Frequently Asked Questions about the HRD Graduate Student Internship
If I already have HRD experience, do I still need to take the Internship—OLPD 5696?
Generally, the internship will be not be waived. The reason for this is that while the majority of graduate students in the HRD program do have some experience in the field or in a related HRM field, (a) that experience is most often limited in scope and depth, and (b) there is always room to learn more. Keeping in mind that the goal of this program is to develop well-rounded HRD experts who are capable of working at a strategic level, it is imperative to understand multiple roles and functions (as opposed to being limited to those in a narrowly defined area), students are expected to secure an internship that allows them to go beyond the breadth and depth of their current experiences. For example, if you have considerable experience in training design and delivery, you may use the internship opportunity to develop expertise in training evaluation or to seek experience in an OD project such as team-building.
However, if you have extensive experience, there is an alternative to consider. (Extensive experience is defined as having many years of experience in varied HRD positions, all of which are at a high level in the organization.) An option for those with extensive experience is to engage in a variation of service learning. In other words, you would take your extensive experience and apply it as an expert volunteer to help a service agency engage in training and development and/or organization development.
In order to be considered for this prestigious option, you must submit a resume and request either to Dr. Dave Christesen or, if you are a Rochester student, to Dr. Cathy Twohig. That request must be in advance of the semester in which you plan to register for OLPD 5696. If approved, just as in the internship, you are expected to secure your own service learning site and will need to have the plan approved in advance of beginning the service project. The plan needs to be written on the same form as the internship contract, and tentatively approved by a high level manager at the site in which the service is to be performed pending approval of Dr. Christesen or Dr. Twohig.
How can I avoid making major errors in writing the internship contract?
(a) Begin each step with a verb, not a noun, so that it reflects a process rather than an outcome; (b) make sure each step reflects valid HRD theory (e.g., apply the ADDIE model if your project is development of training); (c) do not try to do too much; rather, carefully anticipate the number of hours you will spend on the project in order to register for the appropriate number of credits; many students spend significantly more time doing the project than the number of credits would warrant; (d) specify how you will carry out the process step (e.g., say "assess training needs by conducting interviews with a sample of employees and reviewing previous survey results."
What if my internship includes some human resource management (HRM) tasks?
The process steps must be those that represent human resource development (e.g., training and development or organization development). However, because HRD and HRM often are closely related, you may be required by your site supervisor to include some HRM tasks as well. That is okay—just exclude those HRM tasks from your time log.
My project contains some confidential or proprietary information. What should I do about that?
If the confidentiality is related to names, note that you will be substituting the actual name with a pseudonym (e.g., Ms. Jane Doe). If the entire project is proprietary (e.g., a full training plan the company does not want to have shared), clearly indicate "INCLUDES PROPRIETARY INFORMATION" on the cover page. The department is committed to honor this request and we are willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement if your organization requires it.
What should be in the letter of evaluation from my site supervisor?
There is no standard format except that the letter be signed and on the organization’s letterhead. Content is at the discretion of the site supervisor but might include something about your working relationships, the extent of satisfaction with your completion of the terms of the contract and with any finished product you delivered. (See also Factsheet for Site Supervisors.)
When can I expect my project to be graded?
Check with Dr. Christesen to identify the last date on which you may turn in your final product in order to have a grade submitted for that semester. Projects submitted after the designated date will receive an "Incomplete" ("I") and will be held until around the middle of the following semester. Note: an incomplete or inadequate final product will not be graded.
Revised March 11, 2016