Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Trevor Turner

Second Advisor

Dr. Barbara Hill

Third Advisor

Dr. Moses Norman

Abstract

As a best practice, many postsecondary institutions in the United States use internships to provide students the option of maximizing their classroom learning with practical experiences. These experiences are not only intended to enhance students’ classroom learning but also to increase their employment marketability upon graduation. The internship process involves three stakeholders—the institution, the students, and the employers—and is often managed by curricular and co-curricular departments. However, the manner in which the program is structured varies from institution to institution and even within the institution. Thus, understanding which structures of undergraduate student internship programs are most effective as an academic component of experiential learning is critical for the overall success of the internship programs.

This mixed-methods case study research was designed to examine the Mass Media Arts Department internship structure at the selected institution to identify the components most effective in the students’ experiential learning experience. The study investigated the alignment between the institution’s academic and co-curricular programs, as well as their participating interns’ preparedness and their partner employers readiness. The study also examined the industry’s best practices used by other institutions and recommended by national professional associations to align these variables.

Based on the findings of this study, the following four emergent themes were identified to effectively align and integrate the curricular and co-curricular departments, the interns, and the employers: (a) program structure, (b) student preparation, (c) employers’ relations, and (d) program evaluation.

Future researchers can further examine these emerging themes to improve the relationship between student preparation as part of human capital and the roles of faculty and administration in aligning internship program processes.

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