EL Team Members

The Experiential-Learning (EL) Team promotes Real-World Ready activities, mentors faculty and students, and presents training workshops.

Jack Bedell Lily Brooks

Jack B. Bedell, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Coordinator, Programs in Creative Writing
Editor, Louisiana Literature
Director, Louisiana Literature Press

Current Louisiana Poet Laureate

Lily Brooks
Instructor of Photography
Photography Area Coordinator

Tonyalea Elam

 Kellen Gilbert

Tonyalea Elam, MSW, LMSW
Assoc. Child Welfare Coordinator/Instructor
Dept. of Health & Human Sciences
Social Work Program

Kellen Gilbert, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology
The Woman's Hospital Professor

Amber Narro

 Mohammad Saadeh
Amber J. Narro, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Undergraduate Coordinator
Dept. of Languages and Communication
Coordinator for Online Learning

Mohammad Saadeh, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Engineering Technology
Engineering Technology Coordinator

Elizabeth Sanders  Cherissa Vitter
Elizabeth Sanders, MLIS
LS 102 Coordinator
Reference/Instruction Librarian
Cherissa Vitter
International Baccalaureate Coordinator
Department of Teaching and Learning
Teacher Resident Site Coordinator


Join our Lunch N Learns:

November 8, 2017, 12:30 p.m., Student Union 2202
Amber Narro and Cherissa Vitter 
EL Online: How to Create a Virtual Real-World Experience
February 7, 2018, 12:30 p.m., Student Union 2202
Elizabeth Sanders, Growth-Oriented Mindset in Experiential Learning
Lily Brooks, Millennials/Generation Z: Technology, Creativity, and Experience
March 6, 2018, 12:30 p.m., Student Union 2202   
Kellen Gilbert, Study Abroad as Experiential Learning
Tonyalea Elam, Impacts of Service Learning
April 11, 2018, 11 a.m., Student Union 2202
Mohammad Saadeh, Internships: Bill of Rights and Responsibilities 
Jack Bedell,  Using E-Portfolios for Student Self-Reflection and Archiving of EL Experiences
RSVP to RealWorldReady@southeastern.edu


The EL Team and The National Society for Experiential Education

National Society for Experiential Education

Southeastern Louisiana University is a member of the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE). This society, founded in 1971, sponsors an annual conference to “bring together experiential educators who aspire to provide intentional, effective, and educationally focused experiences to our students in an ever increasingly connected global environment.” Southeastern's membership is maintained by the Office of Experiential Learning and provides for EL Team attendance of the annual NSEE conference.

National Society for Experiential EducationInformation and experiences learned at the conference are brought back by the EL Team and presented at four faculty lunches each academic year. These presentations spread and maximize the benefit and impact of the conference experience to Southeastern’s faculty.

Every year, the conference offers a number of pre-conference workshops on a variety of critical aspects closely related to experiential learning. The workshops treat topics such as Fundamentals Of Experiential Education; Strengthening Experiential Education Within an Institution; Strategic Planning For Effective Experiential Education Program Design; Reflection; Identifying, Understanding & Applying Outcomes for Assessment of Experiential Learning; Legal Issues In Internships & Experiential Education; Creating Quality Internships; and Principles Of Ethical & Best Practice For Experiential Educators.

National Society for Experiential EducationNational Society for Experiential Education

NSEE events offer information on trends of experiential education practices and the evolution in the way educators think about these practices. Dr. Tia Brown McNair, one of the keynote speakers of the 2016 conference, spoke about “Making Excellence Inclusive through Experiential Learning: Intentionality, Innovation, and Implementation.” One of the messages of her speech was a call for a shift in the thinking of “availability” of education. The -now well-established- idea of “opportunity” for learning must evolve to “inclusion” of students as “intentional” learners. The concept of “equality” of education should perhaps evolve to one for “equity” of education. Whether or not ideas and proposals regarding future education trends and practices gain momentum to become the next transformational levers, one thing is certain: educators brought together in forums such as this conference can obtain a view of what is brewing and collectively help promote or evolve the trends.

EL Team comments on NSEE conference and the valuable lessons they have brought back to Southeastern for the benefit of the Real-World Ready (RWR) initiative:

Holly Kihm: “The NSEE was a valuable experience for me. I learned how different colleges and universities have developed their RWR programs. It was interesting to compare large programs, who mandate student RWR experiences as a graduation requirement, to smaller programs, who have a few, but strong, experiences available for students. I also learned there are several ways to assess RWR experiences. From sophisticated computer programs, to simple evaluation forms, the programs who have implemented assessment components have found user-friendly ways for it to work with their programs. Most importantly, I spent time with faculty from other universities simply talking about the RWR programs on our campuses. We have shared resources with each other, and keep in contact with new ideas or supportive materials that may be helpful.”

Elizabeth Sanders: “Two areas really stuck with me after the NSEE conference.  One was the importance of reflection as a means of transferring information between experiences.  I had always seen the value of reflection for building immediate connections, but not necessarily for lifelong learning. The other area was how much effort people are putting into assessment. I didn't know much about assessment prior to going to the conference, so seeing all the different forms of assessment and their goals was eye opening to me. I think the best experience from the NSEE conference was the opportunity to represent academic librarians. Academic libraries can serve as physical settings for experiential activities, collaborators on projects, or supporters of classes overall. In sharing some of what we have done in Sims Memorial Library and my role on the EL team, I felt like I was offering another form of outreach to programs who might benefit from investigating those venues at their own institutions.”

Lily Brooks: “At the conference, I found myself thinking about the experiential-learning exercises I do in my classroom in a different way. The workshops I attended helped me generate ideas about how to use reflective writing more deliberately as way to assess the success of hands on learning and to reinforce lessons in my students' minds. As a fine arts educator, I also enjoyed meeting faculty and staff members from across the country who are engaged in disparate areas of research, such as science, foreign languages, and architecture, but have overlapping learning outcomes for their students.”

Deborah McCarthy: “What impressed me was Southeastern's attempt to bring EL to every college on campus at some level. The round table discussions at the conference allowed the team to meet educators who shared their methods of incorporating EL at their universities.”

Cristina Molina: “Through its specifically designed workshops, the NSEE conference provided helpful advice on the ethical considerations, professional concerns, and guidelines for creating meaningful internship programs.  After taking the workshop, I felt better prepared to pursue designing an internship in my area.”

Mohammad Saadeh: This year was my first NSEE conference to attend, and I was particularly interested in the internships since the department of Computer Science and Industrial Technology has an internship program. I attended several workshops; however one of them was specifically very important to me. The presenter prepared a bill of rights for internship programs. He discussed the rights and duties for each party involved in a coherent way; the internship site, the intern, and the school . I found his workshop very useful as it provides a road map, with written expectations, to guarantee a successful internship experience. I noticed at the conference the limited number of STEM educators, thus majority of the sessions were not STEM oriented. However, I was able to relate the experiences of other educators to my discipline and find areas within my classes where these experiences can be applied.