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National Society for Experiential Education Newsletter
April 2021

Message from NSEE’s Board of Directors
Marianna Savoca, Ph.D.
NSEE President

As we enter Spring, I am thinking about what Spring represents: renewal, rebirth, hope. After a dark 2020, we need renewal and hope more than ever. Perhaps, too, we need to refocus on what’s truly important, on how we view and treat others, and ways we will be different in 2021 and beyond. Not a return at all, but a rebirth of F2F, with hope and a renewed commitment for being the change we want in the world.

For me, some things have not changed: my passion for my work and students; my admiration and appreciation for my team and colleagues; my growth-mindset and interest in continuous learning and development; my excitement about opportunities to do and be better; my willingness to go above and beyond; my daily gratitude. And while my positivity was challenged often this past year, I worked hard to maintain it in the face of the fear, uncertainty, anxiety, and suffering. My faith and attitude of gratitude helped.  

Moreover, my vision for NSEE has not changed. As I shared during remarks at our 2020 Virtual Conference, we need to open our Society’s arms to more experiential educators from different backgrounds, cultures, and countries to create a true global community that can effect systemic change. 

What has changed? NSEE has! We are making great progress, including: 

  • Adding a Board of Directors position dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  • Revising the Experiential Education Academy (EEA) to include inclusive reading and practices, and transforming its delivery into a robust, virtual cohort model that has received rave reviews. 
  • Hosting NSEE’s first Diversity Town Hall to provide a safe space for colleagues to share, be heard, and be supported. 
  • Supporting a call for submissions for a special issue of Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education (ELTHE) in fall 2021: Exploring the Relationship between Experiential Learning and Social, Economic, Environmental, and Racial Justice.  
  • Creating the NSEE Fellows program for aspiring scholars. 
  • Developing new partnerships to scale best practices and access to experiential educators across the globe, notably our collaboration with OneHE. 
  • Working on strategic and more frequent communications with our members, and exploring opportunities for more member engagement.
  • Consulting with multi-institutional grant teams seeking to incorporate EEA Certification into their faculty development programs.
  • Preparing for an amazing 50th anniversary celebration conference coming in September.  

When I think of all the contributions made over the last several months to sustain our Society and support the members of our EE community, I am truly humbled and ever grateful.  

So, as Spring is upon us, let us renew ourselves in our work, for our students, families, communities, and for our world. Let us come together to support each other, create solutions, scale access to the best of NSEE and experiential education around the globe, and let us leverage all the learnings we are taking from this challenging year as we become the change we want to see in the world. 

Yours in Service, 

Marianna Savoca 

NSEE Annual Conference Updates
Edwin Blanton, Ph.D. & Kristina Phillips, Ed.D.

Conference Planning Committee Co-Chairs


Over the past several months, the NSEE Conference Planning Committee has been working diligently to plan NSEE’s 50th annual conference. Yes, it’s our 50th, our Golden Anniversary! The conference is scheduled for September 27-29, 2021 at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Our conference theme is Celebrating 50 Years: Experiential Education in an Ever-Changing World.  

NSEE is planning for an on-site event. The safety of our members and attendees is of the utmost importance. Given the ongoing developments and advancements in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, it will become increasingly safer to attend in-person gatherings in the six months until our conference.  

Here are some updates about what the committee has been working on: 

  • The conference Call for Proposals was announced in December 2020 and proposals were due January 31, 2021. Each proposal was evaluated by three independent reviewers. Reviewers scored proposals on clarity, relevance, outcomes, and interactivity. Average scores were tabulated and the top-scoring proposals were selected for inclusion in the 2021 Conference Program. 
  • Each February, the committee meets for two days following the review of proposals to plan the conference program. A total of six hours over two days was spent on Zoom together! 
  • Finalists for our keynote speaker are under review, and we hope to announce our selection soon! 
  • NSEE Awards nominations were due on March 5. The nominations are currently under review by the Awards Committee. Award recipients are celebrated each year during the annual conference. 
  • The committee met with some of the early pioneers of our society including Dwight Giles (University of Massachusetts-Boston) and Tim Stanton (Stanford University) to discuss how we can commemorate our 50th Anniversary. We shared some exciting ideas that we will develop over the coming months.  

Lastly, A CALL TO ACTION in support of the conference: 

  • If you have photos (or other digital artifacts) from previous NSEE conferences, please submit them here.
  • Our sponsor brochure is updated and ready! If you know of anyone who might be interested in sponsoring and or exhibiting at this year’s conference, please share this link!  

In the 1960s, Walt Disney imagined EPCOT to be a living blueprint of the future. As we join together this coming September in Orlando, maybe we can work together to innovate and create our own experiential prototype community of tomorrow (EPCOT)! We hope to see you there!

