Basically, an internship is an opportunity for a student to make an orderly, beneficial transition from the classroom to the field. Sometimes, though, students are confused or unsettled by the lack of clearly defined internship guidelines. To avoid such confusion, this handout has been prepared to acquaint you with the basic assumptions and requirements underlying internship arrangements with the Department of Criminal Justice.
Most students are probably familiar with internships in which the time spent on the job is roughly translated into academic credits. For example, an internship with forty hours on the job would equal one credit. In this type of internship, all that seems to be required is that the student work successfully. At the completion of such an internship, the placement supervisor submits an evaluation attesting to the level of job performance. However, it is generally agreed that different students learn at different rates; thus, a significant educational problem arises if the credits for an internship are based only on the amount of hours spent in the work situation. This credit for hours method is questionable because only the level of job performance is being evaluated. There is no evaluation of the knowledge gained relevant to the student's area of study.
A more viable academic method for evaluating internships is to evaluate what is learned during the internship as well as how a student performs. In order to sustain such an approach, it is necessary that the type of learning be analyzed as to its academic relevance: the theoretical relationship between the learning and the student's area of study. The quandary which exists in some departments can be resolved when the theoretical application of the knowledge gained in the internship is the subject of evaluation, rather than how well the student worked for a given number of hours. The Internship Guidelines of the Department of Criminal Justice reflect this commitment to evaluating relevant knowledge.
Because this method of evaluation requires the preparation and discussion of a student monograph, it may be argued that the student who is more advanced in verbal or written skills will be more academically adroit and will, therefore, receive more favorable consideration. However, while this may be true, it does not present an indefensible philosophical position. Speaking and writing are integrally related to thinking, and students who cannot express themselves adequately need remedial work.
With regard to the actual procedure of setting up the internship, all potential interns are required to locate an agency with which they desire placement. The credits for the internship range from one to 16 and are elective. This way, the student will not be forced to accept a questionable placement just to satisfy degree requirements.
Prior to the beginning of the internship, the instructor will contact the placement supervisor by letter. The letter explains that the student will only receive academic credits for experiences which have a theoretical relationship to criminal justice.
The placement supervisor agrees to respond to the following queries:
Upon completion of the on the job part of the internship, students have the responsibility of demonstrating that the knowledge they have gained is related to criminal justice. The procedure used for ascertaining the applicability of the learning is a student monograph (View Appendix F).
If you require clarification on any of the procedures given above, please contact:
Department of Criminal Justice
St. Cloud State University 720 4th Ave. So.
St. Cloud , MN 56301-4498