Building and sustaining undergraduate English internship programs during and after the COVID-19 pandemic
Experiential learning opportunities (Kolb, 1984; Simons et al., 2012), such as internships, provide valuable real-world learning experiences for undergraduate students. Internships are especially important for students majoring or specialising in writing, who can gain valuable workplace experience and build portfolio pieces from working for a company or organisation. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social distancing measures forced internship experiences to shift to remote and hybrid opportunities. In this article, four faculty from three universities in the United States detail the ways that they pivoted their undergraduate writing internship programs to adapt to public health requirements and changing student needs between 2020–2022. We provide information on creating remote and hybrid internship opportunities and courses, building internship program infrastructure, integrating technology and project management tools into student internship experiences, securing funding for otherwise unpaid internships, and supporting students during their internship programmes. The article concludes with future directions in writing student internships and other pre-professional experiences, as well as additional resources for internship coordinators.
- Respond to student exigences, needs, and material realities with flexibility and empathy.
- Prepare to promote student interns on campus and in your local community with physical promotional materials and brief elevator pitches at meetings, social gatherings, and university-sponsored events.
- Empower student interns through peer-review and peer support networks
- Work with a combination of project management tools (Basecamp, Google Suite tools, Slack, and Zoom), and strategies to centralise communication between instructors, students, and community/campus partners.
- Work with a combination of project management tools (Basecamp, Google Suite tools, Slack, and Zoom) and strategies to centralise communication between instructors, students, and community/campus partners.
Smith, A. W., Canzonetta, J. N., Fedewa, K., & Birdsall, K. (2023). Building and sustaining undergraduate English internship programs during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 20(2). https://doi.org/10.53761/1.20.02.13