What are Experiential Learning Placements?

Experiential learning placements include internships, externships, clinicals, practicums, clerkships, student teaching, rotations, and other on-the-ground supervised learning / field experiences. Experiential learning placements are considered distance learning by TCU.

In states other than Texas, these placements are subject to State authorization regulations.

Short courses, day-long field trips, independent fieldwork or study, or research not part of a supervised field experience are not considered experiential learning placements.

Key characteristics of experiential learning placements:

  • The practical application of previously studied theories and skills related to a TCU program of study.
  • The placement occurs with the oversight of a supervisor, mentor, faculty member, or other qualified professional.
  • The supervisor / professional has a direct or indirect reporting responsibility to TCU (for example, submitting an evaluation to the faculty supervisor or field placement coordinator).

State authorization regulations apply if the placement has the characteristics listed above. Thus, a placement is subject to state authorization regulations no matter the name of the placement type or the specific phrasing used to describe the placement; whether or not course credit is associated with the placement; or whether students are part of a distance learning program or are primarily on-campus students.

warningIt is the responsibility of TCU faculty who supervise experiential learning courses and their respective chairs or program directors to follow the policies related to experiential learning placements and participate in the experiential learning reporting surveys sent each year in late April and mid-September.

Where can Students Complete Placements?

Subject to the limitations detailed below, TCU students can complete experiential learning placements in all 50 states.

In 2016, TCU became a participant in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). TCU’s participation in SARA allows TCU students to complete experiential learning placements in any SARA member state, subject to certain limitations detailed below. As the state authorization map shows, SARA membership now extends to 49 states.

While California is not yet a participant in SARA, TCU is statutorily exempt from needing to seek authorization in California. TCU students can complete experiential learning placements in California subject to certain limitations detailed below.

Key Limitations for Experiential Learning Placements in States Other than Texas

Faculty who supervise for-credit experiential learning courses and department chairs / program directors in areas where experiential learning courses are offered should be aware of the following policies:

  • States have supervisory authority for experiential learning placements in fields with licensed professions or in the event that such a placement is preparation for licensure. TCU’s participation in SARA, a given state’s SARA membership, or TCU’s exemption from seeking institutional authorization in a state does not provide automatic permission for experiential learning placements in these cases. Programs should check with the applicable state licensing board to verify the procedures for allowing students to complete experiential learning placements associated with or as a preparation for a licensed profession. 
  • SARA regulations do not permit an institution to have more than 10 students from an individual academic program at one clinical or practicum site simultaneously, unless special permission has been obtained from the SARA agency in the state. If this situation might apply to your program, please consult with the Koehler Center.
  • Colorado requires that students completing internships (experiential learning placements) have workers’ compensation insurance. TCU provides this coverage. If you are supervising a placement where a student has been asked to demonstrate proof of this coverage or if you are a student and you need to demonstrate proof of this coverage, please contact the TCU Risk Management Department.

Failure to comply with these limitations on experiential learning placements may impact TCU’s ability to receive federal financial aid. If you are uncertain about state authorization and experiential learning placements, please contact the Koehler Center.

Experiential learning activities in some U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands) and in foreign countries are not covered by SARA and must comply with all relevant local laws; if you have questions or concerns about these situations, please contact the Koehler Center.

Faculty Surveys: Experiential Learning Placements

As a participant in SARA, TCU is required to provide the national SARA organization with annual data regarding the number of students completing experiential learning placements in states other than Texas.

In order to comply with the reporting requirement for experiential learning placements, the Koehler Center will identify courses tagged with the INT attribute according to the registrar and then send a brief email survey to the faculty of record for those courses. An April survey will ask for the number of placements per state during the spring semester; a September survey will ask for the number of placements per state during the summer and fall semesters.

Inaccurate or incomplete reporting may jeopardize TCU’s receipt of federal financial aid. Thus, if faculty do not complete the surveys in a timely manner, the Koehler Center will request support from the appropriate department chair / program director and dean.

For experiential learning placements associated with courses in Harris College of Nursing and Health Sciences, this information will be provided directly to the Koehler Center by the Assistant Dean for Administrative & Clinical affairs and the Regulatory and Compliance Officer.