Centers of Experience Annual Report
Champlain initially introduced its academic Centers of Excellence—experiential and collaborative learning environments that brought together students, faculty and community members on real-world projects—in 2006 under its former President, David Finney. Through support provided by the Roger H. Perry Endowed Chair, an award created to promote change, innovation and entrepreneurship at the College, the first Center, the Emergent Media Center® (EMC), was established.
Following its pioneering tradition of forward-thinking in higher education, the Centers complemented Champlain's academic programs by fostering students' desire to be engaged hands-on in their education and allowing them to build practical experience and their professional networks through work for live clients. For our students, the Centers quickly became the spaces in which they were able to connect their college experience to their future careers in new ways. Beyond the College, the Centers have served as bridges to the local Burlington community, and the world at large, by providing state-of-the-art technology and targeted resources to address societal and organizational challenges and helping to make a positive social impact in the world.
A New Beginning: the Centers of Experience Emerge
Over time, the College has grown and changed, and Champlain has welcomed new Centers to our Main Campus and expanded our current Centers' programs and offerings. We've even been named a "Most Innovative School" by U.S. News & World Report in recognition of this inventive spirit we've cultivated, in part, through the Centers.
In 2017, thought leaders across the College began conversations to reimagine the Centers with a new name, one that would better capture the work our students and faculty engage in—Centers of Experience. They had evolved along with our multidimensional approach to learning. They were spaces to experiment and tinker, experience and reflect, learn and do again. It was apparent that as places that were truly combining theory and practice together in radically pragmatic ways, the time had come for their name to reflect their emerging identities.
As the inherent value of a Champlain education can be viewed in the experiential, meaningful knowledge and experience we provide our students—it is also the defining characteristic that our Centers share. As Champlain begins to consider what our new strategic vision and plan is for the coming era, the rebranding of the Centers of Excellence to Centers of Experience is both timely and appropriate.
The new Centers of Experience will stand as pillars to remind the community that we think and do education differently at Champlain—since 1878, we have and will continue to advance the experiences our students need to thrive today and tomorrow. And as we prepare our story for the new decade, the Centers will be essential to how we continue to grow and adapt to the changing landscape.