A Case Study on Experiential Education through Community-Based Project

Professor Ann C. Hodges, University of Richmond Law School, has published an article on Using Experiential Education to Develop Human Resources for the Nonprofit Community: A Course Study Analysis. The paper analyzes a course in Nonprofit Organizations that incorporates a community-based project designed to develop skills, enhance learning, and encourage post-graduation involvement with nonprofits.

The primary goals of the course are "to encourage students [to] use their legal and business skills to support nonprofit organizations and to provide the students with the skills to be outstanding board members, other volunteers, or employees of nonprofits." As a community-based learning project, the class aims to enhance student learning by allowing them put the theory into practice.

Students in the course have reacted positively to the experiential learning model, with respondents to class surveys finding that students felt they learned more as a result of taking part in the project, their understanding of the materials was deepened, and their retention of the material was improved.

Professor Hodges suggests that such courses are less resource-intensive and comprehensive than clinics, but offer benefits to both students and the community. Her article can serve as a resource for other professors interested in implementing such classroom strategies.

Riley Combelic is a third-year law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and contributes to IAALS Online. Please direct inquiries about this post to iaals@du.edu.