Road trip: Fall TLC students learn off-campus

Photo of a gasoline pump handleThe Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning’s 17 Themed Learning Communities (TLCs) have been getting out of the classroom and hitting the road to connect their educational lessons to real life experiences.

A TLC consists of two to three general education courses taken in conjunction to examine a common theme across the disciplines. Faculty members create integrative assignments that require students to draw on concepts from other TLC classes to enhance their first-year learning experience.

One hundred and 44 first-year students attended 10 field trips this semester. Most field trips met during scheduled class time with certain trips lasting a few hours while some met on alternate days, showing just how dedicated Huskie students are to their TLC experience. Each TLC is assigned one peer leader to help guide first-year students through their course work and help them make social connections on campus

Getting an early start this semester, the Pre-Medicine TLC arranged a trip to go to Hy-Vee to speak with their local nutritionist the learn about how to maintain a nutritionally balanced diet as well as understand how nutrition relates to pre-medicine, which is a future aspiration for most of these TLC students.

This TLC did not stop there. Later in the semester these future doctors took a trip to Kishwaukee Hospital to visit its facilities. Students met with a radiologist who spoke with them about hospital equipment, how to work toward employment in the medicine field and what they can expect working as a medical professional.

Pre-Medicine was not the only TLC admitted to a hospital this semester. The Exploring Health Majors TLC visited Delnor Hospital in Geneva, where students got a chance to see how a hospital works on a daily basis. They met with doctors, nurses and other hospital technicians to understand their work and how their class work in fundamentals of oral communication, chemistry and university experience apply to the profession.

Students in a Fall 2013 TLC prepare to board the bus.

The Business and Society TLC ventured out of the state for a chance at experiential learning. These students took a trip to the Wisconsin State Capitol. They received a tour, learned some of the Wisconsin capitol’s rich history and connected basic business principals to events and the daily functions of the capitol.

The Making Your Case for Law School TLC attended two field trips this semester. The first was to the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore, where students got a chance to tour the building and interact with law officials. They learned what steps they need to take to succeed in the law field and received tips on how to study for the LSAT and how to apply to law schools in the future.

The second trip this TLC took was to shadow a law class at the NIU College of Law and speak to a panel of current law students. TLC students received a chance to observe a real law class and got a chance to interact with law students to learn about their experience so far.

feed 'em soup logoThe Everyone Can be a Change Maker TLC ventured to Feed’em Soup, a local non-profit organization dedicated to providing nutritious free meals to community members in need. These students visited the organization and spoke with Executive Director Derek Gibbs and Executive Chef Alex Smith to understand the trials of running a non-profit organization.

The Making a Difference: Service in Society TLC got a look into the world of non-profit as well. This TLC visited the Rockford chapter of the Northern Illinois Food Bank, where students got to understand the organization’s structure and many important aspects of running a non-profit organization. Furthermore, students learned about important issues such as hunger in the northern Illinois community and ways they can help those in need with their education.

The Conflict and Creativity: Impact of War on Art TLC took a trip to Chicago to visit the National Veterans Art Museum. Students received a tour of the museum, looking at the many pieces of art that showcased how conflicts such as World War II and the Vietnam War impacted artists’ messages and works. Students had a chance to try on a full soldier’s uniform to understand the weight troops carried.

The final field trip taken this semester was by the Major Exploration TLC. This TLC took part in etiquette training. Etiquette training was important for these students because while they are still exploring majors, proper manners will enable them to go anywhere.

For more information, call (815) 753-8154 or email engage@niu.edu.

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