Senate approves ArtSci internship program

Year-long internship option will begin this fall and be on transcript

A new Arts and Science paid internship program was approved at the Feb. 24 Senate meeting, paving the way for it to begin this September.

The program would expand on the existing Queen’s University Internship Program, which ASUS President Adam Grotsky said is mainly geared towards business, engineering and computing students.

It would consist of a 12-16 month internship related to a student’s field of study, to be completed after third year and counted for academic credit. Employers would provide compensation and the program would be recognized on a student’s transcript and diploma.

Three courses — one in the fall, one in the winter and one in the summer — would accompany the internship, which would effectively extend a student’s degree to five years.

“Those [courses] are basically going to help coach you or take you through the steps to develop the proper skills to excel once you have that internship,” said Grotsky, ArtSci ’15.

Opportunities for internships are “limitless”, he said, because students can find an internship through the Career Services portal or on their own, as long as it’s approved for the program.

Grotsky said he detailed ASUS’s goals and objectives this year during a presentation made for the deans and directors of the Faculty of Arts and Science.

“One of our top goals was to improve experiential opportunities for students, notably through an internship program,” he said.

“We got pretty lucky because the Faculty had the exact same goal and they were working towards the exact same project.”

The Faculty drafted a proposal for the program, which included a letter of support from Grotsky showcasing the student perspective and value of the program.

The Faculty of Arts and Science, along with Career Services, will mainly implement the program beginning in September, Grotsky said, although ASUS may advocate for more flexibility as it develops.

For example, Grotsky suggested a process whereby the internship would occur in three four-month segments — instead of continuously for a period of 12-16 months — so that students could work on completing it during the summertime and finish their degree in four years rather than five.

He said the internship program is important because it provides students with tangible skills that may be lacking in an Arts and Science degree program.

“You come here and you learn a lot about critical thinking, or a lot or skills that, albeit are very important, may not show on a resume to employers,” Grotsky said.

“And that’s where experiential opportunities have a huge role — is showing that we are more than the degree that we have right now, that we can develop concrete skills to put us at an advantage when we enter the workplace.”

Career Services and the Faculty of Arts and Science were unable to comment by press time.

According to the “New Undergraduate Program Proposal” approved by the Senate this week, however, the Faculty of Arts and Science consulted and worked with a variety of stakeholders — ASUS, department heads, undergraduate chairs, Career Services, the Registrar and “industry partners” — while developing the program.

Based on an October survey conducted by the Faculty of Arts and Science to gauge demand for an internship program, 87 per cent of respondents answered “extremely high” or “relatively high” when asked, “If such an internship program was offered, what priority would you place on enrolling while completing your undergraduate degree program?” A total of 192 respondents answered this survey question.

Career development workshops will occur prior to the internship, the proposal said. Students will submit a final work term report and performance evaluations every four months, graded as pass or fail.

The proposal estimated 40 students will enroll in the program in 2016-17, and that it will see a “steady-state” of 200 by 2020-21. It said an Academic Program Co-ordinator would be hired in 2016-17 and another in 2019-20, contingent on enrolment targets being met.

Marketing strategies will be targeted towards high school students and second-year Queen’s students, based on the proposal. Information sessions, cross-marketing with ASUS, career fairs and a social media campaign would be used to inform current students about the new internship opportunity.

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