CSB president earns award for experiential education

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August 15, 2013

MaryAnn Baenninger, president of the College of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph, has been chosen to receive the 2013 William M. Burke Presidential Award for Excellence in Experiential Education. She is receiving the award today (Oct. 1) at the 2013 NSEE Conference in St. Pete Beach, Fla.

This award is presented by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) and funded by The Washington Center (TWC) for Academic Internships and Seminars in memory of TWC's founder, William M. Burke.

"I accept this award on behalf of all at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University who work tirelessly to provide experiential learning opportunities to our students," Baenninger said. "I am especially honored to receive this recognition in the college's centennial year, as we celebrate the College of Saint Benedict's rich legacy of providing educational opportunity to women for the past 100 years."

The Burke Award consists of a $2,000 scholarship to be awarded to a deserving student at CSB who is involved in experiential learning. 

In her nomination letter, Marah Jacobson-Schulte, director of experiential learning and community engagement at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University, noted Baenninger's creation of the Office of Experiential Learning and Community Engagement, her support of undergraduate research and study abroad opportunities, the development of scholarships that support experiential opportunities for students with financial need and the development of the MapCores program at CSB, which supports experiential opportunities for women in the fields of mathematics, physics and computer science.

Similarly, Marcus Webster, professor of biology at CSB and SJU, wrote in his nominating letter, "I confidently declare - without exaggeration - that President Baenninger's leadership has brought about unprecedented change at our colleges....[Her] manner of open and respectful communication, her entrepreneurial spirit and creative ideas, innovative programs she has supported or started, and her extramural activities as a scholar and participant in the national community of academe all reflect her strong belief in the power of transformative experiential learning."

Burke believed in experiential learning. It was his vision, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that led him to create and develop special programs that allowed equal access to The Washington Center. The mission of the center is to provide students with transformational experiences that foster academic and professional achievement, leadership and civic engagement.