About the Program

The Skills Through Experience Program (STEP) helps all undergraduates develop a set of basic skills necessary for doing well and doing good.  STEP is part of the Public Affairs Program of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School at Syracuse University but is available to all undergraduates at S.U.

You will get the experiences you need to develop your skills and convince employers, internship coordinators and volunteer organizations that you can be a great asset to their organization.

No matter what undergraduate program or college you are in, you can benefit from:

1. Taking experience-based courses offered as upper division liberal arts electives

2. Finding other experience-based skills courses and opportunities at S.U.

3. Benefiting from our Staffing Program where you can get paid for powerful experiences on- and off-campus

4. Exploring our Skills Win Website which provides web and video resources to improve your skills

STEP is designed for you by undergraduates under the supervision of Professor Bill Coplin. These students have prevented Professor Coplin from confusing you with excess words and stupid requirements.

Check out the short description of STEP to learn more about the Program.

STEP Staff

William Coplin PortraitProfessor Bill Coplin
Director
Skills Through Experience Program
Contact Dr. Coplin

Bill Coplin is a Professor and Director of the Public Affairs Program and a Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence. More than 40,000 students have taken his course, PAF 101: Introduction to the Analysis of Public Policy at Syracuse University and 50+ high schools in the northeast since 1977.  Based on the widespread use of PAF 101 and the highly successful Policy Studies Major he introduced in 1977 and managed since then, Bill has demonstrated that the key to skill development is experience outside the formal classroom.
The idea of skills through experience is presented in his widely used book 10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in CollegeHe worked with students and alumni to create the Skills Win Database which provides high quality web and video links on the 38 skills discussed in his book. He now directs the Skills Through Experience Program (STEP) at Syracuse University. His goal is to make the foundational skills required for career and citizenship success an integral part of students’ higher education experience.


Patricia TerhunePatty Terhune
Assistant to the Director
Skills Through Experience Program
Contact Patty

Patty Terhune is a senior majoring in Television, Radio & Film and Policy Studies. She has been a part of STEP for two years since the creation of the experience credit courses URP 270 and 470. As Assistant to the Director, Patty is responsible for any and all administrative duties. She keeps agendas and meeting minutes, edits and proofs report and materials, and manages the four other student employees. She also serves as the teaching assistant for the upper-level experience credit courses URP 270 and 470. Since the introduction of the courses, and their counterpart in specific on-campus units PAF 410, she has helped to ensure their growth and continued success. These tasks have greatly improved her Skill Set 4: Communicating in Writing and Skill Set 6: Influencing People.


joyceJoyce LaLonde
Director of Communication and Evaluation
Skills Through Experience Program
Contact Joyce

Joyce LaLonde is a senior at Syracuse University majoring in Policy Studies and Public Relations. Joyce joined the STEP staff in April 2016 as the Director of Communication and Evaluation. As Director of Communication, she redesigned the Skills Win promotional materials, including the poster and logo. She has also designed the website and written much of the material for the website. To coincide, Joyce edits and proofs all written material for STEP. These tasks have greatly improved her Skill Set 4: Communicating in Writing and Skill Set 5: Working Directly with People. As Director of Evaluation, she will be completing her Honors capstone project on an evaluation of skills-based education. She plans to gather all evaluation material for courses PAF 410 and URP 470 to analyze the effectiveness of experience-based skills education. To complement the reports generated from the existing data, Joyce will research other methods of evaluation. Eventually, she will make recommendations to the STEP staff on how best to evaluate this learning moving forward. Throughout this process, she has improved her Skill Set 8: Using Quantitative Tools and Skill Set 9: Asking and Answering the Right Questions.


aaeaaqaaaaaaaaczaaaajduzzddhzmvkltyznjqtngeyny1imwu3lwe3owuwyze0ogmxmaDavid Robusto
Director of IT
Skills Through Experience Program
Contact David

David Robusto is currently a sophomore at Syracuse University studying Information Management and Technology and Policy Studies. He became a STEP staff member in September 2016. As Director of IT, David edits and maintains all STEP websites and assists in gathering data and analytics.

 


Steven Winschel Jr.
Research Assistant
Skills Through Experience Program
Contact Steven

Steven Winschel Jr. is a sophomore at Syracuse University majoring in Business Management and Finance. Steven joined the Skills Through Experience Program staff in June 2016 as a Research Assistant. He has collected information on course requirements of the colleges and programs across the University. Through this experience, he has improved his Skill Set 3: Communicating Verbally and Skill Set 7: Gathering Information. Steven has also assisted with the development of a university-wide Microsoft Excel certification program. Overall, his experience with STEP has helped him improve his Skill Set 1: Taking Responsibility and Skill Set 5: Working Directly with People.


William Kirsch
Research Assistant
Skills Through Experience Program
Contact Will

William Kirsch is a sophomore at Syracuse University majoring in Policy Studies and Citizenship & Civic Engagement. Will joined the Skills Through Experience Program staff in November 2016 as a Research Assistant. Through this experience, he has improved his Skill Set 8: Using Quantitative Tools and Skill Set 6: Influencing People.


aaeaaqaaaaaaaagbaaaajdrkzmzjzjeylwm0y2etndg5yi1imte2lwi4mdlmyjvkotu1ngKyra Meister
Research Assistant
Skills Through Experience Program
Contact Kyra

Kyra Meister is a sophomore at Syracuse University majoring in Communication and Rhetorical Studies and Policy Studies. Kyra joined the Skills Through Experience Program staff in September 2016 as a Research Assistant. She is currently in training to succeed Patty as Assistant to the Director starting in Fall 2017.


 

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAckAAAAJGQzZjNlZDQ4LTQwZjEtNGE3NC1iNmU2LTFkYjgwYjNjOTJkYQ
Sam Kessler
Research Assistant
Skills Through Experience Program
Contact Sam

Sam Kessler is a sophomore at Syracuse University majoring in Policy Studies. Sam joined the STEP staff in March 2016 as a Research Assistant. She is responsible for formally researching the lack of general skills among high school and college graduates as well as programs to improve skills. There are 5 specific topics the research is divided into: existence of a skills gap, skills in pre-college education, skills in college academic programs, skills in college non-academic programs and programs supports skills outside higher education. She is also responsible for maintaining an annotated bibliography where this research is concentrated. Maintaining the bibliography includes researching articles, entering write-ups for articles and discussing articles with other members of the STEP team which has improved her Communication in Writing, Skill Set 4 and Gathering Information, Skill Set 7. Additionally, the members of the STEP team work closely together which has allowed Sam to develop Skill Set 5, Working Directly With People.