Experiential Education Academy (EEA) Updates
Shara Lee, Ed.D.
Board Member & Chair of the EEA Committee


NSEE continues to explore ways to strengthen the EEA experience to deliver valuable professional development workshops to individuals and institutions. Some of our recent initiatives include:  

  • Introduce virtual workshop delivery to strengthen access. NSEE had been considering a delivery model that would allow easier access to workshops, and the pandemic gave us cause to make quick decisions. The EEA faculty partnered with a Faculty Developer/Instructional Designer from Valencia College, Sam Meyers, to ensure we moved content with a careful eye toward differences in platform design and delivery between face-to-face and virtual synchronous models. The virtual model has received very positive reviews due to the participant engagement and ease of use fostered by our faculty in the virtual environment. Participants have shared that they were “worried about being in a Zoom-based workshop for 3.5 hours but the time passed quite quickly” and that the workshops were “extremely organized which helped me focus on the content and activities.” 
  • Introduce cohort models to strengthen depth of material engagement. In conjunction with the first virtual workshop offerings in Fall 2020, the EEA explored a new cohort model. All of the workshops needed for EEA certification were provided one per week over six weeks. The model provided the opportunity to deepen the learning by connecting workshops through reading and reflection prompts, and giving faculty and participants a space to engage with each other throughout and beyond the cohort through Slack. After the cohort completed all six workshops, a follow-up gathering was hosted with the EEA faculty and participants as a means to reflect on the experience and engage as a community of practitioners. 
  • Redesign of the Legal Issues workshop to strengthen content design and delivery. The Legal Issues workshop, which is required to earn the EEA certification, was redesigned with the recognition that many of our EEA participants are not legal experts. Instead, the focus is on providing practitioner staff and faculty enough tools and knowledge to have awareness of legal issues and when it may be appropriate to seek out legal expertise and support through their institutions. Participants from the redesigned Legal Issues workshop noted it contained “great materials and examples” and that the “information regarding diversity/Title IX in the workplace and legal ramifications were perfect.” 

If you are interested in enrolling in EEA workshops, please watch for announcements regarding new offerings. For certain, additional workshops open to the public will be available in Fall around the time of NSEE’s annual conference.

Student Spotlight

Jamie Shultz
Southeast Missouri State University
B.S. Hospitality Management / Harrison College of Business and Computing

Jamie Shultz Picture

 Jamie is currently completing an internship at Kirkwood Mountain Resorts in Kirkwood, CA as a ticket scanning lead from December 4, 2020 until April  11, 2021.

Jamie’s initial for her internship was to improve her leadership and communication skills. “I have done this but have gained so much more than expected while working at Kirkwood. I was promoted from a ticket scanning associate to ticket scanning lead. This promotion has taught me so much that I can take with me after my internship.”  

Jamie learned new skills for her career through the internship, and it provided her with a new hobby. “I have learned how to ride a snowboard. I started the season having never touched a snowboard to now riding on expert slopes. Falling in love with riding is something I never expected to receive from this internship. I get to ride every day on the job and practice my skills on the board. It is such a fun bonus to the job!” 

Overall, Jamie has found the experience at Kirkwood Mountain Resorts to be rewarding. ”I am so grateful for the experiences I have had at the resort so far. I look forward to what is to come during the rest of my time at Kirkwood!” 

NSEE Members: Put the spotlight on a student, group, or course that engaged in an experiential learning opportunity during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Complete this brief proposal form to tell NSEE about students we should feature!

Upcoming Events


NSEE’s FREE Community of Practice Event
Registration Closed 

NSEE invites all NSEE members and prospective members to join us for our first Community of Practice event of 2021 on Thursday, April 15 at 4:00PM ET.  Our topic will be “HOW DO WE MOVE FORWARD--SHARING BEST PRACTICES IN EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION.” The hour will include thoughtful conversation, idea sharing, and reflection on lessons learned from this past year and how we can best move forward. 

Student Activism as a High-Impact Practice
Click here to register 

Join the National Society for Experiential Education for a FREE town hall discussion on "Student Activism as a High-Impact Practice" on April 28, 2021 at 12:00pm ET. This town hall will highlight how experiential educators can encourage and empower students to get more involved in their education and community through activism, including embedding activism in traditional experiential opportunities such as internships, service learning, and capstone projects. 

NSEE’s 50th Annual Conference
Registration Opening Soon  

NSEE’s 50th Annual Conference will be held on Monday, September 27 to Wednesday, September 29, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. The conference theme is “Celebrating 50 Years: Experiential Education in an Ever-Changing World.” For additional details, visit the conference page on NSEE’s website.

Calls for Submissions, Proposals, and Nominations

Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education (ELTHE) Fall 2021 Issue
Proposals Due May 1, 2021
     Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education (ELTHE) has a call for proposals for its Fall 2021 issue: Exploring the Relationship between Experiential Learning and Social, Economic, Environmental, and Racial Justice.   

NSEE Student Spotlight Proposals
Proposals Ongoing
     NSEE invites members to submit a proposal to feature a student, group, or course that has engaged in an experiential learning opportunity. Complete this brief proposal form to tell NSEE about students we should feature! 

NSEE Student Spotlight Proposals
Submissions Due June 1, 2021
     NSEE invites submissions of pictures and artifacts from previous NSEE conferences to be used during our 50th Annual Conference. For more information and to submit materials, visit this form.

Last Updated on Friday, April 16, 2021 01:44 PM