As part of my work with the Edinburgh Centre, The College of Global Studies, Arcadia University, I worked with students on the course INPR: Work in Thought & Action acting as advisor and instructor. Consistently, my students amazed me with their commitment to the local community and desire to do more, learn more.
The work for INPR started in the semester before students arrive. Based on student resumés, personal statements, and interest statements, I worked with Edinburgh Centre colleagues to place students at local businesses and charities, including Breadshare, Youth Theatre Arts Scotland, and Historic Environment Scotland’s Engine Shed. This necessitated building new partnerships and sustaining established partnerships as we worked to match placement provider with possible intern to the benefit of each. From cold-calling to emailing hosts, the placement process was dynamic. It required balancing student, host, and course needs in addition to juggling deadlines, student enquiries about the status of their placement, and host questions. Once students arrived in Scotland, they visited their internship placement sites with normally myself and another staff member from the Edinburgh Centre for an introductory meeting before officially starting their internship the following week.
For the course, I developed academic sessions that included a resumé/CV workshop designed to give students the tools necessary to write about their internship and academic experiences in ways that reflect their duties and can lead to new opportunities. Throughout the semester, students developed their own research projects inspired by their placement. As projects developed, I provided feedback on research proposals, drafts, and answered any questions they might have about the process. Students also presented on their project and placement; for each presentation I provided feedback on presentation style and content. I also introduced a peer evaluation component to the presentation sessions so that students begin to develop the skills necessary to provide constructive feedback and increase their own understanding for what makes an engaging and informative presentation.
My goals for the course were to provide thoughtful, helpful feedback where I could while giving students the freedom to engage with topics that inspired them. I also sought to ensure that each student could successfully articulate the importance of their placement – and research projects – to their academic and career goals.