Experiential Learning in Academic Programming (ELAP) Grant

McMaster University has launched an Experiential Learning in Academic Programming (ELAP) grant. Through this fund, a total of $150,000 has been made available to support the development and expansion of experiential learning (EL) opportunities into academic programming.


Fund Details: The ELAP Grant provides up to $5000 to build experiential learning components into course and program offerings, including field experiences, research practica, and placements. Special consideration is given to courses and programs in non-professional programs, where historically there have been fewer EL opportunities compared to programs in our Health Sciences and STEM disciplines. In addition, there is an emphasis on graduate courses and those that involve placements in industry- and community-based organizations.

Call for Applications is Now Open. The deadline for applications is 9:00 AM, Monday, July 16, 2018.


Application Form

Experiential Learning Reference Guide

Project Eligibility

All opportunities must meet the following Guiding Principles for Experiential Learning:

  • The students’ experience is situated within a workplace or simulated workplace environment
  • The students are exposed to authentic demands that improve their employability, interpersonal skills, and transition to the workforce
  • The experience is structured with purposeful and meaningful activities
  • The students apply academic program knowledge and/or essential employability skills
  • The experience includes students’ self-assessments and employer/university evaluation of the students’ performance and learning outcomes
  • The experience counts towards course credit or credential completion

All grant applications are expected to meet one or more of the following goals:

  • Develop, improve, and/or accelerate institution-level capacity to undertake and expand experiential learning programs both domestically and abroad
  • Improve the capacity to evaluate and verify current and future EL opportunities
  • Increase the quantity and quality of EL opportunities unique to McMaster’s context and strengths
  • Promote institution-wide best practices for engaging in EL
  • Improve access to EL opportunities for students who, without interventions and support, might not otherwise participate in EL opportunities in postsecondary education
  • Expand opportunities for EL abroad (e.g. undertaking service learning with an NGO or a local multi-national organization that has international work locations)

Instructions for Submitting Grants Electronically

Instructions for Submitting Grants Electronically

  • Please click on the Application Form link and proceed to fill out the entire form carefully
  • No physical signature is required
  • Once you have filled the form, please save the file and send it to elap@mcmaster.ca
  • If you have any questions regarding the application process, please email us at elap@mcmaster.ca


The MacPherson Institute, in partnership with the Office of Community Engagement and Student Affairs, are pleased to announce the winners of the first round of Experiential Learning in Academic Programming Grants.


One Health

by James Gillett

This project transforms HAS 4F03 into an inquiry, community engaged and project based course for active learning classrooms. Using an inquiry pedagogy, students work individually and in groups on an ongoing initiative related to the concept of One Health that is a partnership between HAS and the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA and affiliated organizations. Students will learn through their engagement in community engaged programming and research that explores the significance of the human animal bond across different populations.    

Mobility, Physical Activity and Aging

by James Gillett

This project transforms HLTHAGE 4P03 into an inquiry, community engaged and project based course for active learning classrooms. Using an inquiry pedagogy, students work individually and in groups on an ongoing initiative on mobility and physical activity which is a partnership between the Department of Health Aging and Society and three organizations in Hamilton: (1) Royal Botanical Gardens, (2) Hamilton Victoria Curling Club, and (3) Tennis Clubs in Hamilton/Dundas/Ancaster. In the course student groups will participate with the participating organizations to analyze and evaluate the programming they offer older adults.

Iconic Ageing

by James Gillett

This project transforms HLTHAGE 4C03 into an inquiry, community engaged and project based course for active learning classrooms. Using an inquiry pedagogy, students work individually and in groups on an ongoing initiative, entitled Iconic Ageing, a partnership between HAS and organizations in Hamilton including McMaster Alumni, Royal Botanical Gardens, Hamilton Farmers’ Market, among others. Students are matched with an organization and using photovoice work with the organization to profile of an older adult volunteer or staff. All the profiles are shared at the Hamilton Artcrawl.  

Students in the Archives: Research Application and Skills Transfer for History Students

by Karen Balcom and Myron Groover

The project goal is to design a sustainable, expandable programme connecting the Department of History and the William Ready Division of Archives and Research in order to move significant numbers of students from history classes into practical, hands-on research experiences working with raw data (primary sources) in an archive.

Prototype Implementation of CityLAB Project Concepts

by Brian Baetz, Anna Marie Pietrantonio, and Patrick Byrne

The CityLAB Semester in Residence course set is a 15 unit, semester-long, immersive learning experience that will develop a considerable awareness of the issues and complexities facing municipalities in the provision of equitable services and safe and resilient infrastructure for current and future citizens.  The completion of a team-based project and the installation of a related prototype application of key project findings will be a key deliverable for this unique course opportunity.

