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Building Your Internship Portfolio

To receive a grade and academic credit for an internship experience, you must build an Internship Portfolio. Elements of this portfolio - your learning contract, progress report, reflections, final project and performance evaluation - will be submitted to your faculty adviser at various points throughout the semester. The portfolio will be instrumental in evaluating your progress and it will be used by your faculty adviser to determine your final grade. 

1. The Learning Contract

This document is a detailed statement of the goals and activities you will be evaluated on all along the semester. You will be asked to articulate learning goals and strategies for accomplishing them. These goals may consist of any or all of the following elements:

  • Academic Goals (i.e.: academic area(s) of interest, an issue or theory you wish to examine in relation to the internship work or internship organization)
  • Workplace Goals (i.e.: 2-4 assignments/deliverables/projects to accomplish)
  • Professional Development Goals (i.e.: working in a team, Organizational skills, communication skills and public speaking)
  • Technical Skills (i.e.: Excel, Graphic Design, Video Production, Infographics, PowerPoint, etc.)

The Learning Contract is the product of a negotiation held among you, your supervisor, and your adviser. It will be used to remind everyone of the goals you outlined at the start of the internship, the expectations that your supervisor and adviser have for you, as well as your own expectations. Your Learning Contract should be submitted no later than two weeks into the semester. You cannot receive a Passing grade for your internship if the program does not receive your Learning Contract. The information contained in the Contract will be the basis for your mid-term progress report and end-of-year evaluation.

2. The Progress Report

During the middle of the term, you will need to reflect on the progress you have made toward the learning goals stated in your Learning Contract. The Progress Report will provide you with the opportunity to discuss - and, if necessary, revise - your internship goals with your faculty adviser and supervisor.  At this stage, discussions with your adviser and site supervisor about your observations and reflections, as well as your plans for the final project are crucial for the success of your internship.   

3. Reflections  

Throughout the semester, you will be required to submit a series of formal reflections on aspects of your internship experience to your faculty adviser. The number of reflections will depend on the number of credit units you have registered for.

  • 1-2 credit internships will require a total of 3-4 reflections throughout the semester
  • 3-4 credit internships will require a total of 5-7 reflections throughout the semester

These reflections can take written form or can be realized as short, discrete multimedia projects (such as a photo essay, a video presentation with analytical commentary, or a series of voice recordings). Whatever form they take, they should be based on your weekly experiences and observations.

Reflections may include:

  1. Informational interviews
  2. Critical observations about problems faced in the workplace
  3. Historical or ethnographic research about your industry
  4. Description and analysis of the structure of the organization
  5. Work samples with accompanying analytical explanations

4. Your Final Project

A month prior to the close of the semester, you should consult with your faculty adviser about potential topics for your final project. The length and nature of this assignment will vary according to the number of units assigned to your internship.

  • 1-2 credit internships will require either an extended Essay (6-7 pages), which may contain multi-media elements, or a short, creative work accompanied by a brief description and explanation.
  • 3-4 credit internship will require a research paper (10-14 pages), which may contain multi-media elements, or creative work accompanied by a description and explanation.

Your final project can be either a research project or a creative work connected to issues you encountered or observations and experiences you made at your placement site. This work should also be connected to your academic goals and interests. At the end of the semester, this assignment will be submitted to your adviser and will count toward your final grade.

5. Your Supervisor’s Performance Evaluation

Towards the end of the academic term, you will receive an electronic supervisor's Performance Evaluation form to be submitted to your internship supervisor for completion. Your supervisor will submit a completed form to your faculty adviser, evaluating the progress you have made toward your work goals, the skills you attained, and any opportunities for improvement. After  you receive your evaluation, you should make sure to discuss your performance evaluation with both your supervisor and faculty adviser.

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