Experiential Learning Fund: An opportunity to engage

Part of the Dalhousie Difference series

- October 26, 2012

Staff and students from Earth Sciences with representatives from Shell (provided photo).
Staff and students from Earth Sciences with representatives from Shell (provided photo).

Not long ago, Shell Canada did a review of its Campus Ambassador Program (CAP) to see where it was having the most success in terms of university recruitment. It may not surprise you to learn Dalhousie graduates ranked very well.

“We have always been pleased with the talent that Dalhousie produces,” says Stephanie Sterling, the vice-president of business & JV management, heavy oil, with Shell. “It is one of our top-tier schools when it comes to recruitment.”

The energy and petroleum corporation is looking to build on this legacy with the announcement of a new Shell Experiential Learning Fund. It's investing $500,000 in this three-year initiative to ensure that science, business and engineering students receive the best possible learning, while reinforcing its reputation as a valued employer.

Although funds will be used to enhance teaching facilities, programs and equipment, the emphasis is on delivering learning activities and events that offer students hands-on, real-world experiences.

“For example, Dalhousie alumni working with us can join in on geological field trips to share their work life experiences with students,” says Sterling. “Other employees may present guest lectures, or offer feedback on chemical, mechanical and mining design competition presentations. So this is more than a monetary fund. We’re bringing the industry into the classroom.”

Improving quality of training

That aspect of the agreement will significantly impact the quality of training for all Earth Sciences students, according to Chris Moore, dean of the Faculty of Science. 

“It will allow our students to gain much better hands-on experience through improved field trips, as well as access to the extensive collection of rock cores held at the university," says Dr. Moore. "There will also be direct support for student geoscience research projects at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Training in geoscience will be greatly improved through this gift.”

This is the third learning fund that Shell has created with Dalhousie since 2005, and the latest initiative in a relationship spanning more than 20 years. Sterling expects the bond between the two will continue well into the future, with outcomes that benefit everyone.

“We want to build on this legacy. We want to enrich the learning experiences of Dalhousie students and recruit more of them to Shell to build their careers and help us get better.”

Since 2008, Shell has hired 33 full-time Dalhousie graduates and supported 40 internships.

This article is part of the Dalhousie Difference series, exploring what the power of philantrophy means to the university and introducing and showcasing some of the 50 innovative projects in development. Learn more at boldambitions.dal.ca.


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