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Jan. 26, 2023

Spartan Experience Record: An innovative tool for student learning and success

by Kate White

Recognizing the importance of promoting and capturing co-curricular activities and experiences, MSU created the Spartan Experience Record. Launched in 2020, the SER empowers faculty and staff to document students’ participation in co-curricular activities that complement classroom learning.  Categories in the SER are advocacy, community engagement, creativity, education, intercultural, internships, involvement, leadership, research and wellness. “The co-curricular record was truly envisioned to help bring together learning moments wherever they occur throughout the undergraduate student experience at MSU,” says Sarah Schultz, director of the Spartan Experience Record. “The SER speaks to our values of student learning at MSU. We’re building a foundation that's meaningful not only to students but to the greater institution. The SER helps us understand co-curricular learning into the future,” explains Schultz.

A measurable partnership with faculty and staff

The SER grew from an initial set of 212 roles, or co-curricular opportunities, to the current 600. “In direct partnership with MSU’s wonderful faculty and staff throughout the entire institution, we've built a really inclusive, strong compilation of undergraduate student experiences,” says Schultz. Students using the SER to record one or more co-curricular experiences expanded from 6,000 to 9,000. The SER offers a simple platform to find experiences and to begin the engagement process. Faculty and staff can submit new co-curricular activities for consideration at any time. Resources for faculty and staff on the SER are regularly available, and help getting started is as simple as sending an email to

Linked to MSU 2030 and the reaffirmation of accreditation

MSU 2030, the university’s strategic plan, identifies co-curricular activities as part of the Student Success theme, and plans to “Continue to standardize and structure a record for co-curricular and extracurricular activities to allow students to better demonstrate the value of their college experiences.” The SER is the cornerstone of documenting co-curricular activities at MSU.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) includes co-curricular activities as a core criterion for reaccreditation. Core component 1.C.1 is “The institution encourages curricular or co-curricular activities that prepare students for informed citizenship and workplace success.” The ability to document and demonstrate student participation in co-curricular activities is important to prepare for the university’s 2024-2025 comprehensive HLC reaffirmation process. To learn more about HLC’s assessment of co-curricular activities, consider this upcoming training opportunity.

Data, dashboards and storytelling

The SER is adding data and dashboards to expand access to information about co-curricular learning for university leaders. Spring 2023 is the target launch date for the new information tools. The SER will “support student success data and help MSU tell better stories of how our students are engaging and their accomplishments beyond the classroom,” says Schultz. Data on the SER activities will be available at the college level and a unit level. The new reporting tools will report co-curricular activities by students and by major providing deep insights into the availability and participation in co-curricular activities across the university.

The SER supports career development and job seeking

The SER supports students’ preparation for job searching and for interviewing. It can also help shape a students’ resume. Students identify transferable skills from co-curricular activities and use them to shore up their academic credentials. Practical experience and the real-world application of skills provides answers for interview questions and can make the difference in securing desirable jobs. The SER can be requested by a student when they request their transcript. The SER can augment job application materials to verify a student’s participation in specific co-curricular activities.

If you have an experience that you supervise or advise, this is a great time to get connected to the SER team. The SER is a catalyst for student engagement and career development, and everyone’s participation is needed to provide the best student experience at MSU.