4.71 – Experiential Learning Component for NMSU Academic Programs

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Scope: NMSU - Las Cruces

Source: ARP Chapter 4 | Curriculum and Course Management

Responsible Executive: President

Responsible Administrator:

Last Updated: 10/10/2017



Revision History:

08/31/2023 Title change from "provost and senior vice president for academic affairs" to "provost and chief academic officer"
Recompilation, Formerly Rule 6.67 

10/10/2017 Implemented  by Chancellor




This rule supports efforts to promote and expand experiential learning in the curriculum across NMSU’s undergraduate degree programs.  Through this rule, departments are encouraged to include purposeful experiential learning activities and opportunities in their baccalaureate degree programs.



Experiential learning is defined as learning that occurs as a result of personal experience, during which students apply knowledge and conceptual understanding to a real or simulated situation associated with an academic program and guided by a faculty member. (See UT-Austin Center for Teaching and Learning) – (Center for Teaching and Learning)  Examples of experiential learning activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Traditional internships, residencies and co-ops that can be tracked by the completion of a course or through a non-credit bearing co-op tracked through the NMSU Office of Career Services. Activities performed at for-profit partner organizations should be paid;
  2. Creative artistic efforts, including studio art, performance art, theatrical performances and productions, and exhibits;
  3. Students working in on or off campus labs or in teams under the mentorship of a faculty member or research staff person with similar credentials. Determination of what constitutes laboratory formats and activities that qualify as experiential learning should be made by faculty in the relevant department;
  4. Problem solving exercises in class that fit the definition above:
  5. Formal externally or internally sponsored programs that provide specific opportunities for students to engage in faculty mentored research activities. Specific examples of this include the following (this list is not all inclusive):
    1. CURE – Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (National Science Foundation program for Research Coordination Networks in Undergraduate Biology Education – (Research Coordination Networks in Undergraduate Biology Education (RCN-UBE)),
    2. Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC), a special research training support activity of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (http://marc.nmsu.edu/), and
    3. NMSU’s Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program 
  6. Field research and other field experiences conducted under the mentorship of a faculty member or research staff person with similar credentials;
  7. Capstone projects conducted under the mentorship of a faculty member or research staff person with similar credentials;
  8. Service learning work being done for nonprofit organizations under the supervision of a faculty member;
  9. Documented service as a member of the active duty military;
  10. Clinical experiences and practicums;
  11. Student teaching activities; and
  12. Senior and honors theses.



The following principles apply in the integration of experiential learning in undergraduate baccalaureate programs:

  1. All experiential learning opportunities should be supervised by NMSU faculty or similarly qualified faculty or staff at off-site research locations.
  2. Experiential learning is an applied knowledge endeavor, and the results of experiential learning activities should include reflections by the student that discuss activities, outcomes, and knowledge gained.
  3. Faculty are best suited to define and structure the appropriate activities for their disciplines. The definition of these activities should be handled at the degree program/departmental level. A central IT database should be maintained, where programs and departments should document and track these activities.
  4. Departments should also determine how experiential learning activities are included in distance education classes and programs.
  5. Catalog language should be developed at the degree program level to ensure that appropriate experiential learning activities and requirements are documented in requirements for the degree.



To gain the widest participation reasonable by baccalaureate degree granting departments, all such departments should respond to this rule by communication to their relevant College Dean and to the provost and chief academic officer concerning the status of the department’s efforts to incorporate experiential learning in each undergraduate degree program, specifically addressing the following:

  1. Documenting current experiential learning activities that are consistent with the definition noted above,
  2. Describing the development of new activities/classes that provide experiential learning experiences consistent with the definition noted above, and/or
  3. Providing an explanation of a finding that experiential learning activities have been determined to be inappropriate, ineffective, or unnecessary, and will not be included in a particular undergraduate degree program’s requirements, or the relevant sections of the university catalog.