Rush distinguished lecturer speaks on experiential learning


SVSU hosted its 21st annual Thomas and Hilda Rush Distinguished Lectureship on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 4 p.m. in Founders Hall.

This year’s lecturer was Joni Boye-Beaman, an SVSU sociology professor with over 25 years of experience as a professor and researcher. Her lecture, titled “Experiential Learning: Building Community and Competence Through Civil Engagement,” detailed her career and the foundations of experiential learning.

SVSU President Donald Bachand gave opening remarks about Boye-Beaman.

“(Boye-Beaman) does not shy away from service at this university,” Bachand said. “She’s fulfilled multiple roles during her career and has taken on a number of difficult tasks and challenges. Never has she failed us, never has she said no, never has she disappointed us.”

Boye-Beaman began her lecture by previewing what is meant by experiential learning.

“While there might be a variety of ways that we look at education, which we traditionally define as what goes on inside the classroom, and experience, which has been traditionally defined as what goes on outside of the classroom, for which we also learn … I see three essential components that align with our educational process,” Boye-Beaman said.

Those components include thoughts, which she defines as the “thoughts and theories we deal with in our classrooms.” She says that thoughts can be formed “rightly or wrongly” by action, which she defines as “experience, application or observation.” Then, one reflects upon their actions as part of the learning process.

Boye-Beaman praised SVSU for its commitment to experiential learning.

“SVSU has institutionalized the importance of experiential learning as part of our strategic planning and as demonstrated by the development of outreach centers build for community engagement,” she said.

During her career, Boye-Beaman has led students in hands-on service learning projects that have benefited over 100 community organizations and founded the Social Science Research Center at Wayne State College in Nebraska before joining SVSU’s sociology department in 2000. Currently, she is working with the Saginaw Police Department to help officers better respond to victims of violent crimes.