Date of Award

8-11-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Lynée Lewis Gaillet

Second Advisor

Ashley J. Holmes

Third Advisor

Michael Harker

Abstract

The Association of American Colleges and Universities considers internships as one of several “High Impact Educational Practices.” While these experiential learning exercises are not new, there are resurgent calls for universities to help students find and engage in more internship experiences before completion of their undergraduate degrees. At the same time, however, the US Department of Labor has strict guidelines as to what constitutes “internships” and what constitutes “unfair labor practices.” While there is a history of the private and public sectors creating internships for students in professional-degree programs and business schools, a need exists for more internships for humanities students—particularly English and writing students. This dissertation examines considerations for faculty members working with English majors to develop internship initiatives with structures that have pedagogical foci and follow the US Department of Labor internship guidelines. Using a case study approach, this project examines the growth of Georgia State University’s English Department internship program over the past twenty years. Through exploration into the opportunities, locations, and structures relevant to an urban university, the study reveals how faculty members designed a student-focused program that serves students, the university, and the community. Relying largely upon the review of departmental archives; a study of the history of GSU in the Atlanta community; interviews with faculty members and internship providers; and an exploration into the terms “intern” and “internship,” the dissertation ultimately sets forth considerations for those working with student internship programs and a model for college and university internship program evaluation.

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