Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Research Articles

Vol. 14 No. 4

PALs: Fostering Student Engagement and Interactive Learning

  • Thomas Hancock
  • Stella Smith
  • Candace Timpte
  • Jennifer Wunder
December 14, 2010


Georgia Gwinnett College is a new, outcomes-based college dedicatedto innovative, active-learning environments. To better meet that goal, we have developed Partners in Active Learning, or PALs: learning communities that provide students with integrated educationalexperiences that meet the "Essential Learning Outcomes" of the 21st century articulated in the AAC&U's 2008 report, College Learning for the New Global Century. In PALs, faculty members from multipledisciplines team up with community partners and focus their teaching efforts on collaborative projects that provide an authentic learning environment for students to evaluate and respond to real-world issues. This article describes the grounding principles of PALs; the growth and refinement of PALs pilot projects over three semesters; the challenges faced and the solutions devised; and strategies readers can use to implement a PALs program on their campuses.