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Jennifer Holberg

Jennifer Holberg Project: Develop new internship opportunities for English majors, Summer 2011

Thank you again for the Faculty Externship from the Spoelhof Institute for Leadership in Business in order to develop new internships for the English department.  The externship had two parts: 1) to develop twenty new internships and 2) to develop and submit a “Model for Recruiting Student Internship Supervisors and Sites” for future use by the department.   In the four weeks allotted, I was pleased at what I was able to accomplish.

1)  New Internships
In the allotted four weeks, I raised twenty-one new internships for the department.

2)  English Internship Model
Going forward, I propose an initial three-year strategy, after which, the English department reassess its needs. 

Oversight:  As we transition from a voluntary class to a required component of the major, we need to acknowledge that the amount of work to make this option viable will need to be the responsibility of more than one person.  The investment of time alone to make contact with employers cannot fall only to the supervisor of the internship course, especially without any release time.  A team approach is more efficacious, in any case, particularly because securing internships is based on personal contacts, and the more of those the department can call upon, the better. 

Thus, I propose a new departmental committee be formed (of four-five members), called the Vocation Committee.  Because committees have already been assigned for 2011-2012, this committee should be ad-hoc; from 2012-2013 forward, the committee should become part of the permanent structure of the department.

I would suggest that the membership include:

  1. the instructor or instructors for English 380
  2. past instructor(s) of English 380, if they are not teaching English 380 in that academic year
  3. the instructor(s) of English 262.  It is particularly important to have their input because we have relationships with businesses both for internships as well as sites for projects for English 262. We need to make sure the latter do not suffer (nor that we create confusion for businesses) in the cultivation of internships; rather, English 380 and English 262 need to be coordinated together.
  4. a member (or members) of the department who have strong ties in the community  

Timetable
Over the first three years of this requirement, the most important task will be to develop, sustain, and assess internships.  Once we have a stable core of opportunities established, I believe the committee’s work might shift some. I have set a goal of 65 new internships over three years, which should serve our current needs.  Obviously, if the English majors grow significantly, these numbers will need to be adjusted. 

Secondarily, the committee should be responsible for organizing two types of events: vocational panels for students and a yearly reception for employers (in the spring). 

I also believe that the Alumni office and the Calvin Alumni Association can be a critical partner for us.  The CAA board has made it a priority to assist with internships, so I think we should not only work to strengthen our alumni network, but I would encourage the committee to identify ways (and people) to apply for faculty grant from the CAA to support this work.   
 
Year One (2011-2012)

  1. Develop 25 new internships for academic year 2012-2013
  2. Review Career Development database of past English internships for internships to pursue (if employers didn’t post an ad) or reactivate (if they did)
  3. Review English major alumni database for potential alumni to contact for internships
  4. Brainstorm within the committee and department for other contacts
  5. Build upon Holberg’s database for employers and potential contacts.
  6. Work with Career Development to develop appropriate materials for students (navigating CalvinLink, etc.)
  7. Host a thank-you reception for employers in the spring semester, and coordinate thank-you ad in the Grand Rapids Press
  8. Provide a progress report to the department at a spring department meeting

Year Two (2012-2013)

  1. Develop 25 new internships for academic year 2013-2014
  2. Assess students’/employers’ experience from internships in 2011-2012, and make changes accordingly to English 380.  Provide assessment data to capstone/gateway instructors, and assist them in shaping the vocational components of their courses.
  3. Plan vocation workshops for students throughout year
  4. Host a thank-you reception for employers in the spring semester, and coordinate thank-you ad in the Grand Rapids Press
  5. Work with Career Development to develop workshops focused on English majors’ vocational needs
  6. Provide a progress report to the department at a spring department meeting

Year Three (2013-2014)

  1. Develop 15 new internships for academic year 2013-2014
  2. Assess students’/employers’ experience from internships in 2011-2012, and make changes accordingly to English 380.  Provide assessment data to capstone/gateway instructors, and assist them in shaping the vocational components of their courses.
  3. Plan vocation workshops for students throughout year
  4. Host a thank-you reception for employers in the spring semester, and coordinate thank-you ad in the Grand Rapids Press
  5. Provide a progress report to the department at a spring department meeting
  6. Work with Career Development in areas the committee identifies