Internships: enhancing a liberal arts education
Published: Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, October 5, 2011 10:10
The Davidsonian commends the Office of Career Services for their latest attempts to help students secure professional learning experiences outside the classroom. Specifically, the hiring of Ashley Neff, Assistant Director for Internships; the new 100 Internship Challenge; and Davidson's recent membership in the Nationwide Internship Consortium (NIC) will help boost the range of opportunities available to Davidson students during and beyond their years at Davidson.
Students with a liberal arts background have the potential to be at a disadvantage in the job search, particularly in the eyes of employers who feel that such students might be "unfocused" or have few practical skills to offer. The lack of formal pre-professional training can be compounded by the fact that liberal arts students may be more likely to spend their summers doing research or studying abroad rather than finding jobs or gaining valuable work experience. In the past, the College has not allowed students to receive academic credit for internships, which impacted their chances at landing the internship on a non-credit basis.
However, the College's recent decision to begin offering academic credit for internships is a crucial step in helping students secure the best internships, which will help them land the best jobs down the road. Traditional proponents of the liberal arts have feared that offering credit for internships is not consistent with Davidson's aims as a liberal arts institution that emphasize broad learning rather than pre-professional skills. By offering the EXPL 099 credit the College seems to have found a good way to ensure its commitment to the liberal arts and also meet the interests of students who would like the chance to do pre-professional work during their summers.
Students should take advantage of the recent changes that help facilitate learning opportunities outside the classroom.