Academic Program Support

Active Learning Experience (ALE)

Active Learning Experiences are a requirement of the General Education Program and provide opportunities for students to explore interconnections among various venues for learning- courses, labor, service, research, internships, etc. All ALEs must include

  1. learning through sustained continual engagement in, reflection on, and assessment of experiences;
  2. the use of knowledge, imagination, and judgment to address questions in a novel context; and
  3. the exploration of connections between theory and practice, and between learning in courses and from experiences outside the classroom.

Recognizing the tremendous capacity for experiential learning through the Labor Program, the College has determined that students may use a labor assignment as a platform for completion of an ALE in the following ways:

  1. as an academic course through the Internship Office


  2. as a non-credit experience to satisfy the basic requirement. Proposals must demonstrate a clear and strong connection between the work performed and the academic discipline through which it is studied.

ALEs through the Labor Program require a faculty sponsor and labor supervisor co-sponsor who cooperate with the student in the development, guidance, and assessment of the experience. Labor supervisors are not required to participate in this program, but it provides an added element of learning to the workplace and encourages collaboration between the Academic and Labor Programs.


Following the freshman year, students are encouraged to seek summer employment and internship opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the profession of their choice. Most employers equate the term “internship” to any short-term college-related work experience.

The Internship Program is an experiential education program individually designed for those with a special academic interest requiring integration of classroom learning with practical experience. The program includes on-campus seminars with academic sponsors as well as non-classroom experience and is open to students with sophomore status or above. The Director of Internships coordinates the program at Berea College. The Director assists faculty and students in identifying and pursuing appropriate academic credit or non-credit internship placements.

Internships can be performed at any time, but most Berea College students focus on the summer session. Some agencies will pay students for their work, while others offer only the experience. In cases where students wish to pursue an unpaid opportunity, college funds may be available at an hourly rate equivalent to on-campus summer scholarship earnings - contact the Director of Internships for details. Other funds, such as the Experiential Education Fund administered through the Office of Student Financial Aid Services, provide stipends for travel and personal expenses.

Undergraduate Research and Creative Projects Program (URCPP)

The Labor Program Office provides funds for the Undergraduate Research and Creative Projects Program. The goals of this mentor-apprentice summer program are:

  • to enhance student learning by providing opportunities for the engagement of challenging, collaborative and directed projects in an apprentice-mentor relationship with faculty;
  • to foster student-faculty interaction in creative work;
  • to help students understand the critical interplay between collaboration and independent thought and action in any team effort to engage a complex, open-ended project;
  • to enhance students’ communication skills;
  • to provide experience that would be helpful to students who wish to pursue subsequent research and learning/creative opportunities (e.g., off-campus, summer research programs, or international learning opportunities);
  • to allow students to build their self-confidence to pursue careers and further study beyond Berea; and to supply experience that will help students make informed career and graduate school decisions.

Students participating in this program receive valuable research experience. Projects are faculty-initiated and coordinated through the Office of the Academic Vice President. Students may not be enrolled in a course while pursuing a URCPP experience.