College launches Experiential Learning Institute

TRAVERSE CITY — Northwestern Michigan College announced today it will launch a new institute devoted to experiential learning and community engagement. 

Experiential learning provides learners real world and hands-on opportunities preparing them for an ever-changing and diverse world. The purpose of experiential learning is to actively engage the learner through relevant and ongoing experience, critical problem solving and reflective practices. Learners who engage in experiential learning are more likely to persist through their college experience, graduate, and become lifelong, self-directed learners.

The Experiential Learning Institute is the next step in more formal college efforts to expand experiential learning college-wide, which began in 2016. It will collaborate with both on-campus and community stakeholders to engage students and the community, locally, nationally and globally. The Institute will connect the community and NMC by seeking creative partnerships, serving ongoing community needs, and preparing learners for future employment. 

Kristy McDonald, director, said, “Experiential learning is important because students grow not only in their intellectual capacity but also personally, professionally, and civically. They have a greater capacity for empathy and compassion in the way they see themselves and the world.”

McDonald and several other faculty and staff have earned certification from the Experiential Education Academy, part of the New Jersey-based National Society for Experiential Education.

Sharing his enthusiastic support for this new initiative, NMC President Timothy J. Nelson said, “I’m excited about the outcomes we will see as our students combine doing with learning.  The institute formalizes what many of our faculty and staff have done and embeds it through the college.”

Release date: April 4, 2019

For more information:

Kristy McDonald
Director, Experiential Learning Institute and Business Instructor
(231) 995-1059 


Northwestern Michigan College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, disability, genetic information, height, weight, marital status or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.