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Pelco Recognized as "Outstanding Leader" in Experiential Education

Lynn PelcoLynn Pelco, Ph.D., VCU associate vice provost for community engagement, was awarded the 2018 Outstanding Leader in Experiential Education in Higher Education award at the 47th annual National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) annual conference, held in Savannah, Ga., Sept. 24-26.

The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated innovative uses of experiential learning in their institution, with a focus on crossing boundaries between traditional and experiential education; the design, development and implementation of programs that connect classes with community-based organizations; and leadership in the field of experiential education.

In her nomination letter, Catherine Howard, Ph.D., vice provost of community engagement, cited Pelco’s long history of leading service-learning and other high-impact practices at VCU. Since Pelco’s arrival at VCU 10 years ago, the number of service-learning courses across the disciplines has grown exponentially. Over 4,000 students are enrolled annually, and over 100 faculty teach service-learning courses. She also led the initiative to establish a successful living-learning program (ASPiRE) focused on community engagement. Pelco also has been active in implementing VCU’s new promotion and tenure policies that now include community-engaged teaching, research and service.

“Dr. Pelco can be described as a community-engaged scholar, a leader in educational transformation and a change agent,” Howard wrote. “She is a believer in community-based learning as a significant pedagogy that makes course content relevant, and develops critical 21st century skills that students need to be prepared for the workforce and to be engaged citizens.”

The mission of the NSEE is to cultivate educators who effectively use experiential education as an integral part of personal, professional, civic and global learning.

For more information, contact Pelco at