Wagner College’s innovative curriculum, The Wagner Plan, places students in three successive learning communities over the course of their undergraduate career. The First Year Program (FYP) is composed of three courses linked by a common theme, taught by two faculty members from different disciplines. Courses also are linked to fieldwork in communities and organizations, where students explore the connections their classroom learning and real-world problems. This experiential learning might include service learning, field trips, or community-based research on Staten Island and the other boroughs of New York City.
With a Demonstration Site Grant from Bringing Theory to Practice, research was conducted during the 2010-2012 academic years to assess the relationships among civic engagement, experiential learning, and student well-being. The study showed that service learning and student well-being were related positively; students in learning communities that were engaged in service learning reported higher levels of social and emotional well-being than those whose learning communities engaged primarily in other forms of experiential learning. In addition, students who engaged in service learning had higher levels of connection to faculty than those who primarily engaged in field trips.