New Tacoma-based experiential learning course to arrive in Fall


By Nia Henderson

A new experiential learning course taught by Joe Colón and Maggie Roach is coming fall 2017 giving students the opportunity to be involved in the Tacoma community in a meaningful way.

Experiential learning course, EXLN 215: Youth Development for Social Justice is a new course being offered fall 2017. Experiential learning courses are a new designation that aims to get students out of a traditional classroom setting and into an unfamiliar environment. The university website states that “Experiential learning is a whole person approach designed purposefully to engage learners in direct experience and focused reflection through myriad methodologies. This personal and transformational process increases knowledge, promotes critical analysis and synthesis, develops skills, clarifies values, and enlarges students’ capacity to contribute to their communities.” The working syllabus states “this course will empower volunteers, mentors, coaches, tutors, and youth practitioners to adapt, implement, and scale research validated quality standards  in their respective volunteer site.”

Joe Colón and Maggie Roach utilized positive youth development research to create their own youth development approach. This approach emphasizes the importance of maintaining a safe supportive and productive environment for youth. This course gives students the opportunity to work hands on with Tacoma youth for a minimum of 10 hours through mentorships, tutoring and coaching.

Their syllabus states, “research confirms that high- quality afterschool and youth development programs positively impact social skill development, academic achievement, and risk reduction for the youth they will serve … [and] a trained and skilled staff are essential to creating a safe, engaging, interactive, youth centered programs.” This course gives students the ability to develop the skills necessary to successfully work with diverse groups of youth through hands on training.

This course focuses on the nine domains that are essential for ensuring a quality afterschool or youth development program including safety and wellness, cultural competence and responsiveness, youth leadership and engagement, relationships, program activities, leadership and management, family, school, and community connections, ongoing, staff and volunteer development as well as assessment planning and improvement.

Students have the option to volunteer with one on the pre approved programs such as Super Club which takes place at Stewart Middle School and Linc and Logger at Lincoln High School.

With successful completion of this course students will earn a Certificate of your program Quality Proficiency from the Office of Experiential Learning and Diversity and Inclusion.

This class is held on Fridays from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students are assessed on class attendance, participation, completion of volunteer hours, weekly portfolio reflections and their final presentation. The prerequisites for this class include a Washington state background check, student conduct approval and a photo release form.

All information comes from the instructors draft syllabus

For more information contact Maggie Roach at or Joe Colón at

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