D. Bender

Arizona State University (UNITED STATES)
The purpose of this presentation is to describe the development, implementation and student perceptions of a pre-internship seminar within a university interior design program.

Often relegated to university services, this presentation will show how career development can be integrated with existing curriculum by disciplinary faculty. The described one-credit internship seminar is designed to address topics of career development, and to engage students in the job search process prior to students’ required summer internship. The learning objectives, course activities, scheduling rationale, and advantages of the pre-internship seminar will be presented, along with the seminar topics. The benefits of the internship experience to students, faculty and employers will also be discussed. A survey of students who completed both the pre-internship seminar and an internship reveal the most helpful seminar topics for securing an internship were writing business communications, understanding ethics and creating a professional network.

The pre-internship seminar is a practical example of integrating career development into an existing curriculum without displacing any other classes. A typical three credit summer internship was separated into a one-credit seminar during the school year, with two credits then earned for the summer workplace experience. This process can be utilized in any higher education program as an exemplar for creating a workshop-style career development course to supplement a summer internship. In years past, students chose a vocation and began their career development with a clear path to follow. In today’s tight job market, employers can afford to be selective. Having career development skills and an internship can give design graduates a great advantage in a highly competitive job market.