For many college students, internships are the first places where education and work intersect; yet we know very little about what happens when students move, mid course, from sites of formal study to the workplace. Despite the lack of information, internships are popular with students, universities, and employers. Their prevalence has increased over the past two decades, with participation growing from 17 per cent of graduates having experienced them in 1992, to over 50 per cent of college students undertaking at least one internship before graduation in 2008. Many university courses now offer internships for academic credit; across higher education university career services help students find and organise personal internship experiences. The latter kind of internship is the focus of this chapter. As a university career counsellor in both the United States and the United Kingdom, Lundsteen grew increasingly aware of the unquestioned popularity of internships and the lack of preparation students received prior to undertaking them. Their unquestioned benefits are based on linking internship with employability. Internships are therefore encouraged by universities seeking proof of the economic relevance of their courses and by students who aim at entering the job market with goods to offer potential employers. For employers, internships also often operate as auditions where talent can be spotted. These multiple yet overlapping purposes have led to a degree of conceptual confusion with strong claims made for their value and too little attention paid to how these different purposes play out in the internships students experience.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Pedagogy in Higher Education|
|Subtitle of host publication||A Cultural Historical Approach|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||14|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2009|
ASJC Scopus subject areas