning experiences. Lastly, students are more likely to receive full-time employment from their applied learning sites upon graduation.
Applied learning opportunities at SUNY include:
- Cooperative Education
- Co-op & Clinical Placements
Clinical placements, in which more than 20,000 SUNY students are enrolled; and co-operative education programs, in which SUNY faculty and area employers have jointly developed curricula that integrate classroom instruction and on-the-job experience. Approximately 1,740 students are currently enrolled in co-op across SUNY.
- Community service
- Civic Engagement
More than 30,000 SUNY students are currently engaged in formal service-learning programs for which students earn college credit, while tens of thousands more participate in community service and volunteer locally, nationally, and around the globe.
- Field Study
- Experiences Abroad
- Creative Works
While SUNY research has historically resulted in breakthrough discoveries, inventions, and startups, increased focus on applied learning has led to an unprecedented level of collaboration between SUNY students, faculty, and industry experts to enable commercialization of the best ideas and innovations born on SUNY campuses.