Ways DU Faculty Can Help Students Create a Rich 4D Experience!

The 4D Experience is DU’s commitment to students’ lifelong learning, engagement, and thriving through the elevation and integration of four dimensions: intellectual growth, character exploration, well-being, and careers and lives of purpose. 

The four dimensions serve as a holistic framework for students’ educational journeys, not only developing students’ capacities, skills, and knowledge to navigate their educational experience intentionally but also positioning them to thrive beyond DU and to serve and collaborate for the public good. Studies have revealed that a few key college experiences are strongly correlated with engagement and persistence in college as well as post-graduate outcomes: 1) experiences that allow students to reflect as well as connect and apply what they are learning across contexts and 2) a relationship-rich education. Thus, the 4D Experience focuses on guiding students in reflecting and sense-making; deepening, bridging, and applying their learning through signature experiences; and accessing and building their individualized constellation of mentors and advisors. Through these journeys, students pursue their curiosity and cultivate their passions, develop a better understanding of self and self in relation to world, gain strategies to enhance their well-being, and chart purposeful pathways and careers – all in line with the four dimensions. 

Realizing the potential of the 4D Experience depends on our entire campus community, including incredible faculty champions like you. Your mentorship of students goes a long way in ensuring that they have the support and building blocks to thrive, so thank you! Now we invite you to read on and learn more about the 4D Experience and opportunities to further engage. 

The 4D Constellation of Mentors and Advisors 

As a faculty career champion, you are a critical member of the 4D mentoring and advising constellation that provides students with the holistic support that we know is critical to their success. You empower them to make connections and provide important guidance that shapes their trajectories.  

Review our 4D Constellation Map to see how we as the 4D Experience team – and most importantly, as a DU community – are encouraging students to think about further building out their individualized constellations, based upon their unique interests, needs, and goals.  

In addition, for students we are explicating what roles and needs various individuals in their constellations might fill. Check out this handout that profiles the roles of mentors and advisors.  

4D Taxonomy 

Interested in exploring how your course or program learning objectives map to the 4D? Or considering additional opportunities to further embed and integrate the dimensions into your pedagogy and/or practice? Check out the 4D taxonomy.  

This taxonomy maps the 4D to distinct skills, competencies, and habits of thinking and doing; it integrates competencies and skills from national and institutional standards, including the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), and DU’s undergraduate and graduate student learning outcomes. 

In addition, the taxonomy provides reflective questions that may help you identify ways in which you already support – or may further enhance – students’ engagement with the dimensions in your courses or programming.  

4D Faculty Opportunities

Interested in contributing your time and expertise to advancing this work of holistic student development? We would love to welcome you to the team as an affiliated faculty fellow! See below for positions that will soon be posted internally on Pioneer Jobs: 

4D Director of Faculty Initiatives 

  • This position will advance initiatives that support the amplification of 4D in the curriculum. They will do so through overseeing the 4D Faculty Research Fellows as they engage in research, scholarship, and education that advance the 4D model; they will also support integrative, holistic learning opportunities for students (undergraduate, graduate, and professional) through curricular innovation and partnerships including Faculty Senate, the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, departments, units, and schools/colleges. 
  • Annual stipend and two course releases 

4D Faculty Research Fellows (4) 

  • The Faculty Fellows of Reflection, Well-Being, Character, and Civil Discourse, respectively, will serve as content experts, mentors, and activators, interfacing with and educating the campus community on best practices in their respective content area and supporting the integration of these practices across the curriculum and co-curriculum in alignment with the 4D.  
  • Annual stipend and research funds 

4D Faculty Design Fellow 

  • The Faculty Design Fellow will have a demonstrated commitment to the 4D model of holistic learning and development as well as experience in purpose exploration and/or life design curricula. They will support faculty and staff in integrating purpose exploration into their courses or programs, building out touch points that consider the longitudinal elements of a student’s experience. 
  • Annual stipend 

For more information on these opportunities, contact Laura Perille, laura.perille@du.edu.

By Jane Kolb
Jane Kolb Career & Professional Development