STPEC INTERNSHIP POLICY
Internships are a great way to…
… try out in the "real" world what you've learned in the classroom
… investigate possible career paths and/or prepare for the job market
... get credit for life experience (i.e. non-academic learning experiences).
An internship may be paid or unpaid, and can involve anything from working a limited number of hours while taking classes to full-time work over the summer or while taking time off from school. Types of placements range from formal internships (such as the field experience listings offered by the Campus Career Network) to informal, non-traditional internships (such as working with an activist group or student business).
Because STPEC is concerned with praxis (the intersection of theory and practice), STPEC majors are required to complete a three credit graded internship. Students are also welcome and encouraged to do additional internships as electives; indeed, we offer an elective internship placement doing peer advising and consensus decision-making in the STPEC office.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS is part of all STPEC internships and is particularly emphasized in graded internships. Students analyze their experiences and observations and their larger implications in the world. Following are examples of the types of questions you could explore:
1) How are labor relations structured at your placement site? To what extent are they exploitative (i.e. how much control do workers have over the appropriation of the products of their labor)? To what extent does the presence or absence of exploitation impact the way people feel about working there? Do you feel that the organization’s use of your labor was exploitative?
2) What are the demographics (race, class, gender, etc.) of the staff/administration/governing board? Do they reflect the demographics of the clients/consumers/community? Are there internal or external divisions along demographic lines? Why or why not? To what extent do internal demographics impact the organization’s mission and the way it’s carried out?
3) What are the overlaps and disjunctures between “street level” and academic perspectives on social issues? Are there any theories that you find particularly useful for understanding your experiences? Have your practical experiences led you to reassess a particular theory?
4) What are the forces for social change within the organization? What are the forces for maintaining the status quo? On balance, which do you think is more significant?
5) What is the organizational structure of your placement site? What are the benefits and drawbacks of that structure?
6) How do economic conditions, financial structure, and/or funding sources impact the organization’s ability to fulfill its mission?
7) Do the tensions within the organization, either interpersonal or intellectual (such as inconsistencies between mission and practice), reflect larger societal tensions?
8) If you could change the organization to make it more compatible with your values, what changes would you make and why? In what ways have your values, beliefs or perspective changed as a result of this experience?
You don’t have to confine yourself to these questions – let these ideas be a jumping-off point. We want you to take liberties and ask big questions, even if you can’t fully answer them. Think about what issues are relevant to your internship and come up with your own list of topics.
THE STPEC INTERNSHIP REQUIREMENT
All STPEC majors are required to complete a graded internship worth three or more credits (at least 100 hours of work). You must receive a grade of C or better for your internship to fulfill the requirement. Three important things to note:
1) Grades for STPEC 498Y are based on the your written analysis of your experience and observations, including an analysis of issues of race, class, and gender. We therefore strongly recommend that you complete some upper level STPEC courses before registering for STPEC 498Y, so that you have a theoretical framework to use as the basis of your analysis.
2) The responsibility for finding a placement lies with you. STPEC Internship Advisor is available to assist you, but you must do the footwork. Researching and applying for internships can be time consuming. Do not wait until the beginning of your last semester to start this process!
3) You must have the Internship Advisor’s prior approval for your placement. Some special cases:
a) Split placements (e.g. 60 hours in one placement, 40 hours in another) are not allowed.
b) Unsupervised internships (e.g. individual projects, student organizing) are strongly discouraged because they require extraordinary self-discipline. If you undertake such a project and cannot complete 100 hours you will have to start over at another placement.
c) On-campus placements are also discouraged, but are occasionally approved.
d) Prior placements, preferably completed no more than a year before the associated written work, may be approved at the discretion of the Internship Advisor.
Occasionally we grant approval for an internship completed in the past or through another department or faculty member, provided that it meets STPEC’s standards (120+ hours, 3+ credits, 10+ page written analysis, grade of C or better). If your written work is not sufficient, you may still be able to use the course to fulfill the requirement by doing some additional writing.
THE STPEC OFFICE INTERNSHIP
(STPEC 298Y, Section 4)
We invite STPEC students to become more deeply involved in the daily operations of the STPEC Office by participating in the STPEC Office Internship.
Office interns serve as peer advisors for current and prospective STPEC majors, contribute to administrative work and participate in staff meetings where they develop facilitation and consensus decision-making skills. They may also carry out projects of their own design. We will provide all the training you need.
Along with the paid office staff, STPEC office interns function collectively as the day-to-day governing body of STPEC, making consensus-based decisions about current issues and the future direction of the Program. This makes the internship in part an experiment in maintaining an alternative organizational structure within the broader hierarchy of the University.
The office internship is mandatory pass/fail, so it cannot be used to fulfill the STPEC internship requirement. You will receive 2 credits and do an average 6 hours per week of work (including staff meeting). For more information, pick up a copy of the syllabus in the STPEC office.