Hands-On Learning

What it means to be Western

Before they leave campus, Mountaineers gain workplace practice and put their education to the test. Applied projects give students experience that goes well beyond the theoretical while building their communication, project-management and problem solving skills.



A Western education focuses on unlocking each student’s fullest potential and ensuring they graduate prepared for an ever-changing world. We believe that necessitates going beyond knowledge learned in a classroom setting. Today, it is essential that students enter the workforce with hands-on experience. 

Accounting students participate in Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), which includes learning TaxWise software and serving real-world clients. Students practice their hard accounting skills as well as soft skills such as dealing with difficult clients and conducting financial interviews.

Resort Management students can spend an entire semester immersed at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, working as professionals alongside professionals. Other students head as far as Switzerland for internship experience.

Economics majors consult for local private businesses and government agencies. During their Senior Capstone, students run all project design, implementation and analysis.

Marketing students pair up with real businesses to create comprehensive marketing plans, social media strategies and market research projects.

Innovation, Creativity & Entrepreneurship majors take a required course in which students work one-on-one as business consultants with companies and start-ups. The class fosters networking and exposes students to organizational challenges faced by real businesses. In another class, students create their own business plans—and many go on to launch those businesses.

These hands-on projects ensure students integrate and apply knowledge they have learned in courses to actual workplace scenarios. When our students leave campus, they are prepared with extensive experience and are ready to contribute to their company, organization or nonprofit.