COPLAC Annual Meeting 2016

COPLAC’s 28th Annual Meeting was held June 28-30 on Experiential and Project-Based Learning. Representatives from 27 member campuses gathered at Southern Utah University (SUU) in Cedar City, Utah to collaborate, share knowledge and advance the work of COPLAC.

Additionally, Ellen Pearson, COPLAC Digital Co-Principal Investigator and UNC Asheville professor, presented the progress of the COPLAC Digital project to the Board. Cole Woodcox of Truman State University and Mark Long of Keene State College will be teaching “Public Access and the Liberal Arts: A Narrative History” in Fall 2016 under the project.

The COPLAC Board unanimously voted to accept the consortium’s 30th member, Johnson State College. President Elaine Collins of Johnson State College was welcomed by the Board with a COPLAC member t-shirt and asked to join the meeting.

Faculty from 8 COPLAC campuses presented projects and best practices for incorporating experiential learning into liberal arts classrooms in a variety of subjects. Topics ranged from “Blueprints for Success: Assessing Internships and Service Learning Across Disciplines and Community Contexts,” presented by Michelle Bettencourt and Kathie C. Garbe of UNC Asheville to “Application and Immersion in Health Science Curricula” presented by Janice Clark and Alicia Wodika of Truman State University. Faculty were able to learn from their peers’ experiences and discuss ways to adapt new practices at their home institutions.

Meeting attendees had the opportunity to visit the The Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), SUU’s newest addition to the stunning Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts. Exhibits by local artists and SUU students covered the walls of the museum. Students at SUU not only can display their work in the gallery, but also learn about the process of running and organizing a museum, which is one of the many ways SUU incorporates experiential learning into its curriculum. At the end of the SUMA tour, participants shared challenges and opportunities related to high-impact learning practice in a workshop led by Dr. Todd Petersen, Director of SUU’s EDGE Project-Based Learning Program.

The Southern Utah Shakespeare Festival was a special treat for participants to attend in the evenings. Henry V, The Three Musketeers, and Much Ado About Nothing were performed in the new Engelstad Shakespeare Theater, modeled after Elizabethan theatres.

To wrap up the meeting, participants explored the natural wonders of Zion National Park at Kolob Canyon. SUU is known as “The university of the parks” for its proximity to many national parks, monuments, and recreation areas.

The 2017 COPLAC Annual Meeting will be hosted at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania.



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