Experiential Learning Praxis: 

Exploring Transformation and Creativity Through Higher Education

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An Experiential Learning Conference

Sponsored by Sixth College, University of California, San Diego

Organizers: Diane Forbes Berthoud, Practicum Director, Sixth College; Shelley Streeby, Interim Director of Academic Programs; and Daniel Donoghue, Sixth College Provost.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Cross Cultural Center, UC San Diego


The conference will focus on the ways in which experiential learning pedagogies and practice can prepare us to address complex social problems and lead in an increasingly volatile and polarizing environment.   We are particularly interested in panels that address contemporary social and political dilemmas, and the ways in which experiential learning best practices, challenges and recommendations can address them.  Some questions to guide proposals are:  In what ways can experiential learning pedagogies address complex social problems?   What course or program designs are most effective in preparing students to understand and address the complexities of our modern society?  What syllabi, programs and proposals can we develop that prepare us to address these pervasive concerns? 

2016 Conference Schedule

Read More about the Conference

In the past year, cities such as Ferguson, Chicago, Cleveland, and Baltimore have been the focus of many debates around issues of social justice, civil rights, freedom of speech, community activism and leadership effectiveness.   In the last few months, higher education institutions throughout the U.S. have also experienced heightened tensions around equity, free speech, civility, leadership, and student activism.  We have seen unprecedented protests and demands on colleges campuses and in our broader society, as various communities face complex social, economic and political issues and challenge structural inequities and challenges.  As we collectively grapple with these complicated and pervasive problems, responses often reflect polarity, a collective struggle for dialogue, confusion and apathy.

Research has shown that experiential learning and pedagogies can increase civic engagement, higher order skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, synthesis and a deeper understanding and engagement of information from classroom and social contexts.   Through effective experiential learning methods, students learn to examine and impact structural and institutional factors related to complex social issues than would be the case if they remained in the lecture halls.   

Higher education is poised to play a leadership role in preparing students to analyze, critically examine, and respond to the complicated issues of our time.   Through well-designed and creative pedagogies, universities can educate and prepare the next generation of leaders to be at the forefront of the debates and needed change, and thrive in an increasingly complex world.

We invite scholars, practitioners, instructors, and community members  to join us in an interdisciplinary dialogue about the role of experiential learning to better prepare and position our students and larger communities to be more engaged in and responsive to our contemporary social issues.  We invite those who would like to propose or share courses and programs that actively engage learners in complicated discourses, concepts, and praxis.   There will be a few sessions dedicated to the practice of experiential designs and methods with conference attendees, so that attendees can experience active learning methods such as the practice of dialogue, conflict resolution, leadership development, and other methods in person.

Hotel Information

If you are traveling from out-of-town to San Diego, there are many hotels who partner with UC San Diego to offer group and discounted rates. Please refer to La Jolla & San Diego Resources for lodging, dining, and other services close to the UC San Diego campus.

The Marriott Residence Inn has rates starting at $199 per night.


  • Walking distance to UCSD campus, shops, restaurants and theaters
  • Complimentary hot breakfast buffet daily
  • Complimentary light dinner Monday through Thursday
  • All luxury hotel amenities (pool, spa, fitness center, cable TV)
  • All suites include full kitchen with utensils
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Laundry facilities
  • Airport shuttle for a discounted fee (check with hotel)
  • High-speed internet
  • Complimentary local area shuttle
  • Pets welcome (extra cost)

Things to Consider

  • If you want to share a suite, you have to find your own roommate.
  • There is one queen bed and one pull-out bed in the studio suites (no twin beds). If you are going to share with a friend, you have to share the bed, or one person has to sleep on the pull-out bed.
  • You must follow the hotel rules.

The Clarion - Del Mar Inn Hotel has special UCSD rates beginning at $99.99 - $199.99 per night.


  • Located in Del Mar
  • Free shuttle transportation to and from campus to accommodate UC San Diego campus class schedule
  • Convenient public bus transportation to and from campus
  • Bistro C Café open for breakfast and dinner daily
  • All luxury hotel amenities (pool, jacuzzi, fitness center, cable TV)
  • Short walk to the beach, shops and restaurants
  • Coin-operated laundry room
  • Rooms with kitchens and kitchen utensils, as available; microwaves and refrigerators at no extra charge.

Things to Consider

  • 10-minute drive by car from campus
  • Lunch and dinner not included

(information taken from UCSD Extension Program)

Individual and Panel Proposals accepted. 

Individual Proposals

Provide a 250- to 300-word abstract of the proposed paper and include a one-sentence description of the paper for the conference program.

Submit Individual Proposal


Provide a 350- to 400-word abstract of the panel, the panel title, and the paper titles. Also include a one sentence description of your panel and of each paper for the conference program. Provide a chair/respondent, if possible.

Submit Panel Proposal

For further information, please contact eduinaction@ucsd.edu