CarolAnn Shindelar is a current student in the Educational Leadership M.Ed. program and is doing her internship at Harper College. Shindelar discusses her internship experience there.
I chose to do my internship at Harper College last quarter because I believe that community colleges are the “unsung heroes” of our education system. They play a vital role in ensuring an affordable college education for many students, as well as in training the skilled workforce needed by our country. I also live in the Harper College district and am interested in pursuing a position there following graduation.
I did some research online and discovered that Ashley Knight, Dean of Students at DePaul, had previously worked at Harper College, so I reached out to her to ask for an introduction to someone at Harper who could facilitate an opportunity for an internship. To make a long story short, I secured a position last fall with the Academy for Teaching Excellence.
The mission of the Academy is to “create a vibrant teaching and learning culture for faculty that cultivates professional development in support of student success.” The staff is responsible for providing curriculum design and technology resources to faculty and supporting adjunct faculty initiatives. This mission was a great fit with my Education Leadership program, as it enabled me to work directly with administrators and faculty focused on teaching excellence.
Over the course of my four months with the Academy I became involved in several major projects, including the formation of a new program called Communities of Practice (which are like professional learning circles in K-12 schools). I also worked with several curriculum designers to create training programs for online and distance courses, and with faculty members who were incorporating Open Educational Resources (OER) into their classes.
My advice to anyone who is participating in an internship is to take initiative to show what you can do. It’s not uncommon for a department to be unsure of how they should use an intern effectively. I found that by speaking up and volunteering to “take a first pass” at something I built personal credibility, which then lead to stronger collaboration with team members, and ultimately turned into a great learning experience.