Piedmont CompassPiedmont Faculty Approves Experiential Learning Program

At a recent assembly, the Piedmont College faculty approved a new co-curricular program that will record students' experiential learning.

Starting in fall 2013, under the new "Compass Program," students at the Demorest and Athens campuses during their four years of undergraduate studies will take part in a variety of learning experiences outside the classroom. The six points of the Compass include creativity and innovation, social ethics, leadership, cultural awareness, vocation, and service-learning.

Piedmont Chaplain Ashley Cleere said the experiences will encompass a wide assortment of projects, including science experiments, athletic pursuits, internships, travel, volunteerism, entrepreneurial activity, and artistic expression.

"Many of our students are already involved in projects suited for the Compass Program," Cleere said. "The creation of this program formalizes the process so that work outside the classroom garners recognition."  Cleere said students' achievements through the Compass Program will be included in their official college transcripts, making it easier for future graduate programs or employers to judge the value of their co-curricular efforts.

Each of the Compass endeavors will be approved by a faculty or staff sponsor who will oversee the work, Cleere said. At the end of each project, students will compose a paper describing what they learned from the experience.

"The role of the Compass Program is to acquaint students with individuals and contexts they may not otherwise encounter, and to develop an avenue for them to set goals, as well as reflect on insights gained and challenges faced," Cleere said. The program is being implemented gradually, with the upcoming fall freshmen being the first involved, she said.