Experiential Learning Innovation Scholars Program

Deadline for applications extended: May 15, 2020 [previously May 1, 2020]

The purpose of the Experiential Learning Innovation Scholar program is to encourage the development of innovative, curricular experiential learning opportunities, developed in partnership with students.

Experiential learning is an approach that educators use to intentionally connect learners with practical experiences that include authentic and focused reflection. Experiential learning allows learners to: increase and apply disciplinary knowledge, develop transferable skills, clarify interests and values, strengthen employability and collaborate meaningfully with communities.

Curricular experiential learning** may take many forms, such as simulations, field experiences, industry partnerships, or case based and community engaged learning opportunities. Please see below for examples of curricular experiential learning at Western.

The goal of the award is to support undergraduate and graduate teaching at Western, reflecting Western's commitment to the highest standards and quality of undergraduate and graduate education.

Award Value

  • A total of $80,000 is available for the award.
  • Four awards of $20,000 will be awarded, for a 2-year term.
  • Recipients will hold the title of “Experiential Learning Innovation Scholar” for the duration of the award.
  • Recipients may use the funds awarded to develop experiential learning opportunities through the purchase of release-time; support for undergraduate and graduate student partners; acquisition of technology; development of learning, reflection, and/or assessment resources; community partner recognition; or travel costs for students to reach a field site or partner community, among others. The funds are not intended to support conference travel.
  • Recipients are encouraged to use 25% of the funds ($5000) to support the involvement of students as partners in the project.
  • A portion of the funds should also be used to assess the impact of the proposed experience on student learning/student competencies.
  • The award can be used to support the development of a new experiential learning activity or to significantly expand or enhance an already existing experiential learning program at Western.

Timing and Award Period

Applications are due by May 15, 2020. Decisions will be made by end of June. The award period is 2 years (July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2022).

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Recognized experiential learning activity: The experiential learning activity needs to fall into one of the categories of curricular experiential learning recognized by Western. (see http://experience.uwo.ca/about/principles_and_definitions.html)
  2. Involvement of students as partners: The learning experience needs to be developed in partnership with students: the proposal needs to clearly articulate how students are involved as partners in the course/curriculum design and facilitation process.
  3. Impact or proposed impact on the quality of the student experience at Western
  4. Transferability to other courses/instructors.
  5. Sustainability of, and differentiation created for Western by, the innovation; including sustainability beyond the funding period.
  6. Clear, realistic timeline for development of the experiential learning opportunity.
  7. Clear plan for assessment of the impact of the new experiential learning activity on student competencies/student learning in the program.

Applications must be accompanied by an explanation of how all seven criteria will be met.


The award is open to current faculty members (full-time and part-time) from any Western Faculty at any stage of their teaching careers (members of the Affiliated University Colleges are not eligible). Teams of faculty members working collaboratively to develop experiential learning opportunities for their program or Faculty are encouraged to apply.

The University and/or its faculty, in accordance with their respective rights, shall be the sole owner of any newly created intellectual property resulting in full or in part from the Experiential Learning Innovation Scholars or any collaborative research activities. A copy of course resources created using these funds, such as videos, rubrics, digital learning objects, or online learning modules will remain at Western in the event that a faculty recipient leaves Western.

Proposals for experiential learning in postgraduate medical education programs for medical residents and fellows are not eligible.

Requirements of Recipients

  • Recipients are required to consult with the Experiential Learning Unit (Student Experience Portfolio - Careers & Experience) to ensure that the learning experience they design meets all safety and accessibility standards, and aligns with Western’s principles for experiential learning. The Experiential Learning Unit is available for support with external partnership development as needed.
  • Recipients are required to consult with the Centre for Teaching and Learning on the curriculum integration of the new experiential learning activity, as well as assessment of the impact of the new experience on student learning. Recipients may need to complete a Human Research Ethics Review Protocol before collecting data on student learning.
  • Award recipients will be encouraged to share the results of the impact assessment with the University community, through promotion or distribution by the Centre for Teaching and Learning, the Experiential Learning Unit of Student Experience, their Faculty or other appropriate mechanism.
  • Successful applicants will receive the funds on the start date of the project. Completion of an Endowment/Restricted Fund application is required. Any changes to the proposed budget/spending plan need to be approved by the Chair of the Adjudication committee or his/her designate.
  • Recipients are required to submit:
    1. An interim report after the first year of project
    2. A final report outlining the success of the project, impact on student learning, and how the funds were used by September 1 subsequent to the end of the two-year period.
    3. The final report needs to include student testimonials documenting the impact of the experiential learning opportunity on student learning. The format of these is open, and should be selected to best match learning in the course (such as print or video interviews, ePortfolios, quotes, digital storytelling or other media).

