Experiential Learning and the FBI

Wilmington University’s partnership with the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School (HDS) is giving undergraduates a head start in earning their degrees.

Individuals who complete the six-week bomb squad program at the FBI facility in Huntsville, Alabama, can receive 15 credits toward their degrees at WilmU.

“We know that allowing students to leverage their experiences means they are far more likely to complete their degrees,” says Vin Favoroso, prior learning specialist at the College of Online and Experiential Learning.

Favoroso traveled to Huntsville with Dr. James Warwick, director of Criminal Justice programs at WilmU, and Kirk Trate, Criminal Justice adjunct coordinator, to lay the groundwork for writing an industry recognized assessment (IRA) document through which professional credentials are assessed for learning competencies.

“We met with Dr. Ira Jones, the supervisory special agent bomb technician, and saw all types of interesting things, like a reconstructed replica of the Unabomber’s shack,” he says.

Favoroso and Dr. Warwick also put together a flyer for the HDS to post at the school and email to bomb techs, highlighting the relationship between the HDS and WilmU.

“We’ve received almost 20 responses from prospective students from Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California, Maryland, Florida and South Carolina,” Favoroso says.

Based on the success of the undergrad program, WilmU is currently at work on a proposal to expand the partnership, which would permit graduate students to receive up to 12 credits.