Across the Street: Institutional Buy-In and Donor Impact on Internship Programs in the Private Liberal Arts Model

Saturday, January 9, 2016: 11:50 AM
Regency Ballroom VI (Hyatt Regency Atlanta)
Stephanie Rolph, Millsaps College
In 2012, Millsaps College announced a new strategic plan, Across the Street and Around the Globe: Partnerships and Influence at Millsaps College. This plan signified a renewed commitment to experiential learning and community engagement across the curriculum. Shortly after the announcement of this new initiative, the Department of History received a $1 million gift from an anonymous donor for the purpose of internship support and travel experiences, motivating a change in the major’s requirements that includes four (4) hours of engaged learning credit within the total number of graduation hours. This presentation will explore the opportunities and challenges that managing a burgeoning program presents for faculty workload, appropriate placement, funding allocations and student recruitment for the major.

In addition to the increasing diversity of career options that Millsaps history majors are finding through the internship experience, the department itself has realigned its pedagogies to emphasize the applications of discipline-based skills through more project-based work, research collaborations with other institutions and connections with public historians to create a more intuitive preparation for internship partnerships. The accumulation of internship experiences, in effect, has motivated deliberate changes in the history program at Millsaps.

This model is not without its challenges, however. This presentation will also explore what internship management and accompanying strategies require in terms of professional development, partner management, student supervision, equitable workloads among senior/junior faculty members, and alignment with institutional priorities.