The November Provisions Session discussed the topic of internships and capstones, and the presenters provided information on the topic from three different departments at The College of Saint Rose. The presenters included Jessica Loy, from the Art Department, Maureen Rotondi, from the Department of Social Work, and Marguerite Lodico, from the Educational Psychology Department.
First, Jessica Loy discussed internships in the Graphic Design Program. Loy stated that most of the internships take place over the summer, and that the internships are a great experience for students for multiple reasons. Aside from the obvious real world experience, Loy explained how these internships are what push the students out of Albany and out of their comfort zone so that they can gain confidence in themselves and their skills. The experience helps students come to the *this is why I am doing this* realization, as well as finding out what they do and don’t like about certain jobs in their field. According to Loy, the students go out to their internships as kids and come back as adults. Luckily, for many Saint Rose students these internships turn into jobs. Loy did remark, however, that the internships are very competitive. Students must often compete against other students in other schools for their positions. To conclude her presentation, Loy discussed what a senior thesis in the Graphic Design Program looks like. She commented that the senior thesis project is what keeps students motivated in their senior year after they come back from the field. Loy said that students are personally driven because they are doing work that they are passionate about. The task is to solve an existing problem in the world, while designing something original, not merely redesigning something that is already out there. Loy states that a major goal of the project is to pull in the students’ liberal arts education, a great way of tying in all of the learning that the students have done outside of their major’s required curriculum. Overall, Loy states that the students feel closure in the presentation and the exhibition of their final projects, where they can self-reflect and see evidence of intellectual growth.
The second presenter, Maureen Rotondi, discussed the internship requirements of The College of Saint Rose’s Social Work Program. At Saint Rose, students in the program are required to complete almost 600 hours of field work before they graduate. In their junior year, students must complete 120 hours of an internship, and in their senior year, over the course of August to May, students must complete 400 hours of an internship. As with the students in the Graphic Design Program, many of the students in the Social Work Program are able to obtain jobs at their internships. Rotondi was sure to mention that it is because of the great experiences that practices have with Saint Rose students that the practices continually help the program by taking new students on each year. Rotondi even said that the Saint Rose students who graduate the program stay in touch and take on interns of their own. Students are observed and assessed with rubrics by their field instructors, and in addition are required to attend support meetings with their peers to discuss their experiences in the field.
Last but not least, Marguerite Lodico spoke about a fairly new program at Saint Rose, about three years old, that’s goal is to improve teacher quality through clinically rich experiences. The program is a residency program in which Saint Rose works with Pine Hills Elementary School (Albany Central School District). The objective of this residency program is to give students more time in the field prior to their student teaching experience. In the opinion of those operating the program, along with many changing programs across the country, the NYSED two, seven-week student teaching placements are not enough. The goals of the project include: one full academic year in the classroom as opposed to a single semester, allowing students to become immersed in school and classroom culture, develop relationships with collaborating teachers and students, to observe classroom practices and procedure, and to assume increasing levels of responsibility for student learning. Ultimately, the students will gradually assume more responsibilities and the longer experience will serve as a soft launching pad for the student teachers. Typically, students are selected at the end of their junior year for this program. These students will volunteer in their placements during the fall, and then assume responsibility and teach in the spring. The students will be supervised in the fall by the same supervisor who will work with them in their assessment in the spring. Students are required to submit a log, as well as meet to debrief on their experiences. Check out Marguerite’s PowerPoint here: A Residency Program
Though they are members of very different fields, all presenters seemed to agree on one thing, their program’s requirements of internships for real world experience all visibly affect students in positive ways, not only maturing them, but giving them great jump starts toward future success.
Check back soon for an audio file of the presentation!