Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is essential for Illinois College students to Graduate READY! These unique learning opportunities are well-planned, supervised, and assessed to apply academic knowledge and promote interdisciplinary learning, civic engagement, career development, cultural awareness, leadership, and other professional and intellectual skills.

These unique learning experiences provide:

  • Real world situations to apply theories learned in coursework
  • Career skill preparation such as team work, interdisciplinary critical thinking, and problem solving
  • Enhanced classroom learning following the opportunity by providing concrete examples within the field to discuss while learning new theories

At Illinois College, learning that is considered “experiential” contains all of the following components:

  • Suitable planning and on-going reflection, critical analysis, and synthesis
  • Opportunities for students to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results
  • Opportunities for students to engage intellectually, civically, creatively, emotionally, socially and/or physically
  • A learning experience that includes the possibility to learn from consequences, mistakes and successes
(Adapted from University of Colorado Experiential Learning Center) Last reviewed August 11, 2016

Illinois College is committed to offering various types of experiential learning opportunities throughout a student’s time on the Hilltop to develop knowledge, skills, and values from experiences outside the traditional classes. Below are programs students can complete prior to graduating.

Internship Programs


Internship experiences connect students with organizations and businesses to have “real world” involvement in a professional work force not normally available in the classroom.

The Khalaf Al Habtoor Leadership Program


The Illinois College Leadership Program works with students to carry out the vision of justice and opportunity for all people in the community, the nation and, the world through local and international programs to enhance civic responsibility.

Community Engagement and Service


Students engage with the Jacksonville community through service projects that make an impact! This office creates connections between IC students and community leaders and organizers.

Study Abroad/Off-Campus Programs


Off-campus study programs introduce students to new cultures, traditions, and people. Programs range from domestic to international, one week to an entire semester.

Undergraduate Research Program


These programs are designed to foster collaborative scholarship between faculty, students, and staff to develop critical thinking, writing, and research skills necessary for graduate school or entry-level positions.

Celebration of Excellence


This annual event showcases student-faculty collaborative projects and independent student projects to celebrate Illinois College students’ outstanding academic achievements through oral and poster presentations.

Mills Experiential Learning Fund

Funding Your Experiences!

Description and Purpose of the Fund

Opportunities to connect and apply classroom knowledge through experiential learning can be life-changing. Students who complete one experiential learning opportunity are more likely to pursue additional experiential learning opportunities. In support of their passion for these experiences for our students, Trustee Steve Mills '77 and his wife Betsy Huss Mills '77 challenged fellow trustees to match their commitment to the Mills Experiential Learning Fund. The fund supports a student’s first experiential learning activity while a first-year, sophomore, or junior at Illinois College, including BreakAways, internships, service learning, study abroad, and undergraduate research opportunities.

Eligible Students

First-year, sophomore, and junior students who have never before participated in an experiential learning opportunity through Illinois College are eligible for this funding - this includes if you were paid by Illinois College and/or received credit for your experience. If you are unsure if one of your previous experiences renders you ineligible for this funding, please contact us at


Application Process

Students interested in utilizing funds from the Mills Experiential Learning Fund must complete an application indicating the type of experiential learning activity, the site, the expected learning objectives, the budget, the faculty member with whom they will collaborate, and the plan for reflection and assessment.

Applications are typically due every other month during the academic year. Applications for 2016-17 BreakAways should be submitted by November 1. Summer experiences and 2017-18 study abroad experiences should be submitted by March 1.

You can access the application here.

You can access the PDF of the questions asked on the application here.
If you have any questions about the process or application, please contact the Experiential Learning Team at

Reflection and Assessment

Evidence of reflection activities during the project and assessment of learning and results are due to the Experiential Learning Team immediately following the conclusion of the project.


Funding Guidelines

The Mills Experiential Learning Fund can cover (but is not limited to):

Background Checks/Fingerprinting

Disposable Equipment/Materials


Program/Participant Fees

Student Stipends/Hourly Work

Travel (Mileage, Airfare, WCMTD passes)

The Mills Experiential Learning Fund cannot cover:

Capital Equipment/Materials

Expedited Visa Fees

Monetary or Direct Donations

Items unrelated to the experience

Experiential Learning Team

If you have any questions or would like to get involved with any of these activities, please contact one of the following Experiential Learning Team members based on your interest(s):

Andrew Jones, Dean of Student Success ( :: 217.245.3010 :: Upper Tanner)

Lori Oldenettel, Dir. of Community Engagement and Service ( :: 217.245.3596 :: Caine 203)

Almut Spalding, Dir. of Global Programming ( :: 217.245.3874 :: Baxter 104)


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