Encourage Department Involvement

Encourage Department Involvement

As you know, the faculty and staff are the voice of the university with the ability to change policy and procedures or strengthen established programs. Academic internship programs vary in strength and activity across campus. As a member of the university community, you can facilitate the addition of a program or the strengthening thereof by encouraging students to participate in internships, keeping solid ties with your alumni, petitioning your department's chair, and volunteering to help your department's internship coordinator. As members of the university, you may also be interested in hiring an intern for a semester to help with marketing, research, organizing, event planning, writing, etc. Internships truly benefit all parties involved by linking learning and life. For more specific details regarding how you can help, contact your Department Internship Coordinator or the Internship Office.

Stages of Program Development

The level of development of different campus internship programs varies from department to department. Some departments only student interns on occasion, while others have every student enroll as a requirement for graduation. Programs across campus may fall on either end of the field or anywhere in between. No matter what stage of development your department is in, there may be a desire for increasing participation.

Whats Right for Your Department?

The Internship Office has compiled some suggestions for your consideration. This section is divided into groups of individuals with whom strengthening relations may enhance your department internship program: students, faculty and staff, administration, and Internship Providers. Suggestions are listed according to what you would like to have the group of individuals know or do. Elements from each section may be combined to match your department's stage of development, needs, resources, and goals.

Increasing Student Participation

The ideal method for motivating student involvement in internships is to integrate the internship experience into the department's existing curriculum. This ensures the participation of the student and creates the ideal learning environment as the student is able to more fully link academic learning with real-life situations and experiences in a structured manner. Departments that cannot commit enough credits in the curriculum to require an internship may elect for an internship program that is optional, but highly encouraged. These departments can encourage student participation through an ongoing campaign that educates students on the value and timing of an internship. Some tactics follow, though this is in no way a complete list of options.

Informational

  • Class presentations. The Internship Office has a ready-made power-point presentation that you may present in your major and pre-major classes or new student orientations. Download that presentation here.
  • Posters in building hallways, info boards, offices, common areas, classrooms, etc.
  • Internship Booklets may be distributed in department hotspots like offices, hallways, advisement centers, professors' offices, classes, class presentations, etc.
  • Add department internship information into the student orientation packets and other materials or presentations.
  • Develop a department internship website with information about participating in an internship and post department-specific internship opportunities.
  • Link your department internship website with the Internship Office website.
  • Modify your department's information in the University Catalog to include internships as a viable curricular option.
  • Issue department e-mails each semester (or as often as deamed appropriate) encouraging internship involvement.
  • Develop T-shirts with your department's internship slogan or tagline and give to all students who participate in an internship.
  • Stuff textbooks of targeted classes at the beginning of each semester.

Motivational

  • Add the department's internship information/philosophy into the Major Academic Plans.
  • Use your college advisement centers to encourage students to do an internship in their four-year plan.
  • Use your department academic advisors to help encourage student participation.
  • Issue an "internship of the week" e-mail with an internship opportunity that would be applicable to many students.
  • Maintain a list of department-specific internship opportunities.
  • Host a yearly internship fair or join in with the University's Career and Internship Fair.

Garnering Faculty Involvement

Garnering faculty support varies on the general consensus about internships within your department. Use caution if you have vehemently opposed faculty or if internships seem to be a hotspot in your department.

Informational

Post internship success stories on a faculty information board or through well-placed and timed e-mails.

  • Offer an internship presentation at faculty meetings that includes success stories and well-researched statistics about the benefits of internships.
  • Locate studies that have been conducted on internship involvement in other universities that offer programs similar to yours.
  • Find the stance of professional organizations within your department's discipline(s) on internships and inform faculty thereof.
  • Develop a department internship website with specific information on how internships benefit faculty members and how your office is encouraging participation among students.
  • Modify your department's information in the University Catalog to include internships as a viable curricular option.
  • Issue department e-mails each semester (or as often as deamed appropriate) encouraging internship involvement.
  • Offer class presentations on internships.

Motivational

  • Act as an ambassador for internships within your department.
  • Recruit faculty as academic or internship advisors.
  • Develop a top-down strategy with your chair and faculty group leaders then work with faculty to implement the chair's and group leaders' decisions.
  • Maintain a list of department-specific internship opportunities.
  • Position yourself as a resource to your faculty.
  • Host a yearly internship fair or join in with the university's Career and Internship Fair.

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Obtaining Administration Support

Obtaining administrative support varies on the general consensus about internships within your department. Use caution if you have vehemently opposed faculty or leaders or if internships seem to be a hotspot in your department.

Informational

  • Compile semester number reports to show the university growth of internship participation and your department's part in that growth (easily supplied by Adhoc or the university Internship Office).
  • Locate studies that have been conducted on internship involvement in other universities that offer similar programs as yours.
  • Determine the stance of professional organizations within your department's discipline(s) on internships.
  • Develop a department internship website with specific information on how internships benefit faculty members and how your office is encouraging participation among students.
  • Find internship quotes from professionals/industry experts.

Motivational

  • Obtain student testimonials with specifics about how the internship and classes worked together to enhance learning.
  • Issue pre- and post-tests gauging how prepared a student feels about transitioning into the professional field, how applicable he or she feels the internship was to his or her academic study, or how the internship helped him or her to see the connection between learning and life. Consider issuing the same test to students who haven't interned and compare the results to those that have (make sure both groups are at the same level of study, i.e. seniors about to complete the program).
  • Arrange a meeting between the university internship director, yourself, and your chair to discuss the university's position on internships and efforts surrounding them.
  • Position yourself as a potential resource and be willing to head up the efforts.

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Recruiting and Maintaining Internship Providers

Developing and maintaining solid relationships with current Internship Providers is a key component to a successful internship program. Many of the ideas listed here are general, blanket concepts. If you would like help brainstorming industry-specific tactics, please contact the Internship Office.

Recruiting Providers

Most Internship Providers want high-quality, hard-working interns at low-cost and usually want the best students to help their company succeed. Our goal is to keep Internship Providers happy through quality students and solid communications.

  • Host a major-specific or department specific internship fair and invite current, past, and potential Internship Providers to attend as well as all the students in the department.
  • Target potential providers you'd like to work with and distribute a "Potential Internship Provider" packet tailored to demonstrate your department's individual strengths and uniqueness.
  • Carry "Potential Internship Provider" packets with you on business trips, professional meetings, and other networking functions, which you may distribute with your card.
  • Encourage students to seek out providers that may not have previously worked with BYU or considered an internship program.

Maintaining Providers

Once a new provider is recruited, asking them to sign an Internship Master Agreement can be a tricky process. Some departments issue a cover letter explaining the agreement, what it entails, and other specific information. A sample cover letter is available in the Coordinator Handbook. Modifications may be made to suit your department's needs.

  • Prepare students by addressing their role as a university representative. Stress the importance of performing well as their actions can encourage or deter an Internship Provider's future participation in BYU's internship program. The student could eliminate the possibility of future student opportunities with the employer.
  • Establish a good rapport with the provider by meeting him or her in person or, at the very least, on the phone. Contact the employer on occasion during the semester to see how the intern is fairing and see if there is anything you can personally do.
  • Do everything possible to help the employer find a suitable intern for his or her organization.
  • Add a question to the end of the evaluation sheet asking when the provider would like another BYU intern at the organization.

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