Appeal of the Real

These students are learning by doing — and it’s way more than just another day at the office.

By Allison Dikanovic

Click on these images to explore this series of stories on Marquette Business students engaging in real, remarkable learning experiences. Or read on to learn how committed the college and its faculty members are to expanding this trend and making these experiences count.

Academics weren’t usually the go-to topic of conversation for Charlie Murphy when he got home from a long day of classes — as they aren’t for many college seniors — but Dr. Felicia Miller’s branding course changed all of that.

Called far off campus to help design a rebranding campaign for an inner-ring Milwaukee suburb, he found himself not only wanting to talk about the work he was doing, but also seeing with new clarity the impact he hoped to have with his career. “I would leave class and brag about the work I was doing,” Murphy remembers. “I was really excited about it.”

Miller, chair and associate professor of marketing, often assigns her classes projects that give them opportunities to engage at length with real-world clients. And based on the reputation these projects have developed for delivering real value, nonprofit, community and business leaders have started coming to her with their marketing challenges, as they did in this case.

More meaningful and memorable learning experiences are the result. “It’s so different when you connect what you’re learning to a memory,” Murphy explains. “You’re not remembering what your teacher said about slide 54, you’re remembering a conversation that was life-changing.”

This is experiential learning, and it is something the college is serious about integrating into its curriculum, so much so that James H. Keyes Dean Brian D. Till is offering experiential learning grants to faculty members who restructure their classes in a way that encourages their students to learn by doing. “Experiential learning deepens the extent of the students’ knowledge of the concepts,” Till says. “It’s fundamental to the overall direction of the college.”

Fortunately, many faculty members are already big believers in this kind of learning — and already seriously invested in building thoughtful partnerships that yield true opportunities for their students to apply what they’re learning.

Read the rest of Charlie’s story. Or click on the photos at the top of this story to learn about the career-altering experiences of Alyssa, Thomas and Mason.

Adapted from the 2017 issue of Marquette BIZ, the annual magazine of the College of Business Administration. Read a profile from the issue of ZICO-founder Mark Rampolla or check out the entire issue to learn how the college is being the difference for students and its partners in business and the broader community.

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