Research Seminar on Work-Integrated Learning

Deadline to Apply: January 24, 2022

The Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University is pleased to announce the 2022-2024 Research Seminar on Work-Integrated Learning (WIL). This three-summer research seminar facilitates multi-institutional research on work-integrated learning (e.g., internships, co-ops, field placements, student teaching, etc.) using mixed-methods approaches to conduct qualitative and quantitative research.

We invite interested scholars and practitioners from any discipline to apply to join a multi-institutional cohort of researchers who will collaborate to investigate how work-integrated learning fosters students’ learning, how to scale-up access to high-quality work-integrated learning, and how students might integrate their work-integrated learning with other meaningful learning experiences.

Printer-Friendly Call for Applications (PDF) | Online Application

Overview of Current Research on Work-Integrated Learning

Although WIL is prevalent in some global contexts where national policy guides its integration (e.g., Australia, Canada), there is not an international consensus on the definition of WIL. The infinitely many ways of implementing and assessing WIL practices make it difficult to standardize WIL programs, even within individual institutions; WIL can include internships, co-ops, practicums, student teaching, field experiences, and other immersive experiences that deliberately integrate educational and workplace settings.

WIL is more than an experience, though. The International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning suggests that the “defining elements of this educational approach require that students engage in authentic and meaningful work-related tasks, and must involve three stakeholders: the student, the university, and the workplace/community.” Because WIL is a pedagogical practice that requires deliberation, curricular integration, reflection, and authentic experience (A Practical Guide for Work-Integrated Learning), not every internship or field experience qualifies as a work-integrated learning opportunity. Given this complexity in defining, designing, and implementing accessible WIL experiences, the 2022-2024 research seminar will foster multi-institutional research to enhance our shared global understanding of WIL.

Research Seminar on Work-Integrated Learning

To meet this goal, research participants will join teams focusing on one of the following topics:

  • Understanding equitable and high-quality WIL
    • Shared characteristics of WIL across contexts
    • Cross-site WIL outcomes
    • Access to WIL (i.e. Geography, Finances, Networking)
    • Quality WIL experiences (On-site and on-campus)
  • Preparing all participants for equitable and high-quality WIL
    • Preparing students for WIL
    • Faculty/staff development in WIL as a pedagogy
    • Working with employers and WIL placement sites
    • University support for WIL
  • Examining virtual WIL in a changing work landscape
  • Integrating WIL with the broader university experience and lifelong/lifewide learning

Across all topics, we expect that research teams will attend to diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Research Cohorts and Seminar Logistics

The Center for Engaged Learning Seminar will support multi-institutional research addressing and surrounding this theme over a three-year period. Selected applicants will meet on Elon’s campus during the following weeks:

  • Year 1: July 10-15, 2022: Participants will meet on Elon’s campus to collaboratively develop and plan multi-institutional research projects to be conducted throughout the following year at the participants’ own institutions. These research cohorts will enable larger scale studies and explorations of the impact of different institutional contexts.
  • Year 2: July 9-14, 2023: Participants will meet to share their initial multi-institutional results and to plan a more sharply focused research agenda for the research cohort for year two.
  • Year 3: July 14-19, 2024: Participants will reconvene to share their year-two results, to plan continuations of their work, and to participate in a conference on the seminar theme.

Accepted research seminar participants will have opportunities to partner with the Center’s Student Scholars, who bring a student perspective to the Center’s multi-institutional research on engaged learning. To learn more about student-faculty/staff partnerships in higher education, browse the Center’s related publications and resources.

Research seminar participants will produce significant, concrete outcomes. Past Center for Engaged Learning research seminars have generated edited volumes, journal articles and book chapters, white papers, and conference presentations – as well as local initiatives on participants’ home campuses. Participants will be well-positioned to use evidence-based assessments of student learning conducted as part of the research seminar to inform work-integrated learning at their institutions.

Elon University will provide lodging and meals for seminar participants during the seminar’s 2022-2024 summer meetings. In addition, each participant will be reimbursed up to $500/year (up to $1000/year for international participants) for travel to the seminar’s summer meetings at Elon University. Full reimbursement policies will be distributed to accepted participants. Other participant expenses, including additional travel costs and any research costs, will be paid by the participants and/or their home institutions.

Seminar Leaders 

The 2022-2024 Center for Engaged Learning Seminar will be led by CJ Eubanks Fleming, Judene Pretti, and Ashley Stirling. Learn more about the seminar leaders.

How to Apply

To apply, submit a completed application and abbreviated curriculum vita (4 pages maximum) by January 24, 2022. The online application form asks for the following information:

  • Which research area above are you most interested in examining? Please explain why you are interested and how you would like to think more deeply about this issue in the seminar. Please note that we are not asking applicants to identify specific research questions since those will be developed in collaboration with your multi-institutional research team if your application is selected.
  • How does this topic fit with your existing work as a scholar or practitioner? Does this WIL subtopic have a larger institutional context at your campus?
  • What research methods do you anticipate employing to study this theme? Do you have experience using these methods (whether or not you have used those methods to study WIL)?
  • Are there unique demographic/background variables at your institution that are relevant to your research interests in WIL?
  • What is the institutional context for your work? For example, are you at a teaching-focused institution or a research-intensive institution? Does your institutional mission prioritize certain values or educational activities?
  • What kinds of expertise do you bring to the study of work-integrated learning?

More than one person per institution may apply. Although CEL Seminar projects will be multi-institutional, applicants do not need to form these teams before they apply; CEL Seminar leaders will create initial teams based on applicants’ information, and accepted participants will have the opportunity to confirm or shift their team placement during the first summer meeting.

A review committee, including the seminar leaders, will review applications, make selections, and notify all applicants by February 28, 2022. Questions about the application and selection process should be directed to


Thank you to Erik Alanson (University of Cincinnati), Katie Baker (Elon University), Andrew Crain (University of Georgia), CJ Eubanks Fleming (Elon University), Denise Jackson (Edith Cowan University), Amber Moser (Elon University), Judene Pretti (University of Waterloo), and Ashley Stirling (University of Toronto) who contributed to conversations that shaped this call for applications and offered feedback on drafts.