Advocates for Children

Information for Students

(Second-year Advocates)

Students in the Advocates for Children program are required to serve an internship in an approved organization which is directly involved with children or whose primary function is to support or serve children (i.e., birth to age 17 or 18).

The internship experience is taken for academic credit (CPSP 259C; 1 - 3 hours credit), and is ordinarily served after the first year of the program. The usual time period for the internship is one semester, either fall or spring, but it may also be served during the summer or during the winter intersession. It is possible to register for internship credit after the approved internship has been completed; this is usually the case for summer and for the winter intersession.

In all situations approval from the Advocates office must be received before the internship is begun. There is a form for seeking approval attached (Internship Proposal). It is permissible for students to be paid for their internship service.

Internship Options

While the attached materials provide details and information related to internships in general (CPSP 259C), it is possible for students to select alternatives to satisfy the internship requirement:

Internship Materials

The materials listed below relating to the Advocates for Children internship experience are for your information and disposition:

  1. Observation Log/Internship Report
  2. Research Paper
  3. Grading
  4. Due Dates
  5. Internship Proposal (form)………… page 6 of the handout
  6. Memorandum to Supervisor of Intern……… page 7 of the handout
  7. Supervisor's Evaluation of Intern (form)……… page 8 of the handout

Note: Students who elect either of the alternatives mentioned above, do not need to adhere to the materials described in the following pages. Such students need only to meet the requirements of the chosen alternative as detailed.

Be advised that all materials and stipulations herein apply only to students in the Advocates for Children program who begin their internships or alternatives during the summer of 1999 or thereafter.

1. Observation Log / Internship Report

You are to submit a typed report of your internship experience to Al Gardner at the conclusion of the internship. This report is designated the Observation Log/Internship Report.

      A. Observation Log. You are to keep an observation log with regular entries after each day of the internship experience in preparation for your final report. The log may be handwritten or typed. It is essential that you keep notes of your experiences, perceptions and reactions for each visit, with the hours and dates for those visits recorded in the log. The log will provide much of the material for your report. It is critical that you make entries each day of your sessions so that useful material is not overlooked or forgotten. The log is a working lab book; it is for your use and does not have to be neat and tidy. The log is not your report, however, the OBSERVATION LOG MUST BE SUBMITTED WITH YOUR INTERNSHIP REPORT.

      B. Internship Report. The internship report could take different forms according to your preferences and imagination, and as determined by the circumstances of the internship. The report, for example, might be a paper, a journal or contain features of a journal, a pamphlet or booklet, or a collection of documents and other material in a binder. You may have other ideas, and you are encouraged to think about the best way to present your experiences and what you have learned.

The following are suggestions for areas or topics that you might want to include in your report. It is important that you give a comprehensive account of the internship setting, its functioning and activities, its contributions to children, and of the experiences that you have had and what you have learned about children and of their needs and the ways to improve their lives.

    1. Organization or Setting. This section would include your description and possibly information from brochures, pamphlets, policy statements, objectives and goals, and from what you have learned from the organization's personnel.

    2. Various Inserts and Appendices. Are there items you can include that would enrich the report such as documents, photographs, samples of children's work and staff work, clippings, letters, maps, or diagrams? Do not delay in collecting such material.

    3. Results of On-Site Research. You are required to do some exploratory research such as conducting interviews, administering surveys or questionnaires to children, staff or parents. You, of course, would need the approval of the organization to do this; you may find the officials or supervisors to be supportive and helpful in such endeavors providing the research is not of a sensitive nature. This would not need to be an extensive effort. What was learned from your research? Were the results useful to you? To others? Do not delay in collecting this material and be sure to discuss this with your supervisor and obtain permission.

    4. Conclusions/Summary. This section should include an overview of your experiences: What have you learned about children? What have you contributed to children and to the organization? What has been the value of the experience for you? What parts of the experience were most helpful? Which parts might have been improved?

    5. Recommendations. How do you think the organization or site could be improved or modified to better serve children? What suggestions or ideas do you have for programs or activities for children based on what you have experienced? What did you learn about your personal skills, abilities or other characteristics that are strengths , or may need some improvement? What special training or education would you like to pursue based on some of your experiences? Do you have new insights on careers or life choices ? Would you recommend this placement or a similar one for other Advocates doing internships? Why? Why not?

