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Zero to Hero: Collaborating On-Campus Through 0-Credit Internship Courses

March 21, 2017 2:29 am Published by 1 Comment

By ANA CLARA BLESSO

With the CEIA Annual Conference just a few weeks away, I am thrilled to share some information about my upcoming presentation: Zero to Hero: Collaborating On-Campus Through 0-Credit Internship Courses. On Tuesday, April 4th, I will present a Speed Session on the 0-credit internship course offered at the University of Connecticut’s Center for Career Development (CCD). While UConn students engaged in both on and off-campus internships are eligible for enrollment in the course, this presentation will focus specifically on collaboration between the CCD and on-campus internship supervisors.

Credit-bearing internships are quite common at many universities, but 0-credit internship courses seem to be more of a rarity. I have noticed several benefits to offering a 0-credit internship course to students, including documenting the experience on their official University transcript. Some students benefit tremendously from earning internship credit, while others may not desire the additional credit and find that a 0-credit option better meets their needs.

While 0-credit internship courses are not found at every institution, at nearly all colleges or universities, both graduate and undergraduate students are involved in a variety of on-campus roles and positions. At times, these roles may include robust internship-level work. In other instances, some elevated and purposeful content can be added to the roles to turn them into quality on-campus internships.

The 0-credit course offered through the CCD features such strategic content, including goal-setting and expectations documents, mid-semester and final evaluations, and a final reflection paper.

My expectation is that these additions can help to elevate a position, mimic components of a more traditional internship experience, and increase a student’s opportunities for learning and reflection. The CCD has collaborated with several departments at UConn to include components of this 0-credit course in their offered internships.

My upcoming presentation will focus on enriching on-campus positions through the strategic inclusion of a 0-credit internship course. We’ll begin by reviewing the CCD’s 0-credit internship course, including discussing the syllabus, assignments, and content. We’ll then discuss common elements that make up a quality on-campus internship, and how the addition of a 0-credit course may be beneficial.

As Speed Sessions feature smaller, roundtable-style discussions, space and time will be allotted for brainstorming possible collaborations and crafting the initial stages of a plan. My hope is that attendees can leave the session with tangible ideas for implementation on their own campuses.

For example, perhaps an attendant from an institution is aware of a first-year experience mentoring program taking place on their campus. While the mentoring program itself is not an internship, the experience is robust, encompasses student growth and learning, and quality supervision is taking place. By adding the components of a 0-credit internship course, the experience itself is enhanced, the student’s work is validated, and a partnership is built with another campus department.

‘Zero to hero’ is no lie – this really is a win-win!

Author: Ana Clara Blesso is the Assistant Director, Experiential Learning, at the University of Connecticut. She can be reached at ana_clara.blesso@uconn.edu

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This post was written by CEIA Inc

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