National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version


Document Type



In: Place, Self, Community: City as Text™ in the Twenty-First Century,Edited by Bernice Braid and Sara E. Quay. National Collegiate Honors Council, 2021.


© 2021 NCHC.


Over the last thirty years or so, conversations about teaching pedagogy have consistently focused on the benefits of experiential learning and interdisciplinary connections. In order for students to learn in an optimal way, to develop their critical thinking skills while simultaneously mastering content, they must engage with multiple ways of seeing and knowing. They should learn to acknowledge complexity, to evaluate information, and to challenge their own positionality and self-assuredness. Put succinctly, they must become comfortable with being uncomfortable. These practices provide students with the skills they need to be successful in whatever paths they choose: adaptability, creativity, innovation, the ability to work collaboratively, and understanding the need to see issues from multiple perspectives. As teachers in higher education and supporters of Place as Text (PAT) pedagogy, we have searched for strategies to encourage students to engage in ways that promote these skills.

Perhaps one of the best examples of teaching strategies designed to transform students can be seen in Longwood University’s Yellowstone National Park Program (LU@YNP). This place-based course, designed to connect interdisciplinarity with experiential learning, places students in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) with a faculty team. As students engage with issues and ideas during this immersive course, they are thrust into new contexts and pushed to see the world in new ways.