Next weekend I’m heading to San Diego for Western States Communication Association’s annual conference. I’m looking forward to going and participating on a panel with several colleagues from other colleges to discuss internship programs.
At Pacific, I’ve assumed the role of internship coordinator for the Department of Communication. In this capacity, I’m working with both students and organizations alike to identify opportunities for students to apply what they’ve been learning in the classroom in a professional environment. I believe in the value of internships because of the opportunity they provide students to gain hands-on experience in a context that interests them. As much as I connect my course material to the “real-world” environment, there really is no substitute for first-hand experience.
Recently, we’ve had students intern with the San Joaquin District Attorney’s office (SJDA), the American Cancer Society (ACS), public relations firms, on-campus units, and more. We’ve been fortunate to have some wonderful organizational partners like these who are so supportive of our students. As we move forward, I’m particularly interested in identifying organizations — like the SJDA and ACS — with whom we can develop long-term relationships where our students can contribute to the success of the organization and, in exchange, students gain valuable experience.
And this is the focus of my presentation at Western next week: how to develop collaborative partnerships to support students’ experiential learning. It’s an initiative I’m committed to and, as a department, we’ve made significant progress toward this end. I’m looking forward to sharing our experience at the conference and, with you, when I return.
Meanwhile, we had some great weather this past week: