Experiential Education + Academic Credit = Improved Career Decision Making and Development
EACE Blog contribution by Scott Borden and Sue Pye, Rutgers University Career Services
This article is the second of a three part series focused on the strategic development, growth and ongoing evaluation of of a for-credit internship program, the Rutgers Internship and Co-op Program (RICP) at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, a large, diverse state university.
The Rutgers Internship and Co-op (RICP) program course curriculum focuses on career development and professional growth. The primary course objective is to help students clarify career goals and develop career plans to improve access to post-graduation opportunities. Pre and Post Surveys and rubrics are used to evaluate learning outcomes. Students also evaluate their internship site and instructors. Through this formal evaluation process, not only are learning outcomes evaluated but all aspects of the students’ course experience. This valuable information allows the Experiential Education team to make impactful changes to the program.
Students apply for the internship course through an online application and must submit internship site information regarding the internship and the skills the student will develop. Learning contracts and performance appraisals are also used to encourage the mentoring relationship between the student and supervisor. All internship course instructors are experienced career professionals who are qualified to provide meaningful career coaching to students on how to get the most out of their internship experience and handle issues in the workplace with the goal of helping them gain the knowledge and sophistication required to manage their future career paths.
Though her primary responsibility as Assistant Director for Experiential Education is to oversee the RICP Program, Sue Pye also feels educating employers and building partnerships with faculty are also integral to her work and the success of the program. This increased focus on engagement and partnership building with employers and faculty has been infused at all levels of the UCS team and has yielded positive results for students, employers and UCS. Sue serves as a resource to all employers interested in building an internship program or enhancing their existing program. While not all internships may qualify for the RICP program, she encourages all employers to incorporate mentoring and other valuable aspects of for-credit internships into their programs. When recruiting employers, her goal is to increase the overall number of internship opportunities for students and encourage employers who have internships that meet RICP program requirements to be open to students interested in obtaining credits and participating in the RICP Internship Course.
In working with faculty, Sue’s goal is to promote the University Career Services resources and tools that may be valuable for faculty and their students. This goal has been incorporated into the outreach activities of all staff Career Development Specialists, who schedule regular meeting opportunities with faculty and career-cluster-based “adopted employers” to deepen the awareness of the RICP Program, internships and broad-based, student experiential education opportunities.
The RICP Internship Course is not meant to compete with internship courses offered through academic departments, but serves as an additional opportunity for students who have completed internships through their department or an alternative for those who do not meet department eligibility. A secondary priority is leveraging the expertise available at a large institution. In her meetings with faculty and internship administrators early on in her tenure, she realized how the value of the information and expertise each faculty or staff member has to offer and created the Internship Advisory Group as a way to share this information and best practices among colleagues at the institution. Through meetings and communication, internship faculty and administrators who provide credit-based internship courses discuss current issues such as unpaid internships and share knowledge and best practices. This group also led to the creation of a web based directory of all credit-based internship opportunities available at Rutgers. The directory, which is posted on the University Career Services internship website, provides a one stop shopping resource to assist Rutgers undergraduates in identifying their options when seeking the opportunity to earn credits for an internship.
Scott Borden is a New Jersey licensed professional counselor, national certified counselor, national certified career counselor, and distance credentialed counselor. As a Career Development Specialist with University Career Services, he provides career counseling, life-planning, and related programming to undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing careers within the following areas: business, communication and English. While working with all undergraduate and graduate students, Scott also serves as a liaison to students on academic probation/at risk for retention and transfer students new to Rutgers.
Prior to his experience at Rutgers and in private practice, Scott was an operations manager for Lehman Brothers in NYC for six years, where he managed the OTC Equities group and provided team-building and communications seminars to staff.
Scott holds a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the College of New Jersey, a bachelor’s degree in finance and management from Monmouth University, and is a member of the NJ Counseling Association, NJ Career Development Association, Middle Atlantic Career Counselors Association, and Chi Sigma Iota.
As the Assistant Director for Experiential Education my goal is to help students gain meaningful experience through internships or other related opportunities to enhance their academic and career pursuits. I also serve as an Instructor for the Rutgers Internship and Co-op courses. I enjoy helping students identify and achieve their career goals.
I completed my bachelor’s degree at Rutgers with majors in anthropology and communication. I obtained my master’s degree in higher education at NYU. Prior to Rutgers, I worked at Seton Hall University, The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), William Paterson University, College of Saint Elizabeth, and Kean University.
As an undergraduate alumna of Rutgers, I value the Rutgers experience and understand the complexities of such an impressive and large institution. My advice to students is to hit the ground running and get involved. Start gaining experience and skills by joining a student organization, obtaining an internship, volunteering, obtaining a research experience, or studying abroad.