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Column | Meera Komarraju: Applied learning at SIUC prepares students for success
Column | On Campus

Column | Meera Komarraju: Applied learning at SIUC prepares students for success

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Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s College of Applied Sciences and Arts (CASA) continues its rich tradition of excellence by providing real-world industry and professional practice for students. The hands-on and applied learning connects students with their chosen professions and prepares them for career placement upon graduation.

Health Sciences

SIU Carbondale prepares to launch the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program this fall. Laboratories are being outfitted to provide the practical experiences necessary for students to attain their professional licensure. The new labs will be located near many of the other health sciences labs and clinics. This will allow the BSN students to interact with students from programs such as Radiologic Sciences, Health Care Management, Physical Therapist Assistant, and the new Respiratory Therapy program to create an immersive learning environment focused on health-related professions. The applied learning has allowed most Health Science program students to achieve perfect or near-perfect pass rates on their national certification examinations.


From Day 1 in the program, students are hands-on and connecting with industry executives as they prepare for a career developing diagnostic protocols, improving vehicle design, or refining business operations. From small organizations to the world’s largest corporations, one can find SIU automotive graduates applying their practical knowledge in driving the future of the automotive, truck, equipment and mobility industry. Known for outstanding high-quality graduates, industry partners are often connecting with and recruiting students during their very first semester on campus.


Aviation Technologies students gain a unique hands-on opportunity as SIU is home to the only helicopter maintenance training program at a public college or university. Students in the Aviation Flight program have several new pipeline agreements with airlines seeking to hire pilots. The SIU Flying Salukis also continue to demonstrate their hands-on applied learning by winning the National Intercollegiate Flying Association national championship an astounding nine times. Recently outfitting the aircraft training fleet with the latest technology and adding several new planes, this proud tradition of student success is sure to continue.


Our architecture, interior design, and fashion design students gain hands-on experience using technology such as laser cutters, 3D printing, and immersive design/virtual reality labs. Students apply their knowledge and skillsets by working with real-world situations and experiences, such as designing a new corporate office or preparing and hosting a live fashion show.

Looking forward

As the university reimagines itself through academic reorganization, CASA will be transitioning to the College of Health and Human Sciences. Other health-related programs at SIU will be joining the new college. Some of CASA’s existing programs will be joining other programs to develop new colleges at the university. All through these changes, each program will continue its rich tradition of excellence and continue preparing students for success through real-world applied learning.

Meera Komarraju is the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.


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