The Center for Career Development offers innovative learning-by-doing experiences to students and alumni.
by James Forkan“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”—James Forkan
In 2010, Adelphi University included experiential learning as a stated goal in its five year Strategic Plan, AU 2015: Experiential learning through internships, service programs, research, and creative work allows students to hone their academic and professional skills, and to stand out to future employers and graduate programs.”
AU 2015 added that the University will “establish and implement an ‘Adelphi Community Fellows Program’ that will offer University-paid and externally supported internships for AU students to work and train with regional nonprofits. Adelphi will promote student-faculty collaboration in scholarship, creative work, and co-curricular projects”. Heading for its fifth year in 2014, the Community Fellows Program (CFP) has grown considerably—to more than 60 paid summer internships in Summer 2012 and again this past summer (including six transfers), versus 20 at the outset.
Tom Ward, executive director at the Center for Career Development, said, “Our team has developed innovative learning-by-doing experiences designed to prepare our students and alumni for enriching and rewarding career paths.” Besides CFP, these include Panthers with a Purpose (paid internships at area nonprofits) and Hire a Panther (paid internships at 11 on-campus departments). Both relatively new programs are managed by Bernadine Waller, M.A. ’10, assistant director of experiential learning at the center.
“These programs are designed to provide students with the skills to increase their likelihood of grad school acceptance and post-graduation hiring,” Ms. Waller said. This year, Panthers with a Purpose will expand to include grad students, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Associate Provost Lawrence Hobbie, Ph.D., and Philip Rozario, Ph.D., director of the School of Social Work’s doctoral program, she added.
Moreover, the various schools that comprise Adelphi University offer their own forms of learning by doing.
The Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies is the most recent school to empower students through experiences beyond the four walls of the classroom. Francine Conway, M.A. ’96, Ph.D. ’99, director of Derner’s undergraduate psychology program, developed its psychology internship program four years ago.
Dr. Conway, who incorporates experiential learning into her Psychology Internship course at Derner, said, “I had the idea to offer the internship program because undergraduate students couldn’t get psychology internships. I believe that the students need internships like this for graduate school and the world of work.”
She emphasized, “I didn’t do this just to get them jobs. They’re doing meaningful work.”
Dr. Conway said she lined up nine students for Fall 2013 psychology internships, for instance, at Nassau Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and North Shore-LIJ Health System’s Zucker-Hillside Hospital. (Until recently, Ms. Waller also taught sections of the course, dating from when she was a graduate assistant.)
“Certainly, there’s a capacity to handle more,” Dr. Conway feels, now that her program has affiliations with nearly 25 community internship partners.
Averaged across four years, the internship program attracts 10 students per semester, she estimated. Although she hasn’t kept track of the number of transfer students among her interns, she pointed out, “Transfers can take advantage as soon as they get here.”
Crista Gallo ’13, a psychology major who was not a transfer, interned at the Regina Residence (a Catholic Charities residential home for teen mothers and their children) through CFP and also was an adolescent psychology intern at Zucker- Hillside Hospital’s Adolescent Pavilion via Dr. Conway’s program and gained much from both “exceptional” experiences. So did transfer Samantha Bassett, who interned at South Oaks Hospital with Dr. Conway’s program.
In addition, Dr. Conway, who also works with Esther Goodcuff, associate vice president for enrollment management and student success, on student retention, now hopes to get sophomores involved in her internships, along with juniors and seniors.
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