Experiential Learning and Critical Reflection are incorporated across the University of Puget Sound curriculum. Faculty incorporate these “high impact practices” to challenge and motivate Puget Sound students to higher proficiency, deeper understanding of self and others, and successful transference of skills to new applications (Kuh, 2008). Critical reflection is central to meeting the University’s mission for all Puget Sound students: “A Puget Sound education, both academic and cocurricular, encourages a rich knowledge of self and others; an appreciation of commonality and difference; the full, open, and civil discussion of ideas; thoughtful moral discourse; and the integration of learning, preparing the university's graduates to meet the highest tests of democratic citizenship (University of Puget Sound Mission Statement).”
Many students participate in high-impact practices outside the formal curriculum. Internships, study abroad, leadership and participation in student groups, and work in the community are experiences which benefit from critical reflection. When these activities receive college credit for participation, reflection can be assigned as in any other class. Often, however, these experiences are completely voluntary making a reflection assignment inappropriate. The students will still benefit greatly from participating in critical reflection, which means the best reflection activities will be informal, short, and produce clear benefits to the participants.
Kuh, G.D. (2008). High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.