UWRF Experiential Learning Course Seeks Projects for Fall 2013 Semester

June 21, 2013--The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is seeking businesses and organizations which have projects that they would like teams of university students to tackle, under the guidance of faculty mentors.

Each semester CAFES offers an Experiential Learning course that requires teams of students to apply their academic skills to the completion of a project defined by a business or an organizational client. The course is a senior level course and is meant to be the culmination of the student's academic career, bridging the gap between the student's academic and professional careers.

Each client can expect more than 600 student person hours devoted to their project with possible end products being feasibility studies, design analyses, financial analyses, business plans, marketing plans and prototypes. In the course of their work, project teams draw on the expertise of faculty mentors and other UWRF faculty and staff. In addition, Steve DeWald, director of the UWRF Small Business Development Center, mentors the students on multiple aspects of business planning and feasibility studies. Clients are generally expected to pay a small fee to cover the cost of producing the deliverables.

Last semester's clients included Matt and Julie Brooks, owners of Sullybrook Farm. Their project involved the students proposing a feasibility study on a farm plan that met the Brooks' criteria for sustainability and profitability. The Brooks said they were very pleased with the work performed by the students and felt they took the project very seriously to come up with the best possible plan for them.

"It was a great experience working with your students and you should be commended for your guidance in this process," Matt said.

The Pierce County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (PCCJCC) was also a client last semester. Their UWRF student team evaluated the feasibility of a drug and alcohol juvenile outpatient treatment program in Pierce County. During the semester Linda Flanders, PCCJCC coordinator, and Julie Krings, Child, Youth and Families manager, worked with the students on behalf of PCCJCC. At the end of the project the students gave a presentation to the entire council.

"The student team was highly professional and did an excellent presentation for the council," Flanders said. "The power point was excellent and clearly communicated the need for this service. The council was very impressed and grateful."

To have your project considered for fall semester 2013, contact Juliet Tomkins, adjunct professor, at 715-425-3298 or by email to juliet.tomkins@uwrf.edu or call the CAFES Dean's Office at 715-425-3535 by Friday, July 12.

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