Our View: New ELR requirement gives students upper hand in careers?

DKS Editors

Beginning in Fall 2012, Kent State undergraduates will have to fulfill an extra requirement before graduating.

Faculty Senate passed the Experiential Learning Requirement with an 18-15 vote after denying it last October. The goal is to have each student gain real-world, hands-on experience in his or her field before graduation.

We applaud Faculty Senate for this decision. It is a valuable addition to the academic side of what we gain at Kent State.

The ELR can be fulfilled in a plethora of ways — internships, recitals, clinical research, original writing projects, student teaching, study abroad/away programs and many others. (See Faculty Senate passes new requirement for graduation).

A large portion of learning happens outside the four walls of a classroom, and it is about time this is recognized.

Some programs already require students to have an internship before earning a degree. Many majors in the College of Communication and Information require them as well as several majors in the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising.

Expanding this to all majors will produce more marketable and well-rounded students. It is a way to understand the field a student is working toward.

For some majors, this will be a significantly more difficult requirement to meet, but equally as important. Fortunately, students are bound to find an option that works for their interest on the extensive list of things that fulfill the ELR.

Gaining more knowledge through a hands-on experience in a field will give a Kent State alum a competitive edge in the job market upon graduating.

It is a win-win situation. The university will gain a stronger reputation for training its students, employers will be able to hire more knowledgeable graduates and students will be a step ahead in their career.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.