Adult and Higher Education

HRD 687 Internship Proposal Guidelines

Adult education students are not 'assigned" internships into pre-selected sites. Students who are interested in pursuing this field-based option are encouraged to spend time thinking about their overall program learning goals, the specific outcomes they'd like to achieve from a 300 hour work and learning experience, and the most appropriate contexts within which to achieve these outcomes.

The tradition of adult education internships has been for the student to initiate contact with an appropriate organization, speak with people there about potential internship activities and the availability of qualified supervision, and negotiate an acceptable arrangement. USM faculty are available to assist in this process and to recommend sites where people have had successful internships in the past. This is essentially, however, a student initiated placement.

Once these negotiations have taken place, two letters codify the internship placement from the point of view of the department. First, you are to write a letter to the USM faculty supervisor detailing your interest in this particular internship, what products and/or activities you wish to engage and your key learning goals for this experience. We are interested in knowing not only what you wish to do, but why and how these activities fit into your present interests in adult education/HRD as well as your future personal and professional goals. A 500-750 word letter is appropriate. The letter should also be shared with the site supervisor.

The second letter should be written by the site supervisor to the USM faculty member. This letter should provide information about what the organization wants you to do (in specific terms), how these proposed activities fit into the overall mission of that organization, and what support the organization is willing to provide to you. It may also be appropriate for the supervisor to articulate her/his own philosophy of supervising graduate student interns. It is paramount that a statement of commitment to regular supervision be made in this letter.

It is a normal aspect of an internship that the USM faculty supervisor will make two site visits during the internship period: one at the beginning and one in the middle. If an internship persists beyond a single semester, additional visits may be scheduled. The site visits involve an interview with the student, the direct supervisor, and possible other key persons involved with the internship experience.

While we do not expect people to "punch a time clock," there is a strong expectation that each graduate credit hour earned equates to 100 hours of on-site work. The number of hours that are worked each week or month is a matter of personal and organizational need. Some internships, however, will take longer than a normal semester because students are not able to work the required average of 20 hours per week (for 15 weeks). Another, although less common model, is to work 10 hours per week for 30 weeks (two semesters).

All students taking HRD 687 participate in an online support seminar that meets during the semester for the purpose of providing a regular group context within which to discuss progress, problems, and related issues associated with learning in these field-based and self-directed learning courses.