PSCI 397 Internship Seminar Spring 2006
January 24: General introductory meeting: reports from the summer interns (read Langton and Kammera essay)
January 31: Didactic on action research and organizational structures (read Stringer chapters 2 & 3)
February 14: First version of action plans due
February 28: Project updates; first journals due as an e-mail attachment sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
March 14: Didactic on action plans (read Stringer Chapters 6 &7)
March 28: Verbatim session; second installment of journals due as an e-mail attachment sent to email@example.com.
April 11: Project updates; additional didactic possible
April 25: Project summaries due; final installment of journals due as an e-mail attachment sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
The requirements for this course are listed below.
Each requirement must be met in order to receive a grade. A brief guide to each requirement follows.
1. The point of the journal is really emotional growth and social maturity. Students learn to reflect on their experiences in the hope that they will train themselves to observe interactions and detect patterns (e.g., how does agenda control work?, who has power?, who are the gatekeepers?, etc). The idea is to encourage students to be flexible, to realize they need to make adjustments to their original plans, to see themselves in the context of the larger a social world. We will read an excellent recent essay by Langton and Kammera on journal writing which approaches the topic from this perspective. It trains students to approach their community experience as “fieldwork.” Go to e-reserve under Simeone. Find PS 397 Internship Seminar—the password is “action”—all lower case letters.
2. The process part of the grade gives students incentives to record and document their action research activities with their community partners, e.g., “on-site supervisor.” There are many internship activities that can serve as part of the process grade—meeting minutes, action plans, interview notes—but every intern will have to complete two important on-campus process requirements. These are (A) filing an Action Research Center (ARC) project summary; (B) attending a bi-weekly internship seminar to discuss and digest experiences.
The project summary is essentially a who/what/where/when/how description of what has been accomplished on your internship project to date. Examples of project summaries can be found in the project binders held in the ARC cabinet outside CLA 263. See the Old House Society project binder for an example of a well-done project summary.
The bi-weekly meeting time allows students to share experiences. They form a learning community in which they can learn from, support and mentor each other. Each intern will be required to attend the bi-monthly meeting. Activities during the meetings will vary, but each internship seminar will ideally feature at least one guided reflection or didactic exercise and one verbatim exercise. The first “didactic” exercise will take place in the second week and will focus on the nature of action research and learning about organizational structure. The reading for this session will be Chapters 2 & 3 in Ernest Stringer, Action Research 2nd ed. on e-reserve. Didactic sessions are designed to teach students key concepts in political science or citizenship skills as they emerge in the course of their internship experience. The didactic allows the professor running the seminar to provide guidance on basic concepts (e.g., what is agenda control?) and how-to information (e.g., how to take minutes, what goes in an action plan, when a status report is needed). The “verbatim” exercise involves writing down word for word in dialogue form a conversation the student had with a member of their organization or the public during their internship. The scripts will then be read by other members of the group and the interaction discussed by the group. By enabling students to recognize the assumptions they bring to their professional lives, the dialogues help students discard dysfunctional behaviors and help them work on developing functional patterns.
3. The outcome requirement encourages students to conceive of their internship as action research (i.e., as a project that produces a definable and useful outcome). The kinds of outcomes vary with each internship, and should be arranged via the learning contract and agreed ahead of time to by the student, the professor, and the on-site supervisor. ARC and the Department of Political Science encourage students to conceive of their internship as action research (i.e., as a project that produces a definable outcome).
4. A supervisor’s evaluation form will be sent to your internship supervisor by the career center after the signed learning contract is returned to the career center office. But in order to lessen the load on our community partners, I will offer the option of a brief meeting in their office, during which I can cover the essential evaluation and save them the hassle of a written report.