Linfield is dedicated to a vision of learning that celebrates both the theoretical and the practical. Just as concrete experience fosters the ability to think conceptually, thinking conceptually illuminates concrete experiences. The college curriculum, therefore, emphasizes experiential learning in a variety of interrelated contexts.
Linfield offers students many opportunities to supplement academic course work with intensive learning experiences in companies and organizations. Internships are of two kinds: some offer on-the-job application of what students have been learning in their disciplines; others provide career exploration opportunities to integrate a liberal arts education into the job market.
Externships, short-term experiences of usually 2-5 days, can also be arranged through the Office of Career Services.
In health-care clinicals, students provide supervised care to individuals, families, communities, and other populations. Students make connections between theory and practice, develop critical thinking and communication skills, engage in professional relationships with clients, and become competent with technical skills and healing practices.
Service learning courses are those that deliberately link service and academic endeavors to afford students opportunities to meet real community needs. The community thus becomes a part of the expanded classroom.
Some departments offer paracurricular credit for volunteer community service although such experiences are not necessarily tied to academic study.
Students engaged in service learning and community service explore the environment beyond the classroom, often encounter and deal with social problems, and examine their roles as citizens.
Collaborative research and creative endeavor deepen students’ understanding of disciplinary theory and prepare them for graduate and professional school. Linfield offers several types of collaborative learning experiences that are supported by outside grants, the Linfield Collaborative Research Endowment, and the Linfield Research Institute. These experiences permit students to present the results of their work at regional and national meetings, and to publish, exhibit, or perform their results in collaboration with their faculty mentors.
Because encountering other cultures is a central part of Linfield’s educational mission, students may undertake any of a number of formal curricular opportunities abroad or within the United States.
The Semester Abroad Program enables students to spend a full semester studying at one of 30 sites around the world, including Austria, China (two locations), Costa Rica, Ecuador (two locations), England, France (several locations), Germany, Ireland, Japan (several locations), Mexico, Norway, South Korea, Senegal (two locations), and Australia and New Zealand (multiple locations in both). Several academic majors on campus have instituted study abroad components as part of their requirements.
January term off-campus courses offer a more compressed introduction to cultures beyond the Linfield campus. These four-week long classes foster global awareness, develop insights into major issues of our time, and deepen understanding of American society. Because they provide innovative, hands-on learning opportunities where classroom discoveries assume real-world immediacy, many departments regularly offer such courses.
Experiential learning at Linfield occurs in many classrooms, as, for example, in laboratory sessions. Many courses employ peer-teaching strategies and simulations that allow students to observe theory in practice. Some courses have an applied focus, and creative and performative endeavors play a central role in many others.
Recognizing the value of acquiring certain skills and participating in various athletic, service, leadership, and creative activities, Linfield offers a group of courses called the paracurriculum. Course numbers below 100 identify courses in this area.
Some departments offer co-curricular opportunities in which students apply specific theoretical concepts to develop concrete activities, performances, and artifacts.
Student services and athletic programs enable students to engage in extra-curricular activities that prepare them for productive family and community membership.
The Peer Instruction Program affords outstanding students opportunities to develop pedagogical insights and skills and approach course content from new perspectives. In courses using peer instructors, the faculty member remains responsible for all evaluation of student work and for the presentation of course content. Peer instructors aid in the presentation of class materials, help facilitate small group discussions, provide feedback on drafts of written assignments, coach oral and creative presentations, assist with science and other laboratory activities, and/or guide discussions outside the classroom.
Depending on departmental or academic program guidelines, students receive either course credit (by enrolling in 439) or a workstudy stipend for serving as peer instructors.