Best Practice in Internships

The Central Methodist University Internship Program follows accepted "Best Practice" in credit-bearing internships by intentionally designing the internship to meet and address the nine components developed and endorsed by the NSEE (National Society of Experiential Education) and the ICEL (International Consortium for Experiential Learning). The principles of "Best Practice" in experiential education separates a normal summer job from a credit-bearing internship by providing a well-planned, professionally supervised, and carefully monitored academic experience.

Intention - Intended result, what does the student hope to accomplish?
In Practice: Initial meeting with Internship Advisor to discuss why the student is interested in an internship, what they would like to do, and how they would hope to benefit.

Authenticity - Provides an opportunity for testing previously learned facts and theories.
In Practice: Sites must be approved by the Internship Advisor and found worthy of providing an "academic" experience. Experience must be mutually beneficial for both the host organization and the student in order for the internship to be deemed credit worthy.

Planning - Focusing on goals and strategies, what does the student want to learn from the experience?
In Practice: All students develop "Learning Goals" which enables the student to become responsible for their own learning. The Internship Information Form with Learning Goals is reviewed by the Internship Advisor and signed in the Dean's Office.

Clarity - Regular and committed communication about what the student is learning.
In Practice: The student meets regularly with the Site Supervisor and keeps in contact with the Internship
Advisor to discuss learning, goals, and any changes.

Orientation/Training - Importance of background, conceptual information, and basic skills needed for the position.
In Practice: Requirements and skills needed for the position are clearly presented to the intern.

Monitoring/Assessment - Regular and on-going feedback given to the student.
In Practice: The intern discusses with the Internship Advisor his/her progress. This assists in allowing the intern to make the connections from classroom learning to the work requirements on the internship site.

Reflection - Examine actions and learning on a consistent and regular basis.
In Practice: The intern is encouraged to reflect on their learning and how the concepts and theories they have been taught in the classroom "play out" in the real world.

Evaluation - Discussion with student about "how" the goals were accomplished
In Practice: At the end of the internship, the intern meets with the Internship Advisor to discuss how his/her learning goals (written on the Internship Information Form) were accomplished.

Accomplishment - Recognition and celebration of the student's accomplishments
In Practice: Completion of a final project, a culminating review of what the student learned from the experience, is required. Students are some times asked to share their experiences with other students in a presentation.

The CMU Internship Program allows students to apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to "real world" work experiences. Studies have shown that college graduates who participated in experiential learning have an advantage when it comes to becoming successfully employed following graduation. A background in experiential learning is also a distinctive advantage to college seniors applying to graduate and professional programs, as post-graduate education becomes increasingly more competitive. Participation in an internship often increases students' chances of beginning their careers on steady footing, allowing them to demonstrate competencies and skills needed in the world of work.

 

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