CityLab: Urban Politics in Hamilton & Detroit

by Karen Bird, Chris Murray, Patrick Byrne, and Stuart McMillan

POLSCI 4XXX “CityLab: Urban Politics in Hamilton & Detroit” is a new course being developed under Dean’s Letter of Permission. This course invites students to apply theory and first-hand experience in comparing local politics and patterns of urban transformation in the 20th and 21st centuries in two large industrial cities – Hamilton, ON and Detroit, MI – and to assess the social, economic and political forces behind these developments.

Developing and Assessing Indicators for Community Resilience to Wildfire

by Nancy Doubleday and Brent McKnight

A senior Humanities UG student will translate elements of the GWF-Boreal Water Futures project into modules for IBH Peace Studies students to gain experience in a simulated, case-based consulting practice, modeling connections to industries and affected communities, while examining the fire, flood and drought impacts of climate change.

Microbial Ecology in Action

by Jianping Xu and Jim Quinn

This experiential learning is a new component to an existing graduate course. It will combine molecular ecological theory with practice. The students will spend three hours each week for six weeks at the local mushroom company to interact with company personnel and learn the complete cycle of mushroom production, gaining valuable work experience.

McMaster Queen’s Park Day

by Dave Levac, Henry Jacek, and Shafiq Huque

Students from 2 courses will partake in a Queen’s Park field trip. In POLSCI 4ZZ6 and 2U03, the field trip offers exposure to the political, public policy and administrative landscape in Ontario. Students will learn about actual policy challenges and decision making in complex environments. They will hear presentations from senior Ontario government and public service staff, journalists, industry lobbyists and advocacy groups. They will network with McMaster University alumni working at Queen’s Park, and watch live proceedings of legislative debates.

Scribal School Workshop

by Hanna Tervanotko

This experiential learning opportunity is a “scribal school workshop” that allows students to experience the process of etching cuneiform on clay tablets. In today’s largely digital age, students will grapple with the complexities and limitations of the ancient art of writing and consider how these processes shaped the ancient texts that we have today.

Facilitating Community-based Student Projects Within and Across Academic Departments

by Kate Whalen, Patrick Byrne, and Salman Bawa

Departments have developed connections within communities to identify challenges that would offer rich opportunities for student learning and community service. To better serve the community and McMaster, an electronic platform and process for inter or intra-departmental sharing of projects would support departments that identify projects that are not suitable for their purpose.

Archival Experiential Learning in English Graduate Courses

by Catherine Grise and Gena Zuroski

This project will develop existing archival research projects into effective experiential learning components by gathering student feedback, applying McMaster’s CEE principles to the component design, and preparing curricular materials. We will conclude with a report to our department: there are at least two more graduate courses in our department that could adapt similar projects into EL opportunities.

Developing Relationships for English and Cultural Studies Experiential Opportunities­

by Catherine Grisé

This project focuses on two key areas: building departmental capacity for undergraduate EL opportunities and developing relationships with community partners. We will use McMaster’s CEE toolkit in designing/refining newly formed EL courses and we will meet with community partners to develop mutual objectives and define student roles.

Social Sciences Research Internship

by James Gillett

This project builds a research internship component into the structure of SOCSCI 700. Currently the Faculty of Social Sciences is formulating a MITACS research internship program in which graduate students participate in fourth month programs of research with a community or industry partner. Under the supervision of a faculty member, this course will guide and support students through their research internships. The course will situate the internship work of the students within current knowledge and theory about doing social science research as outline in the current description.

The experiential-Book: a digital platform for community engagement and student training

by Sandeep Raha, Kim Dej, Christa Morrison, Mike Des Jardin, and Rob Bell

This project will allow McMaster students to collaborate with the current partners of the McMaster Children and Youth University (MCYU) including teachers and community youths who currently attend MCYU or MCYU In the City. Students will participate in the ideation and creation of a digital experiential-book based on McMaster research. 

Exploring Identity through Linguistic Heritage in Hamilton

by Magda Stroinska, Wendy D’Angelo, and Nikolai Penner

The course will allow students to explore and document local linguistic and cultural diversity, including immigrants and the indigenous population. Students will learn to use ethnographic, sociolinguistic, and discourse analysis research methods to record local linguistic history. In subsequent years, students will build on the results from previous courses to create an on-line archive.

Foundations of Community Engagement: Building an Experiential Component

by Kim Dej and Dave Heidebrecht

Collaborating with established Community Campus CoLaboratory partners, this project will build a real-world project-based experience into the level 2 Foundations of Community Engagement course. Complimenting the theoretical knowledge already built into the course, students will be asked to complete a project report and presentation responding to CoLaboratory needs.