English Department Internship Program
The internship program provides students with the opportunity to complete semester-long internships for academic credit. These internships extend students' classroom experiences by giving them chances not only to apply their academic knowledge but also to learn new workplace skills. In addition, interns complete an online course to communicate with other interns and to reflect on their own experiences. Below are FAQs related to the English Department's internship program and a link to a copy of the application form.
To download an e-copy of the January edition of the spring 2015 application form, click here: Internship Application Form
To download a PDF of the description for the English Majors' Weblog position, click here: Internship Position Announcements
What is an internship?
Internships are "on-the-job," semester-long experiences completed with the guidance of two people: a workplace supervisor and a departmental coordinator. During the internship, students spend 8-12 hours per week, as scheduled with their supervisors, working on projects. They also simultaneously complete an online course, ENG 369, Cooperative Education in English I, taught by Dr. Angela Jones, Internship Coordinator.
In the English Department, internships are arranged in consultation with Dr. Jones. To indicate your interest in an internship, complete an Internship Application Form in advance of the semester you would like to intern. For full consideration for internships within the English Department, applications are due to Dr. Jones by the following dates:
- Spring placements: October 31
- Fall placements: March 31
While completing internships, students also enroll in an online course, ENG 369. This course is delivered through Blackboard and email and carries three credit hours. ENG 369 helps students reflect on their experiences and discuss them with fellow interns and the Internship Coordinator. The syllabus for the course is posted on TopNet: please review the current semester's syllabus to learn more about the course requirements and deadlines.
To find out more about the kinds of internship experiences possible, see these departmental internship descriptions:
- ENG 299 Teaching Assistant
- The English Majors' Weblog
- Students Teaching English Paper Strategies (STEPS)
Why should I consider an internship?
Internships provide opportunities to apply existing skills to new situations and to integrate knowledge about oneself and one's discipline. Several recent studies of college education and its effectiveness in preparing students for the workplace argue that college students need more practice applying the information they learn in the classroom to situations and problems outside of the classroom. Internships help students gain this critical experience.
Demonstrating an ability to use skills outside of an academic setting is especially important as English majors because--although their skills are extremely applicable in most workplaces--graduates may have to "market" themselves more assertively than students in other majors and show prospective employers how any of these "soft skills" apply to specific positions.
Completing an internship also allows students to learn about themselves and what kind of work they find enriching. As one intern wrote in her final report, "Never did I imagine that I would enjoy my internship as much as I did" and "I learned so much about myself, as well as the workplace."
When should I consider completing an internship?
Internships are beneficial to students at all stages of their undergraduate experience. Here are some advantages of completing at internship during different years:
- Sophomore: provides the opportunity to "sample" workplace setting early in academic career, when students can still make adjustments in concentration, minor, or coursework.
- Junior: gives an opportunity for student to have taken more major courses, thereby bringing more course-related skills to the internship setting.
- Senior: functions as a type of "capstone" to students' undergraduate experience, where they can apply nearly all major courses to the internship and then use the internship to inform decisions about post-graduation employment.
Internships are normally completed during the academic year (fall and spring semesters). In some cases, it is possible to arrange an internship for one of the summer terms; however, it is essential to talk to Dr. Jones well in advance if you are considering a summer placement.
What kinds of internships have WKU English students completed?
WKU English students have completed a variety of internships at locations both on and off campus. This list highlights some of their experiences:
Editing and publishing:
- ENG 299, Introduction to English Studies
- Copy of TA general description
Regional news correspondent:
- Society for Values in Higher Education
- WKU ALIVE Center
- For information about current internship opportunities, see this section of the ALIVE Center's website.
Business and industry:
Web editor and writer:
Students are encouraged to develop their own placements with employers or organizations in which they are interested. However, Dr. Jones has established relationships with some organizations and is available to assist with the application process.
How and when can I indicate my interest in an internship within the English Department?
It is easy to indicate your interest in becoming an intern--or to apply for a specific departmental placement. Just complete a copy of the Internship Application Form and return it to Dr. Jones, following the instructions on the form.
For full consideration for internships within the English Department, applications are generally due to Dr. Jones by the following dates:
- Spring placement: October 31
- Fall placement: March 31
For internship placements students locate themselves, deadlines and application procedures will vary. Students should follow the organization's requirements specifically and contact the organization if they have questions about its process.
What classes could help prepare me to complete an internship successfully?
Many classes can help prepare you to participate in a workplace environment, as you will in your internship. This list includes classes in the English Department that have assisted previous interns, specifically in completing on-the-job writing and their assignments for ENG 369:
- ENG 306, Business Writing
- ENG 307, Technical Writing
- ENG 402, Editing and Publishing
- ENG 415, Writing and Technology
Students interested in completing an internship with a specific organization should check with that organization in advance to see what preparation it requires from its interns. For example, a poetry press will likely want interns to have completed creative writing classes in poetry prior to applying for its internship. A news organization may look for interns with experience and/or coursework in writing and photography in a journalistic style.
Is is possible to complete two internships and earn credit for both?
Yes. The English Department has created two separate internship courses: ENG 369 and ENG 389. Should students decide to complete a second internship, they may enroll in ENG 389 and earn an additional three hours of course credit.
What have previous interns said about their experiences?
Previous interns report a great deal of satisfaction with their experiences. in fact, all nine students completing internships between January 2010 and May 2011 agree that they would recommend the experience to a friend who is majoring or minoring in English.
More specifically, here are some of those students' comments on their anonymous final surveys:
- I had a great semester, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to complete this internship. It provided me with skills that will translate into any employment situation.
- I really loved this internship and feel like I have grown tremendously by being able to take part in it.
- Thank you for the opportunity to take this class; I will never forget this experience.
- The most valuable component of my internship experience was the opportunity to apply the professional writing skills I have acquired in achieving my degree in a professional setting. It allowed me to experiment with different fields of writing and helped me determine which areas I excelled in. I was also faced with situations that resulted in me developing a network and displaying my skills to other businesses and organizations.
- There were many valuable components but I must say the most valuable was being able to obtain real-world experience of what teaching is actually like. The fact that I got to lead a class, create assignments, grade papers, and mentor students is something that is invaluable. It gave me a lot of insight into my future career as an English teacher. Concerning the ENG 369 course, it was very useful to be able to reflect with a fellow intern and constantly collaborate on our experiences both online and in person.
- The most valuable component of my internship was getting to work with so many diverse people. I worked with professors in different areas of English who are accomplished and experienced individuals as well as other interns who were having similar and different experienced from my own that they graciously shared with me, and I worked with college students in the classroom, helping them to learn and learning from them.
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