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UNH President Kaplan Honored As National Leader in Experiential Education

Release Date:
10/31/2011 12:00 AM

UNH President Kaplan Honored As National Leader in Experiential Education

October 31, 2011

WEST HAVEN, CONN. --- University of New Haven President Steven H. Kaplan was awarded the William M. Burke Presidential Award for Experiential Education by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) at its recent conference in Dallas, Texas.

UNH is recognized as a national leader in experiential education and requires every undergraduate student to complete an internship, an academic service learning experience, international study or a faculty-mentored research project before graduation.

The award, the top honor given by the society, memorializes the late William Burke, founding president of the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars.  Burke established the center in 1975 with the dream of providing college students from the U.S. and around the globe access to academic internships in Washington, D.C.

“Dr. Kaplan was nominated for this award because of his vision and goal to enhance the academic experience of UNH students by creating and updating a strategic plan that supports a university-wide infrastructure for developing, monitoring and evaluating experiential learning opportunities.” James Walters, president of the NSEE, said.  “Dr. Kaplan enhanced the academic experience of students through faculty-mentored undergraduate research, immersion through work-integrated learning, academic service learning, study abroad and career services.  UNH also created an honor society for experiential learning, which has become a model for other universities.”

In nominating Kaplan for the prestigious award, UNH Associate Vice President for Retention L. Christie Boronico and UNH Associate Provost for International and Experiential Learning Jeremy Geller credited the president with supporting a university-wide infrastructure for developing, monitoring and evaluating experiential learning opportunities.

“Dr. Kaplan established the Center for Experiential Education at UNH soon after he arrived on campus and has helped it expand into one of the most influential centers in the Northeast,” said Judith Greiman, president of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, who endorsed Kaplan’s nomination. She noted that UNH shares its expertise with faculty and staff from other colleges by training them at UNH, saving them travel costs.

“In establishing the partnership on the campus of the University of New Haven which trains faculty and staff from interested universities …Dr. Kaplan enabled his institution to provide a service to universities throughout the Northeast region...  empowering a great number of learners to embrace the skills and knowledge needed for success programs on their own campuses,” she said.

The award was presented at the 40th annual conference of the NSEE on Oct. 21.  NSEE is a nonprofit membership association of educators and business and community leaders founded in 1971 to provide a national resource center for the development and improvement of experiential education programs nationwide.

A leader in experiential education, the University of New Haven provides its students with a valuable combination of solid liberal arts and real-world, hands-on professional training. Founded in 1920, UNH is a private, top-tier comprehensive university with an 82-acre main campus. The university has an enrollment of nearly 6,400: approximately 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates, 70 percent of whom reside in university housing. The university offers 75 undergraduate and graduate degrees through the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, the Tagliatela College of Engineering and University College. University of New Haven students study abroad through a variety of distinctive programs.