Wheaton responsive to student needs for internships

Associate Provost Karen McCormack
Associate Provost Karen McCormack

Inside Higher Ed article includes Associate Provost Karen McCormack’s insight on college’s approach

Each month, Inside Higher Ed’s Student Voice news hub surveys more than 2,000 undergraduates from 114 colleges and universities across the country to explore higher education from the student perspective and then seeks insights from college and university experts on the results and actions institutions should take.

The most recent survey focused on internships and experiential learning and student views on how they find these opportunities and what results in successful outcomes. Wheaton College Associate Provost Karen McCormack was asked for her perspective on the results. Her comments are included in the article “A Need to Succeed: What Students Want and Get From Internships” published September 23 in Inside Higher Ed.

As part of the survey, 2,116 college students and spring 2022 graduates responded to questions about what they would like to see institutions do regarding helping them find and succeed in internships.

In the story, Melissa Ezarik, Inside Higher Ed contributing editor, wrote:

“Students find internships in a variety of ways, as professors teaching classes in which such experiences are embedded know well. At Wheaton College in Massachusetts, for example, which touts its Compass curriculum and the Wheaton Edge program for connecting academic interests to career success, sophomores complete a real-world experience such as an experiential course, which can include completing an internship as part of the course, and all students are guaranteed access to internship funding.”

Describing her own course “How Organizations Work,” which has an internship component, McCormack told the writer that, “Some students sign up for the course and may have already been in contact with an organization, and others reach out to career services staff or faculty, or family members, and start making connections.”

In her faculty role, McCormack, a professor of sociology, collaborated with campus partners to lead Wheaton through the development of the experiential-focused Compass curriculum. As associate provost for academic administration and faculty affairs, she works closely with Wheaton’s Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services.

Ezarik’s story noted: “In her [McCormack’s] administrator role, she sees herself as a connector, helping people in academic departments, alumni or those leading offices on campus, for example, to see possibilities for collaborating. It helps, she adds, when internships and experiential learning fit into the institution’s strategic plan, as it does at Wheaton.”