Engaged Learning Initiative (ELI)

FHU’s Engaged Learning Initiative (ELI) is a program dedicated to enhancing the academic experience of the FHU undergraduate student. The ELI connects the classroom with the real world – from theory to applied practice. Our ELI develops practical knowledge and skills, so that students are better prepared for future educational and career goals. 

Through the ELI students will:

  • encounter powerful ideas in a challenging, collaborative environment; 
  • embrace their God-given potential and responsibility; 
  • and engage their world in vocation and service


Institutional grants are available to fund student and faculty ELI projects in five categories. A detailed description of each category and examples of projects are found in the Best Practices for Student Engagement Faculty Guide.

Download the Best Practices for Student Engagement Faculty Guide

Download the ELI Special Project Proposal Form

Download the ELI Special Project Rubric

Submit ELI Special Project Proposals to eli@fhu.edu. The proposal deadline for projects to be funded during the summer term is February 1. The proposal deadline for projects to be funded after the summer term but during the following academic year is April 1.

Academic Research Projects
Creative Expression Projects
Global Citizenship Projects
Servant Leadership
Bridge Experience


Recent Special Projects

VFH Thumbnail

Vocational Formation in the Healthcare Industry

In the summer of 2023, Senior CSD major Elizabeth Roberts spurred an engaged learning initiative with classmates from other majors to find ways that our students can interprofessionally learn about healthcare and culture through vocational formation as Christians. Mary Katherine Walker (biology), Zachary Roberts (nursing), and Dalton Shumate (psychology) explored the origins of western medicine, universal healthcare systems, & diversity & religiosity in care with Dr. Meagan Spencer as their sponsor. The group spent 10 days between Nashville and London engaging with various hospitals, attending special lectures, and visiting sites that stage our conceptualization of patient care.

ASHA Thumbnail

American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association 2023 Conference

A group of eight Freed-Hardeman University Communication Sciences and Disorders majors had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana to attend the National American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Conference. While at the conference, the students were exposed to various ASHA speakers, exhibits, and discussion that highlighted recent advancements in the field to which they are studying to practice. The students participated in session debriefs, in which critical analysis of how early exposure to careers, graduate education, and research at the undergraduate level influences their program of study.
Romantic England Thumbnail

Romantic England

In the summer of 2022, Dr. Margaret Payne, Molly Clemons, and Rose Duke explored the literature, landscape and architecture of Romantic England. Their adventures were in connection with Dr. John Mclaughlin's Spring 2022 Romantic Poetry and Pose class. The group of 22 spent two weeks exploring England through hikes and various tours through famous writers' homes. 

Student Rose Duke prepared for the trip through extensive readings surrounding the foundational Gothic novels written during the romantic period. Her focus was to explore ways that the Romantics’ use of the Neo-Gothic intersected with theories of ecocriticism to further expand on how writers such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Austen, and the Shelleys used their surroundings to fortify the works they created. While visiting England, she captured a visual rendering of Neo-gothic architecture and its ties to literature by documenting the experience through a reflective and descriptive photo journal.

English major Molly Clemons embarked on the journey to examine the unique relationship between the writings of William and Dorothy Wordsworth and the nature of William's poems in relation to Dorothy's journal entries. Following this experience, Molly further her studies by completing an independent studies on Jane Austen and Dorothy Wordsworth. 

Dr. Payne's embarked on this adventure with her students to continue her extensive research into women authors on ritual in women's literature.

World of Wonders Thumbnail

World of Wonders

In the fall 2022 semester, FHU students had the opportunity to interact with the celebrated author and poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil who gave an evening talk to the campus and community and provided a poetry workshop for English majors and poetry contest winners in the afternoon. There were several goals of this project, the first being the exposure of FHU students to a nationally acclaimed author. Other goals included the formation cross-disciplinary discussion of the themes and issues connected to the poet’s work, to provide writing students with a poetry workshop with a renowned poet, to shape discussions in Comp I and Comp II classes, and to provide a focus on the wonders of God’s creation and an attention to our responsibilities to the environment. As a result, this project had a direct connection to at least 300 FHU students (including students in ENG 101 and 102—on campus and dual enrollment students, students in Creative Writing, honors students, and those from a number of science classes. Ayers auditorium was filled for the evening session, 17 students attended the poetry workshop, and roughly 150 students engaged in discussions and writing projects in ENG 101 and 102. Two Professors on Poetry sessions were conducted in connection with this project including one that featured interplay between English and science faculty members; that event was attended by roughly 25 students.