About SAIL

SAIL, the latest advance in experiential learning at Northeastern, starts with a simple idea: Learning happens everywhere. In every imaginable context. Not just in class and on co-op, but throughout your everyday lives. Your ability to learn from every experience helps you to move more easily among lanes—coursework, jobs, tasks, cultures—and transfer skills to new challenges in today’s fast-paced world.

The SAIL Framework

The SAIL framework sets the foundation for a community where learning happens everywhere. Building upon a shared language, the framework includes five learning dimensions and a set of cross-cutting foundational masteries.

Dimensions and Skills

Each of SAIL’s five learning dimensions includes a set of accompanying competencies, literacies, and attributes. By their very nature, these learning dimensions intersect and deepen over the course of one’s learning journey at Northeastern.

I Intellectual Agility

Intellectual Agility

Learners develop the ability to use knowledge, behaviors, skills, and experiences flexibly in new and unique situations to innovatively contribute to their field.

Learners will:

  • Identify patterns to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena
  • Seek, construct, integrate, articulate, and apply knowledge and aesthetics across contexts
  • Connect new ideas with existing knowledge
  • Generate, analyze, and implement novel solutions to problems
  • Reflect on learning and experience, adjusting goals and developing actions accordingly

Sample Skills

  • Aesthetic Appreciation
  • Computational Thinking
  • Design Thinking
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Information Literacy
  • Integrative Thinking
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Systems Thinking
G Global Mindset

Global Mindset

Learners develop knowledge, skills, and behaviors to live, work, and communicate with people whose backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives are different from their own as well as to consider the global impact of their decisions.

Learners will:

  • Engage and build relationships with people from different cultures and contexts
  • Create inclusive environments
  • Calibrate one’s behavior and communication to exhibit cultural sensitivity in professional and social settings
  • Make decisions and personal choices that reflect an understanding of global repercussions, including environmental, societal, cultural, political, and economic
  • Articulate how exposure to multiple worldviews has impacted one’s own perspectives and ways of being

Sample Skills

  • Cultural Agility
  • Inclusivity/Inclusive Action
  • Systems Thinking
C Social Consciousness & Commitment

Social Consciousness & Commitment

Learners develop the confidence, skills, and values to effectively recognize the needs of individuals, communities, and societies and make a commitment to constructively engage in social action.

Learners will:

  • Demonstrate empathy and concern for individuals, communities, and societies
  • Negotiate and engage in dialogue to resolve or transform social or interpersonal conflicts
  • Take actions to achieve or advocate for social justice
  • Engage in constructive social change through responsible action
  • Identify and articulate one’s own identities and the intersectionality of those identities

Sample Skills

  • Advocacy
  • Civic-Mindedness
  • Conflict Resolution/Transformation
  • Inclusivity/Inclusive Action
  • Networking
  • Systems Thinking
P Professional & Personal Effectiveness

Professional & Personal Effectiveness

Learners develop the confidence, skills, behaviors, and values to effectively discern life goals, form relationships, and shape their personal and professional identities to achieve fulfillment.

Learners will:

  • Build and leverage networks with people of varying backgrounds, roles, and perspectives to achieve professional and/or personal goals
  • Critically and systematically analyze pertinent information to make decisions and/or solve problems
  • Continually reflect on learning and experience, seek feedback, and take actions to achieve professional and/or personal goals
  • Persevere through setbacks and disappointment constructively

Sample Skills

  • Coaching/Mentoring
  • Conflict Resolution/Transformation
  • Financial Literacy
  • Negotiation
  • Networking
  • Organization
  • Planning
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Time Management
W Well-Being


Learners develop knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary to live balanced and fulfilling lives.

Learners will:

  • Build and sustain meaningful relationships with individuals who provide guidance and support
  • Continually reflect on and align behavior with personal values, beliefs, meaning, and purpose
  • Optimize emotional and physical health
  • Consistently employ harm/risk reduction strategies
  • Effectively balance autonomy and interdependence
  • Pursue, embrace, and value aesthetics

Sample Skills

  • Aesthetic Appreciation
  • Boundary Setting
  • Self-Care
  • Self-Control
  • Time Management

Foundational Masteries

The five overlapping learning dimensions build upon a set of foundational masteries. Foundational masteries are those skills and attributes that are critical across all five SAIL dimensions.

Intrapersonal Skills
  • Help-Seeking
  • Independence/Autonomy
  • Initiative
  • Perseverance/Resiliency
  • Resourcefulness
  • Self-Directed Learning
  • Self-Efficacy/Confidence
Interpersonal Skills
  • Collaboration/Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • Leadership
  • Comfort with Ambiguity
  • Humility
  • Integrity
  • Mindfulness
  • Open-Mindedness
Strategic Toolkit
  • Creative Thinking/Innovation
  • Critical Thinking
  • Decision-Making
  • Ethical Reasoning
  • Inquiry & Analysis
  • Problem Solving

Foundational Masteries

Discipline-Specific Skills

Discipline-specific skills are those that are specific to a particular profession or area of study.

The SAIL digital platform

To facilitate an integrated learning environment where all members of Northeastern’s global community can reflect on, learn from, and, most importantly, share their experiences, SAIL offers an app for students and an Educator Portal for faculty and staff.

With the app, learners and educators can build their own global network of peers, collaborators, and mentors and track their experiences, insights, and goals. They can search the SAIL Network for other learners who have done co-ops, taken classes, and participated in a wide range of other offerings that interest them and tap into Northeastern’s most comprehensive database of learning opportunities. Through SAIL, faculty and staff, alumni, and student educators can share their learning opportunities, reach more students, and help them build meaningful connections across contexts.

SAIL for iOS   SAIL for Android   SAIL for Web

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some commonly asked questions about SAIL. Don’t see the answer to your question? Connect with SAIL directly.


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