‘Experiential learning will increasingly become a critical pedagogical component of the student’s experience here at UBishops. Providing opportunities for students to work in their field of study is invaluable for them to get hands on experience and apply their learning. Incorporating and devising experiential opportunities for students of all levels and in all fields is an exciting challenge.’
–Dr. Claire Grogan, Associate VP Academic.
Hugh Godman graduated earlier this year from Bishop’s University after four years dedicated to earning his B.A. in Business with a minor in Economics. This summer, he is working with Dr. Claire Grogan to rethink the way experiential learning is presented to the students at Bishop’s and to make it more accessible to them.
Originally from Gatineau, Hugh came to Bishop’s after going to CEGEP Heritage there. “I wanted to stay in Quebec and go to an English university … I like the appeal of the smaller town and the countryside, so that’s what led me to apply to Bishop’s. And it ticked all those boxes, so I applied, and I remember being offered early admission actually, when I came to visit the school … I thought it was pretty special because it happened so quickly. It definitely gave me a good impression and sort of surprised me in a good way.”
He explains that he left CEGEP feeling like it had been too rigid in its form, and he yearned for some variety. “Some of my best courses in CEGEP, the most eye-opening, were electives. And I only got a couple of those. I remember thinking how it would have been great to be able to explore more … once I got to Bishop’s, that’s when I really got a chance to explore.”
He adds, “I wanted breadth, I wanted variety, and I got that.” Reflecting on his time here, Hugh also expresses that one of the most important parts of his degree, and what brought him the different experiences he craved the most, was the experiential learning opportunities he was able to explore. “What impresses me a lot is that I was able to access a lot of them that were outside of my realm a little bit, which is really what I wanted of my undergraduate degree.” Throughout his years at Bishop’s, he participated in Model UN, became editor-in-chief of the Campus Newspaper, did courses on ensemble music and on religion, and even accessed the SEED Portfolio, despite not being a Finance major. “I had taken a few courses in finance, like basic finance, intro to finance, and then, just with that, I was able to access the SEED portfolio, which is one of the most advanced courses that the school offers. Just by being motivated, I was able to get involved in all these things.”
The goal of the internship he currently has with Dr. Grogan is actually to promote these experiences to current and future students. “I’m very passionate about this particular project because experiential learning was so influential throughout my time at Bishop’s and one of my favourite things at Bishop’s,” says Hugh.
He got the position through a “little chain of things.” He explains that first heard about a potential internship through an interview he did for the Campus newspaper with Principal Goldbloom. Claire Grogan later informed him that a few other possibilities would become available soon and to keep an eye on the job posting board on Bishop’s website. “I didn’t end up going for that history internship that was originally mentioned to me, but through that, I saw all the opportunities and the one that spoke most to me was the experiential learning internship so, at the end of the day, I found this one through the job posting board … but I guess it was more through word-of-mouth that I learned that there were gonna be internships coming up.”
The work of the internship itself changes every week. “We set up a weekly meeting together; me, the other intern Rhiannon [Day], and Claire Grogan, who is an English professor and [associate VP of academics] … The first time we met up, we said okay, ‘what we should do this week is look at the pages of other universities’ … Rhiannon looked the Maple League universities, I looked at McGill, UofT, some international universities like Singapore or Hong Kong, just to see how they display their experiential learning pages and if they have any at all … we did that for the first two weeks and then, in our most recent meeting, we basically created a chart of what we would want, in an ideal world.” He adds that these preliminary steps of gathering data and a frame of reference are essential to the project. “Once we dive into writing the articles, we’ll know what information to get and where to get it.” These articles will then help students have a global and detailed view of all the possible ways to get experiential learning at Bishop’s. “The idea now is that, for each project the school is doing, we would have some sort of an article about that specific thing, so it’s not only the big standalone projects … but you could also have something like the business policy class doing a consulting component in the evaluation … It’s just one part of that course but it’s still an experiential learning opportunity, so there’s a range of types of opportunities and a lot of them are not [currently] covered on the website.”
Godman explains that the hands-on aspect provided by the internship, along with his past experiences, are highly educational while helping in his development, both personally and professionally. “I don’t know where I’d be without hands-on experience, it’s hard for me to even imagine how different my education would have been without doing everything I did that was hands-on, or more interactive, more experiential … I’m sure that I would be further behind.” He adds that, while it allows a lot of freedom, it is also very humbling. “It’s almost always harder than you think it’s gonna be and you realize a lot of little things, like ‘ok, I do need a lot of help.’ And when you work with people, you realize ‘oh wow, these people are really smart, and better than me at a lot of things … It taught me that it’s okay to rely on other people.’” In fact, it works on both sides, as he also has a lot to offer to the team. “I feel like I’m a part of the creative process, both me and Rhiannon, we have our mandate, we want to … make experiential learning more present on the website. At the most basic level, that’s our goal. But how we go about doing that is really open to discussion and Professor Grogan is very open to our input, which is great!”
Hugh currently lives in Montreal and works remotely with Dr. Grogan and Rhiannon Day. “It could be nice to go down for a visit and do something in person, with [Sherbrooke] not being very far away, I would definitely welcome that, and I think it would be very nice. But for now, it’s okay. We discovered that online work has a lot of advantages … And it does feel a little more personal than, say, online classes, because there’s only three of us, so when we meet virtually, we get to talk more than with an online class … Overall, virtual has been nice.”
Freshly graduated, he expects to start a Master’s of Applied Science in Management Sciences at the University of Waterloo in the Fall. “This program requires a thesis, so I would get to conduct research on a topic of my choosing. If I find that conducting research appeals to me, I will seriously consider pursuing a PhD. Alternatively, I will enter the non-academic world. In what capacity? I don’t know.”
Go to our website to learn more about the Business program and experiential learning: