The internship is an important component in the Jepson academic experience. Internships provide a unique educational opportunity to apply theory to practice and critically assess and revise theory in light of practical experiences. It offers students a chance to exercise and observe leadership in an organization. It also enables students to explore professional fields/industries of interest.
Academic/Scholarly Outcomes: Internship is designed to enrich students’ (a) understanding of the nature and process of leadership and (b) their capacity to exercise leadership in a variety of settings. Students will have the opportunity to:
- Develop competencies in problem-solving, decision-making, organizational analysis, communication, and group work
- Synthesize information to develop new insights into leadership;
- Practice some of the principles of leadership
- Improve oral and written communication skills
Affective/Interpersonal Outcomes: Internship is a highly personalized experience that provides students with the opportunity to extend and develop their skills as leaders, and to examine their own personal values, strengths, and objectives. Students will have the opportunity to:
- Develop proficiency in accomplishing specific and tangible tasks that contribute to the goals of their internship site
- Exercise leadership by problem solving
- Enhance interpersonal abilities
- Increase sensitivity to diversity and individual differences
- Engage in self-reflection and, articulate the results of it
- Examine ethics in leadership and in interpersonal contexts
The internship has an experiential and a reflective learning component that are equally important to successfully complete the course.
- Completion of 240 hours at internship site following a structured learning contract developed with your site supervisor.
- The site supervisor’s evaluation of the intern (e-mailed/mailed directly from supervisor to Dr. Soderlund).
- The intern’s evaluation of site should be completed immediately after the site work is completed.
- Completion of structured intern reflections about your internship experience.
Supporting Documents (25 points per item – attributed to fall LDST 488 course grade)
- Learning Contract – This document should be completed and filed by the end of the first week of the internship. It is designed to clarify your role requirements.
- Internship Site Evaluation – This evaluation is due at the conclusion of your internship.
- Site Supervisor Evaluation – Dr. Soderlund will solicit an evaluation from your supervisor as you are ending your experience.
Intern Structured Reflection (five required – 50 points for each of the five reflections attributed to fall LDST 488 course grade)
While enrolled in LDST 488 in fall 2020, you will be asked to complete an academic paper that connects your internship experience with your leadership studies, a formal presentation about your experience and the way in which you drew on leadership studies on site, and other assignments. As you will not be writing academic papers during your summer internship, you will be asked to complete structured intern reflections that will help you capture experiences and observations that you can draw on when completing the fall assignments.
Intern reflections will be captured via UR Blogs.
This blog is NOT open, it is available to only those students completing their Jepson credit-bearing experience. If – due to the nature of your internship – you have concerns about submitting reflections to this blog, Dr. Soderlund will work with you to identify another mechanism for submitting your reflections.
A minimum of five weekly reflections is expected of each intern, though it is normally six as the hour requirement for the Jepson internship is typically 240 hours (six weeks at 40 hours per week). Reflections should be submitted regularly (e.g. weekly) while interning. If you are completing an eight week or ten week internship, it is HIGHLY recommended that you continue to submit reflections beyond the five required as it will benefit you writing your papers for the fall. EACH REFLECTION SHOULD BE A MINIMUM OF 350 WORDS.
There are several topics to choose from, but you MUST submit at least TWO “Theories in Action” reflections as these will be critical to completing the fall paper assignment. For the other three, it is your choice which reflection topics you want to address. Given that many students are completing virtual internships this summer, you may find that you need to ask questions of colleagues and supervisors to garner some insights that might be more observable/obvious if you were interning in-person/on site with the organization.
Late assignments will receive a 5 point grade reduction per day. If you communicate with Dr. Soderlund more than 24 hours in advance of your weekly due date (Sunday by 11:59 p.m. EST), small extensions may be granted.
Intern Reflection Categories
- Theories in Action (NEED TO SUBMIT TWO REFLECTIONS FOR THIS CATEGORY) – Based on observations of and/or interactions with colleagues (peers and supervisors) at your site, identify a theory that is relevant to describing the operation and effectiveness of your organization. In particular, please include examples of behaviors from your experience that illustrate the theory and/or ways in which interactions demonstrate the theory. Given the circumstances related to COVID and the way that it has changed the nature of work at this time, you might consider the ways in which individuals are managing the changing nature of the pandemic and the way in which it has impacted how the organization operates day to day. EACH REFLECTION SHOULD BE A MINIMUM OF 350 WORDS.
- Leader/Follower Relationships – Describe the leader/follower dynamics in your organization. Given the circumstances related to COVID and the way that it has changed the nature of work at this time, you might consider the ways in which individuals are managing the changing nature of the pandemic and the way in which it has impacted how the organization operates day to day. Please address at least two of the following: how work is structured in the organization (e.g. teams, departments, virtual teams, etc.); how work is directed (e.g. are employees autonomous and self-directed or do they follow standardized procedures); the ways in which decisions are made for the organization (e.g. centralized, decentralized, etc.); the leadership styles of individuals at various levels in the organization (senior level to intern) and whether people who are not in formal leadership roles have influence on others in the organization; the relationship and trust levels between leaders and members in your organization and the way in which followers regard the leaders in the organization; strengths and challenges in regards to leader/follower dynamics within the organization and recommendations for ways to enhance these relationships. EACH REFLECTION SHOULD BE A MINIMUM OF 350 WORDS.
- Organizational Culture – Describe the organizational culture of your organization. Please address at least two of the following: the values, attitudes and expectations about work at your site; the norms and the process of learning these norms at your internship site; the ways in which people interact (formally or informally); the ways in which people communicate; how your site’s context (type of industry or history) affects the way it functions and is led, including whether the site’s context requires the leadership to be more attentive to certain issues than to others; strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s culture and recommendations for ways to continue to enhance strengths and suggestions/strategies to address weaknesses. EACH REFLECTION SHOULD BE A MINIMUM OF 350 WORDS.
- Solving Problems/Improving Leadership – Based on observations of and/or interactions with colleagues (peers and supervisors) at your site identify problems and/or areas that could be improved. Please address at least two of the following: operational issues and/or ineffectiveness and ways in which these may be addressed; under-use, misuse, or abuse of leadership by those in formal or informal positions and ways in which such issues could be addressed; insights about teamwork and collaboration that could positively impact the environment and work product at your site; ways in which you as an intern, who is majoring in leadership studies, might identify issues and share concepts and strategies with supervisors and colleagues that could address the issues. EACH REFLECTION SHOULD BE A MINIMUM OF 350 WORDS.
- Personal Contributions – Based on the work that you have completed to date and the processes you have been involved with at your site, reflect on the ways in which you have contributed to your internship site. Please address at least two of the following: specific ways in which you have contributed to particular projects, events, and efforts; observations and/or perspectives you have shared that have changed and/or enhanced projects, events, efforts, processes; ways in which your insights about leadership have contributed to individual and/or team efforts and work; opportunities you would like to secure for yourself that will enable you to contribute to particular projects, events, programs, etc. When reflecting on any of these, be specific in regards to both your actions, efforts, insights AND the ways in which your contributions have impacted the greater good, the final product, etc. EACH REFLECTION SHOULD BE A MINIMUM OF 350 WORDS.
DRAFT OF PROMPT FOR LDST 488 FALL INTERN PAPER (NOT TO BE WRITTEN/SUBMITTED IN SUMMER)
This is NOT AN ASSIGNMENT YOU WILL COMPLETE THIS SUMMER. This is a DRAFT of the paper you will be asked to complete in fall 2020 while enrolled in LDST 488. This DRAFT will likely be modified some before the fall class given that many individuals are completing on-line/virtual internships that may limit the degree to which they can assess some element of the organization with which they intern.
Theory Into Action Paper
This document should be double-spaced and should include citations to relevant literature and sources. You may use any citation style you choose.
Describe the context of your organization clearly. This includes
- traits of individuals in the organization (physical characteristics, personality, experience, leader and follower behavior)
- relationships between individuals (group identity, intimacy of leaders’ relationships with followers, leaders perceived legitimacy)
- structure of the organization (who has formal power over whom, recruitment and promotion, compensation by position, who interacts with whom internal to the organization, social connections to individuals outside of the organization)
- situational factors
- the physical space/environment where the organization is located
- the tasks in which organization members are engaged.
Select a theory that you think is particularly relevant to describing the operation and effectiveness of your organization. Your options include but are not limited to:
- Trait theories (height, (emotional) intelligence, knowledge, personality, etc.)
- Behavioral theories (relationship vs. task orientation, transactional vs. charismatic/transformational leadership)
- Contingency theories (how relevance of particular traits depend on the situation)
- Relationship theories (social exchange/LMX, social identity theory, social network theory, crowd behavior, theories of leader legitimacy, power and corruption)
- Cognitive theories (implicit leadership theory, cultural leadership theory, role congruity theory, romance of leadership-i.e. do followers overestimate how much leadership matters)
- Evolutionary theory (proximate vs. ultimate interpretations of leadership and followership, comparison to non-humans)
Give a comprehensive description of the main assumptions and predictions of the theory. Cite existing evidence supportive of the theory from both literature AND examples from your site. How well does the theory explain leadership and followership phenomena?
Apply the theory to the operation and effectiveness of your organization. How well does the theory do, at least qualitatively? Where do you think the theory falls short? Where might other theories perform better?
Identify insights gained from application of your theory to your internship experience. How might your theory help surmount problems in the organization? Or improve leadership and leader-follower relationships?