PSC 399 Public Affairs Internship
Department of Political Science Internship Program
Instructor: Takashi Tsukamoto
Office: GRAM 234
PSC399: Public Affairs Internship
This course is designed for you to make connections between the theoretical understandings gained from classroom learning and the actions taking place in the real-life public service/political arenas. Internships are one of the best ways for you to fill the gap: to enter the public sector, make contacts in the "working world," and enhance your academic preparation (as well as your résumé) on a part-time basis (10 hours per week).
Through guided work experience, you will have an opportunity to observe and participate in the practical application of theories, concepts and techniques taught in the Political Science program.
We will be achieving these goals through three principles:
- Critical review of the relationship between knowledge and practice
- Research and analysis
- Oral communication practices
This is a “speaking intensive” course. Therefore, speaking in a variety of oral contexts, including interpersonal communication, small group communication, and public communication is a central part of this course. All students must be interested and active in improving oral communications. It is our understanding that effective communication skills and career development are closely linked. This course assists you to examine this connection.
In addition to the broad goals described above, the following are the objectives of this course:
- To acquire first-hand knowledge about the public services and political career opportunities
- To enhance analytical skills for professional goals
- To improve speaking competence and confidence
- To gain analytical skills for public speaking
- To become an effective communicator in informal as well as formal settings
- To develop confidence in career development in general and in oral communication in particular
In order to qualify for political science credit, an internship must be related in some meaningful way to politics, government, public service, or other facets of civic life. Law offices do not qualify. Internships are available in Washington, DC, the state capital, and in the Triad area. Previous interns have been placed in congressional district offices (Coble, Miller, Watt), federal government field offices (Social Security Administration and Veterans Administration in Winston-Salem; Dept. of Housing and Urban Development in Greensboro), City of Greensboro (City Manager's Office, Police Department, Housing and Community Development), District Attorney's Office, Guilford Count (Elections Office, County Manager), U.S. Attorney's Office, and many nonprofit agencies (e.g., Housing Coalition, Self-Help Credit Union, Court Watch).
It is advised that you choose internships which are closely related to your career interests. It is usually your advantage that you choose an internship with an organization having full-time staff members, specific office space and regular work hours to gain sufficient guidance and substantive learning experiences.
- All internships must be arranged in advance of the semester with both the instructor (for approval) and with the agency/organization (for contract).
- The internship sponsor must sign an official document with the university. Until the potential sponsor signs this document (it is called "Instructional Agreements"), you cannot start working with them. The university does not allow it. Ask me about this document once you find a potential sponsor.
Students must find their own internships. The department doe not place you with organizations. As is true of any job hunting, finding an internship position may require patience and persistence.
The Career Service Center (http://csc.dept.uncg.edu) is an important resource for you. You should contact with them as soon as possible. You can also start from the Government listings (the blue pages) in the phone book. The department also assists you. We have a list of past internship sponsors for your reference. Dr. Ruth DeHoog (Department Head), Dr. Ken Klase (MPA Director) and Dr. Tsukamoto (Public Affairs Internship instructor) always try to expand our students’ internship opportunities and be of your help.
- See Dr. Tsukamoto to discuss your internship – field of interest, placement, strategy, etc.
- Have him sign a written approval (He has the form).
- Take your registration form to Registrar’s Office
The internship experience combines field and classroom work - ten hours per week in the field and one class meeting per week in the evening. Each intern will develop a reading list relevant to the subject matter of their internship, in addition to some common readings. You will keep a daily journal of your experiences which will be periodically reflected upon by you and evaluated by the instructor. Since this course is a speaking intensive course, you will be required to participate in class discussions and make oral presentations related to your internship and your research paper. In other words, student initiatives, interactions and mutual supports are the central parts. Essentially, you build this course.