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Experiential Learning

Education Webinar 2021

Hosted by Canadian Association of Sociology of Education (CASE) and Canadian Sociological Association (CSA) Sociology of Education Research Cluster.

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Presentation #1: Emerson Lacroix, University of Waterloo

Organizational complexities of experiential education: Institutionalization and logic work in higher education

Universities continue to experience pressure to prepare work-ready graduates. In Ontario, this has recently taken the form of new provincial funding metrics which include experiential education. This places more formal pressure on all provincial universities to foster experiential education. This study focuses on the organizational dynamics within a selected university as it developed an Experiential Education Certificate (EEC). Using a qualitative approach, this case study relies on multiple methods. Content analysis was used to analyze textual data that framed the EEC. Semi-structured interviews (n = 12) with institutional actors were used to analyze how experiential education is framed administratively and practiced at the technical level of the university. Although the EEC reflected a management logic, it was not fully aligned with the academic logic of ground-level technical actors (e.g., professors). Institutionalizing experiential education has implications for multiple logics at play within universities and thus requires more “logic work” of those working within. This exploratory study lays the groundwork for further theorizing experiential education from an organizational perspective, namely, studying experiential education across disciplines, theorizing at the field level, and including administrators.

Emerson Lacroix is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies at the University of Waterloo. Using organizational theory and qualitative research methods, Emerson’s doctoral research examines the institutionalization of experiential education in Ontario universities, and the organizational complexities of this process.

Presentation #2: Dr. Alison Taylor, University of British Columbia

“Being there”: Rhythmic diversity and working students

Although universities promote undergraduate degrees as journeys of exploration and reflection, they are also viewed pragmatically by students and others as investments of time and money in future professional careers. This paper draws from a study of 57 second-year students at a research-intensive university in Canada to explore subjective dimensions of time, with particular focus on the rhythms of school and work in students’ everyday lives. Interview data suggest that most students value and expect to work hard, now and in the future, although their backgrounds influence their perceptions of the kind of hard work required, the returns on hard work, and the certainty that hard work will pay off. Students are thus future-oriented, and participation in term-time work is seen as a way of training for future work lives. This training involves adapting bodies to the temporal logics and rhythms of university studies and workplaces. The interplay of rhythms is experienced by some students as harmonious or ‘eurhythmic,’ and by others as discordant or ‘arrhythmic.’ Students’ experiences of eurhythmia and arrhythmia are related to differences in their work and studies, but also to differences in their time horizons and value calculations, which in turn, are related to differences in family backgrounds and resources. I contend that understanding students’ sense-making in regard to chrono-logics and work-school rhythms is important for building a more expansive vision for higher education that supports human flourishing.

Dr. Alison Taylor is a Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia. She is the PI for the Hard Working Student research study.


Cathlene Hillier, PhD, OCT
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education, Crandall University
Co-Chair, Canadian Sociological Association – Sociology of Education

Alana Butler, PhD
Assistant Professor, Queen’s University
Co-Chair, Canadian Sociological Association – Sociology of Education

Ee-Seul Yoon, PhD
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba
President, Canadian Association of Sociology of Education