• Internships and On-Line Capstone Courses: Transforming High Impact Teaching Practices and Fostering Equity and Inclusion during the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond

      Brown, Kelly; Shine, Beau
      The COVID-19 crisis that hit the United States in March 2020 created untold obstacles and problems for higher education. With virtually no notice and a very short time-frame, faculty across the nation were required to move their courses to on-line instruction mid-semester. This challenge created numerous problems for administration, faculty, and students. Faculty rose to the challenge and through innovation and hard work were able to create on-line learning environments for students that met learning objectives while keeping students and faculty safe. Faculty teaching courses with hands-on learning experiences such as labs and fine arts courses faced additional challenges. This is especially true for faculty supervising internships. Internships are a high impact practice which allows students to work in a professional setting under the supervision and mentorship of community partners. During the COVID-19 crisis, faculty supervising internships had to navigate the concerns and policies of the agencies, departments, and businesses at which students were placed as well as those of their respective universities. Faculty had to transform practical, hands-on learning experiences in the communities into a comparable high impact practice on-line course. The process of transforming experiential learning to on-line capstone courses highlighted issue of equity and inclusion and their impact on student success. The purposes of this teaching practice session are to examine the experiences of transforming internships into capstone courses during the COVID-19 crisis and to facilitate a discussion on the broader issues facing internships and other high-impact practices in the context of equity, inclusion, and student success that were underscored during the pandemic. The need to address issues of equity, inclusion, and student success as they relate to high impact practices is critical to achieving the goals of higher education. The focus of this session is twofold. First, the session facilitators and participants will discuss the challenges faced by faculty during the COVID-19 crisis to move internship courses to on-line capstone courses while maintaining academic rigor and helping students achieve personal and professional goals normally acquired through internships. Second, the session will include a discussion of the challenges and solutions to fostering equity and inclusion in high impact practices, a need which has been identified in the literature and was highlighted during the pandemic crisis in Spring 2020. It is hoped that the facilitators and participants will bring to the discussion personal experiences and reflections on the challenges of transforming courses during the COVID-19 crisis and on the need to ensure student engagement and success through participation in high impact practices in underserved student groups. Ideally, practical solutions to the challenges faced by faculty teaching hands-on experiential learning courses will result from the discussion. Resources Brownell, J. E., & Swaner, L. E. (2010). Five High-Impact Practices: Research on Learning Outcomes, Completion, and Quality. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities. Finley, A., & McNair, T. (2013). Assessing Underserved Students’ Engagement in High-Impact Practices. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities Kuh, G. D. (2008). High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why they Matter. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities. Kuh, G. D. (2013). Taking HIPs to the next level. Ensuring Quality and Taking High-Impact Practices to Scale. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities. Kuh, G. D., O’Donnell, K., & Schneider, C. G. (2017). HIPs at ten. Change, September/October, 8-16. Lei, S. A., & Yin, D. (2019). Evaluating benefits and drawbacks of internships: Perspectives of college students. College Student Journal, 2, 181-189. O’Donnell, K. (2013). Bringing HIPs to scale. Ensuring Quality and Taking High-Impact Practices to Scale. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities. O'Neill, N (2010). Internships as high-impact practice: Some reflections on quality. Peer Review, 12(4), 4-8. Parilla, P., & Smith-Cunnien, S. (1997). Criminal justice internships: Integrating the academic with the experiential. Journal of Criminal Justice Education, 8(2), 225-241.