More on the Report: Much of the report would be commentaries of experiences and observations; however, there should also be written reflections on the experience. The latter including, for example, your thoughts on the practices and policies of the organization, your perceptions of the needs and development of children, your ideas for different approaches to serving children in such settings, and other matters that have been stimulated or enriched by your experiences as an intern. The reflections should be an ongoing part of your report, i.e., throughout the report and not just in your conclusions and summary.

Your internship report is confidential and will be shared with persons other than the Advocates staff only with your permission.

Since we are quite liberal in what constitutes an appropriate internship setting, and since it is impossible for us to visit the many sites of our students, it is your responsibility to focus on making the internship a significant learning experience. While some of your internship activities might include, for example, playing with children, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or filing papers in an office, you are to look beyond these activities and focus on how your overall service experiences are helping you to know the needs of children and the ways of improving the lives of children. Merely describing the activities is not sufficient; you are to think and reflect on the meaning and significance of what you are experiencing. If your placement is not permitting such meaning, you should do whatever it takes to have those opportunities. Asking questions of others and yourself about children is one way to approach this matter; watching and wondering is also useful. The Advocates faculty, your internship supervisor and other professionals can also be of assistance. Do not hesitate in asking for whatever help you need. The research paper described below could be the result of such questioning, and "watching and wondering" during your internship experience.

How "long" should the report be? While this is an important question, it is difficult to answer since the form of the report will determine its quantity i.e., its length, number of pages, the number of attachments, etc. Your goal should be to submit a thorough report of quality in whatever form you select. The amount of time you spend at the internship site could also be a factor related to the length of the report. The amount of on-site time is reflected in the number of credit hours: CPSP 259C, one credit (30-35 hours); two credit s (55-60 hours); and, three credits (80-85 hours).

2. Research Paper

In addition to the internship report, you are to submit a research paper on a topic that is related to your internship experience with the major focus on the development of children or on issues related to children. The papers should be at least five pages in length, typed, double-spaced, and with at least five different references from professional literature. Professional literature includes material that is published or produced for the benefit of those in professional or academic settings, in the form of books, journals, monographs, bulletins, and related works. Sources should be cited in the body of the text when information from resource material or references is used; a bibliography is to be included. An example of a citation cited in the body of the text is (Brown, 1998, pp. 24-27). This is the procedure used by the American Psychological Association; you may use any other accepted system you wish. It is not necessary to use footnotes except for special situations.

The paper should include your reactions and comments on the material being presented. The paper should not have been written for another course or for another purpose. If you are uncertain about any aspect of the topic or the paper, or if you need help or suggestions, contact Al Gardner: office (301) 314-5909 or (301) 405-2814; home (301) 927-7210.

3. Grading

Because of the variety and flexibility in when and where the internship is served, it is impractical for our small staff to visit students or to confer with supervisors during the internship experience. Therefore, the grading of the experience is based on the written evaluation of the supervisor and on the quality of the student's internship report and the research paper. The most important criteria are the internship report and the research paper because they best reflect the benefits of the experience. Only in unusual circumstances, for example, a negative or an extraordinarily positive evaluation would the supervisor's rating have a significant impact on the internship grade. In terms of percentages, the internship report (50%) and the research paper (30%), account for 80% of the internship grade and the supervisor evaluation 20%. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the supervisor's evaluation is returned to the Advocates office as promptly as possible.

The internship grade is neither an "automatic A" nor an "automatic B." High quality work is expected for a grade of A and somewhat lesser quality for a grade of B. Students must receive a grade of at least B in order to meet the internship requirement.

4. Due Dates

The due dates for the internship report, the research paper, and the supervisor's evaluation are given below. The due dates refer to the semester or to the time period (e.g., summer, winter intersession) in which the internship was served, even if academic credit for the internship was not taken during that semester or time period. If the due date is not a university work day, materials are due the next work day thereafter:

Internship Period:      Materials Due On/Before:
Fall semesterDecember 31
Spring semesterMay 31
SummerSeptember 30
Winter intersessionFebruary 28/29

It is felt that the due dates are lenient and reasonable. Students are encouraged to hand in materials as soon as possible before the due date in case revisions or additions are necessary, and to avoid receiving grades of "Incomplete." Extensions can only be granted for the reasons and circumstances printed in the undergraduate catalog for policies for excused absences. Penalties in the form of lowered grades will be imposed for unexcused late materials. Students will not be penalized for late evaluations from supervisors, however, such situations may delay the granting of a grade for the internship.


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