Submission Guidelines

The completed application should be submitted electronically as a single pdf file on or before May 15, 2020 to the Centre for Teaching and Learning <ctl@uwo.ca>.

Please note that the proposal requires (i) a Brief Statement of Support from the applicant's Program Chair/Director or Dean, and (ii) an Application Cover Sheet (.pdf/ .docx) with signatures of the applicant’s Program Chair/Director and Dean.

There are six parts to the proposal submission:

  1. Summary Description of the Project (1 page maximum)

    Please indicate if this is a new project, or a significant expansion of an existing project.

  2. The Proposal (5 pages maximum)

    1. Outcomes and rationale of the project, accessible for a non-specialized audience
    2. Detailed description of the experiential learning activity, including learning outcomes, reflection activities, and assessment plan
    3. If the proposed project is an expansion of an existing project, please include a detailed description of both the existing and new components and identify the impact of the proposed changes on student learning
    4. Timeline for development, implementation, and assessment
    5. Plan for involvement of students as partners during the design/facilitation of the experiential learning opportunity
    6. Number of students affected by the project (please specify course(s)/programs in which the experiential learning opportunities will be available)
    7. Plan for relevant assessment of learning/impact of learning
    8. Detailed budget outline that indicates if additional funds are available and/or requested from other sources
    9. Plan for the sustainability of the experiential learning activity beyond the funding period
    10. Novelty/differentiation created for Western by the proposed activity

  3. Short Curriculum Vitae (4 pages maximum)

  4. Teaching Philosophy Statement (1 page maximum). The teaching philosophy statement should address the applicant’s approach to designing and facilitating experiential learning in the applicant’s discipline.

  5. Brief Statement of Support (250 words maximum) from the Program Chair/Director or Dean.

  6. Application Cover Sheet (.pdf/ .docx) with signatures of the Program Chair/Director and Dean.


If you have any questions, email ctl@uwo.ca.

Principles of Experiential Learning at Western


**Curricular Experiential Learning

Case based learning

A learning activity that involves groups of students examining a detailed, real life, authentic, or contextualized situation that requires the group to assess, evaluate, and respond with recommendations (e.g. Business 1220E Case Competition).

Community engaged learning

Students engage in a project, developed collaboratively with a community partner, that has mutually beneficial outcomes.

Alternating academic study with paid, supervised work terms. The total amount of a co-op is normally at least 30% of the time spent in academic study.

Creative, performance, physical practice

An experience that enables skill development through intensive practice or performance (e.g. studio course, performance-based course, movement modules).


A course that requires a student(s) to create and manage the development of a product or business idea.


A program of study whereby partner institutions establish a reciprocal agreement which enables students to register and study at the host partner institution with credit transferred back to the home institution. Program duration is one or two terms, a summer or short-term study period.

Faculty-led study abroad

A structured group learning activity under the supervision of a home-institution faculty member comprised of credit course(s). Educational activities are centered on a portion of learning taking place abroad, outside of the classroom.

Field Experience

An individual or group excursion that requires the student(s) to observe or engage in activities outside the traditional classroom (e.g. field trip, field school).

Independent Study Abroad

A program of study which enables students to register and study at a host institution with credit transferred back to the home institution. Program duration is one or two terms, a summer or short-term study period.

Industry Project

A course that involves students working with an external partner on a specific project to propose strategies that address an organizational challenge or idea (e.g. consulting project).

Internship (long-term)

A supervised, paid, full-time work experience extending beyond a single academic term.

Internship (short-term)

A supervised work experience during a single academic term. May be paid or unpaid.


A distinct course component that includes the self-directed hands-on application of course concepts in a controlled setting.

Practicum (or Placement)

A mandatory, supervised experience in a discipline in which practice-based experience may be required for professional licensure or certification.

Research/Scholarly Creation

A supervised/mentored project extending over at least a term, during which the student engages in original research or scholarly creation.


A learning exercise that mimics/simulates a real-world process or system (e.g. Faculty of Social Science model UN, School of Nursing Clinical Skills Lab, Faculty of Law moot court).

Resources from Western International on designing international experiential learning programs