The Washington Center’s internship program consists of three key components that include:
A) The Internship
The internship or work experience provides a concrete, practical environment for learning very different from the learning techniques presented in the classroom. It is at your internship where you will learn by being a daily participant in your office. Each student is expected to act in accordance with standards established by the internship office and The Washington Center Code of Conduct.
B) The Academic Course
All students (with the exception of the Postgraduate Professional Development Program) are required to enroll in an academic course through The Washington Center. Courses are held one evening per week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, 6:00 or 6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Special program initiatives have specific course requirements.
C) The Leadership Forum
During your program in Washington D.C., you will attend different activities and events along with your internship placement and the academic course. The Washington Center staff plans events to enrich your experience during the semester. These activities, known as The Leadership Forum include such events as the President’s Lecture Series, Public Policy Dialogues on Capitol Hill, and specially arranged tours, briefings, workshops and/or other small group activities.
Civic Engagement Project
A major part of the leadership forum is the civic engagement project. While you are in Washington, you will have the opportunity to participate in a civic engagement activity. The purpose of involving yourself in society is to help you build your knowledge, skills, and abilities to solve community problems. Civic engagement means identifying and becoming informed about an issue you care about, then working to make a positive difference in public life at the local, national or global level by:
* Volunteering with a social service, educational, or advocacy organization
* Participating in the political or public policy process
* Advocating for policies on issues of concern that make communities stronger
The Washington Center plays an important role in helping you develop the skills needed to identify problems on a local, national or global level, and then taking action to address the problem.
During your Washington Center Experience you will be asked to construct a demonstration portfolio to showcase your accomplishments. Your portfolio will consist of a collection of documents outlined below. The purpose of the portfolio is to demonstrate and showcase what you have learned during the semester and how you made the adjustment from classroom learning to practical learning. Your portfolio is the best synopsis of how you developed skills related to civic engagement, professional achievement, and leadership while in Washington, D.C. The following documents should be included in the two spiral bound portfolios.
* Cover Page
* Table of Contents
* Internship Defense Letter
* Learning Objectives Statement
* Civic Engagement Project
* Informational Interview
* Public Policy Dialogues on Capitol Hill Summary
* Program Specific Assignment
* Work Examples
* Class Syllabus (from your evening class)
Placement process and timeline
The Washington Center works hard to provide placement opportunities closely tailored to students’ interests and needs. Because the Washington Center must often wait until a given term approaches for placement sites to determine their needs for interns, their tailored, individualized placement process often takes some time. Although this process maximizes students’ opportunities, it can sometimes lead to some anxiety. UCA’s liaison can explain the process and the timelines. There are five steps to The Washington Center’s tailored placement process. Placement process timelines are different for each student and depend on the credentials of the student as well as needs of the internship sites. See the Washington Center website, www.twc.edu, for more information.