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The 5 Cards

The Five Cards are your opportunity to explore and apply your knowledge. First read the benefits of participating in the Five Cardinal Experiences then, click on each Card to learn more about the Five Cards opportunities.

 Benefits of Five Cards Participation

  • Apply skills in real-world, hands-on settings
  • Consider new possibilities for the future
  • Develop open-mindedness
  • Build confidence
  • Cultivate constructive relationships with faculty & staff
  • Network in the community and connect
  • Understand self and identity
  • Prepare for the professional job market
  • Build an experiential transcript for employers and graduate schools

The Five Cardinal Experiences

Undergraduate Research and Creative Work card Undergraduate Research and Creative Work
As a sophomore, Bobby Geiger co-authored a research article with Dr. Jennifer Bennet accepted by the Journal of Bacteriology
Internships and Professional Experience card Internships and Professional Experience
Submitting a video every day for 147 days in hopes of earning attention for her moxie and creativity, Kahla Johnson, as a senior, earned an internship with The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Global and Intercultural Engagement card Global and Intercultural Engagement
Students in the course Tropical Biology and Agriculture of Costa Rica, developed a medicinal forest trail in Costa Rica to help support an indigenous tribe's livelihood.
Leadership and Citizenship card Leadership and Citizenship
As a senior, Nisa Williams was recognized by The Women's Book magazine for her leadership in coordinating the Ubuntu mentoring program for area high school and middle school students, teaching the importance of preparing for college.
Community Engagement card Community Engagement
Otterbein has been recognized by the White House for seven consecutive years on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction.

Personalized Cardinal Experiences 

Many courses, co-curricular activities, research opportunities, non-credit bearing work, and off-campus experiences can serve as a Personalized Cardinal Experience (PCE). Review the application for each Card to determine if an experience may qualify. Each Personalized Cardinal Experience needs to be sponsored by a faculty or staff member who will help you identify how the experience will meet the criteria for earning a Card. A PCE Checklist should be completed with your sponsor prior to participation. 

Personalized Cardinal Experiences forms:

The Five Cards Card Characteristics

Each Cardinal Experience should exemplify the following characteristics:

C = Concrete Experience: authentic, intentional, real-world, project-oriented activities that take place beyond the classroom for a significant duration of time

A = Active: hands-on application of knowledge and skills, experimentation, creative process with student ownership

R = Reflective: deep reflective thinking about their experiences, sense-making, digging deeper, and abstract conceptualization

D = Dynamic: promotes change in the world, in the scholarship, in the student, is generative, transformational, reshapes a student’s lens, reframes an issue


Kathryn Plank
Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs & Dean of University Programs

Tabatha Piper
Five Cards Graduate Assistant

Patricia Wilson
Five Cards Faculty Liaison

p/ 614.823.1501
e/ 5cards@otterbein.edu