TIES - About the Program

Experiential learning
is an educational methodology that utilizes a hands-on, project-based instructional format to truly engage students in the topic at hand, whether it be exploring geology on a mountainside, examining political science with an internship in Congress, or learning history by developing a display with a museum curator.

Examples of experiential learning abound at UW-Eau Claire, including programs such as field experiences in geology, collaborative student/faculty research activities and study abroad. A central tenet of the Centennial Plan is to provide truly transformative experiences for our students. A truly transformative experience would be to participate in a rigorous, challenging, interdisciplinary, project-based program designed to examine a central theme from a variety of scientific, cultural, economic, historical and political perspectives. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is developing an innovative program in experiential learning known as:

Thematic Interdisciplinary Experiential Semester (TIES)


Each TIES semester would be developed around a central theme, such as the:

  • Socioeconomic impact of Hurricane Katrina (New Orleans, LA)
  • Global economic and environmental impact of an emergent China (Guangzhou, China)
  • Social and political transformations in 21st century America (Washington, D.C)
  • Cultural and environmental changes in South America (Mendoza, Argentina)


Potential locations are limited only by the interest and imagination of faculty and students at UW-Eau Claire.


Each TIES semester consists of:

  • Four 3.5 week blocks, each worth 4 credits (16 total credit semester)
  • Four participating faculty members from different departments across campus
  • Interwoven approaches providing different perspectives on a common theme
  • Project based, interlinked investigations
  • Students live in group setting, with common areas, shared housing and meals
  • TIES programs will be done at a variety of international (e.g. Argentina, China, Costa Rica) and domestic (e.g. New Orleans, Washington, D.C.)


  • Project based, organized around central theme
  • Integrated into local society
  • Interwoven, multi- and interdisciplinary topics
  • Writing intensive, with designated time for reflection and evaluation
  • Intellectually rigorous, challenging and stimulating
  • Diverse field settings in national and international locales