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Real-World Learning

Kenisha Pinckney smiled confidently into the lens of a TV camera.

The senior communication studies major is not shy about her aspirations to become a news anchor.  In fact, she readily shares how Widener has heightened her passion for news by bringing in professionals like NBC 10 reporter Tim Furlong as adjunct professors.

At the Quick Center, the same can be said for sports management students who are mentored by two Philadelphia Phillies employees. Twice a week James Trout and Rob MacPherson cultivate a learning environment that sometimes looks more like a business meeting than a classroom.

“It spurs conversation, which is important,” said Trout, director of marketing services and events. “Ultimately I hope they can take away some knowledge they can apply to any future career.”

Bringing working professionals into the classroom to teach is part of an overarching theme at Widener. The goal is to not only educate students but encourage them to become leaders by infusing experiential learning into the curriculum.

As a veteran journalist, Furlong is known to incorporate real-world news stories, some he was reporting on just hours before, into his lesson plans.

“I want them to understand what this career is like day to day,” said Furlong, who also takes his students on a tour of the NBC studio. “I want them to understand this isn’t one of the easiest jobs, but it can be one of the most rewarding.”

Trout noted they embody this ideal by having students plan events for “Paint the Town Red Week,” a promotion the professional baseball team runs each year before the start of the season. The professors also take the students on a tour of Citizens Bank Park.

“It’s interesting to see how they parallel things they go through everyday to what we learn in class,” said Angela Daigs, a senior from Delanco, New Jersey.

“As students we are more engaged,” admits senior Troy Allgood.

Communication studies major Anna Roman added professionals like Furlong can also be helpful when looking for internships or to serve as a valuable job reference.

“We definitely have an advantage here at Widener because of people like Tim Furlong,” said Roman, a junior.

And that advantage is why students like Pinckney came to Widener in the first place.

“I feel like I’m one step ahead,” Pinckney said.