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The Washburn Transformational Experience (WTE)

The Washburn Transformational Experience (WTE) provides Washburn University students with an exciting opportunity to do something truly extraordinary. In short, the main objective of the WTE program is to transform students into a new kind of individual. The WTE goes beyond the everyday classroom experience by allowing students to choose and create projects that reflect their interests. Students pursuing a degree have the opportunity to pursue one or more transformational experiences:

  1. Scholarly or Creative activity,
  2. Community Engagement,
  3. Leadership,
  4. International Education.

The Scholarly or Creative Transformational Experience

Director: Dr. Mike Russell
Henderson Learning Center, Room 211

Purpose: Students who have engaged with faculty members to advance knowledge, create music or art or literature, or participate in other experiences that require a high level of intellectual stimulation or achievement, graduate from the University prepared to solve increasingly complex problems and to sort through complex and sometimes contradictory information in order to gain fresh insight.

The Scholarly or Creative transformational experience is a significant scholarly or creative project completed under the tutelage of a faculty member. The format of the project may vary, but it must be an independent project that is not part of a structured (faculty-planned) course. The project may be part of a capstone course in which students create or develop their own projects, but not a course in which the students simply follow the direction of an instructor. While the nature of these projects varies by discipline, the project should result in a significant commitment of scholarly and/or creative effort on the part of the student, as judged by the student’s faculty mentor.

The Leadership Transformational Experience

Director: Lauren Edelman, M.A.
Benton Hall, Room 408

Purpose: Students who serve in leadership roles are transformed by improved self-understanding derived from practical experience and examination of inspirational examples of selfless leadership service; they graduate from the University as citizens who recognize the abundance of leadership opportunities and are ready to accept the mantle of responsibility that comes with these opportunities.

Students electing the Leadership Transformational Experience will

  1. complete with a grade of “C” or better at least 3 semester hours of college coursework consisting of an academic study of leadership (e.g., LE 100 Exploring the Concept of Leadership, NU 450 Leadership, Management, Health Policy or any other course, provided that the unit offering the course and the Director of the Leadership Institute endorse it as an academic study of leadership); and
  2. serve in one or more functional leadership roles approved in advance by the Director of the Leadership Institute.

Students who complete a Leadership Studies Minor or Certificate also complete a Leadership WTE in conjunction with their Leadership Studies program. In addition, an independent study may be arranged through the Leadership Institute which would encompass both the academic study component of the Leadership WTE as well as the functional leadership role requirement.

Students will work with a mentor and the Leadership WTE Director to include in their functional leadership roles a specific focus on

  1. how to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their own leadership skills and
  2. how a leader becomes an effective change agent.

Students will complete their experience by providing both written and oral reports that address what they learned about themselves and their own leadership skills, and how this learning has impacted their view of leaders and leadership.

The WTE in Leadership is administered by the Director of the Leadership Institute. (Note: Students who earn a Leadership Studies Minor or Certificate will have satisfied the Leadership Washburn Transformational Experience requirement.)

The Community Engagement Transformational Experience

Director: Dr. Richard B. Ellis
Benton Hall, Room 208
(785) 670-1950

Purpose: Students who have engaged with faculty members and other students in significant, meaningful community service, and who have been guided to reflect on the power and purpose of these experiences, graduate from the University as citizens who are not resigned to accepting the community as it is but have a vision for how they can help make the community better.

Students participating in the community service transformational experience are required to complete 300 hours of service. A mentor will guide each student through this WTE. While engaged in direct service, students will meet with a mentor and other students at least six (6) times per semester to reflect on their experiences. These meetings will help students to develop a service focus complementing their interests and academic pursuits.

Each student will conclude the experience with a public presentation of his or her learning. This presentation can be done in a variety of venues from an on-campus forum to national or international conferences.

The International Education Transformational Experience

Director: Baili Zhang
Study Abroad Coordinator: Tina Williams
International Programs

Purpose: Students who have studied abroad or been thoroughly exposed to the richness of history and culture beyond our shores graduate from the University ready to contribute to a fast-paced global society in which information is delivered instantly around the world.

The International Education WTE is most directly satisfied by a study abroad experience. Washburn University supports three types of study abroad programs:

Type 1: Study in a foreign institution with which Washburn maintains exchange agreements. Washburn University currently has exchange agreements with “sister” universities in such places as Austria, France, Germany, Mexico, Paraguay, Spain, and Sweden. In addition, Washburn belongs to the Magellan Exchange consortium, which provides additional opportunities in Australia, Belgium, Costa Rica, Finland, Denmark, The Netherlands and South Korea.

Type 2: Study in a program offered by a study abroad program provider, another accredited U.S. Institution or approved consortium/program.

Type 3: Participate in a study abroad program or internship coordinated and taught by Washburn faculty or for Washburn credit, in programs offered occasionally by some schools or departments (e.g.: School of Business, School of Law, School of Nursing, Departments of Art, Criminal Justice, Modern Languages, Political Science, and others). Mostly, these are short term programs (one to four weeks).

Besides these types, in some cases and under Washburn faculty supervision, students can also study abroad in other foreign institutions with which Washburn does not have an agreement. Other types of foreign study or experience (for example, involvement in a humanitarian project abroad) would be considered as well.

To identify an appropriate experience, students will work with a faculty member or the study-abroad coordinator. Students who choose to complete their study abroad as an International Education –Washburn Transformational Experience will complete additional requirements. Students will declare their program as an International Education WTE, complete an Activity Plan, and write a Pre-Trip Background Research Paper on a relevant topic prior to their departure to help prepare for the experience. A post program Final Written Assessment Report and Public Presentation about experience is required within the semester after returning and prior to graduation. More information about the International Education WTE can be found at: