Policy on Internships, Directed Study and Independent Study - Professor Mayer
The University of Wisconsin, as an academic institution, does not give course credit for life experience or work experience. The Letters and Science policy manual says this about internships:
Credit is earned in the College of Letters and Science by completing courses with academic content. L&S does not allow students to receive credit for internships. In some cases, students in internships may also register in the College for a course related to that internship. Credit may be received for that course. Some L&S departments offer “internship” courses that provide theoretical grounding and academic content in addition to work done in an internship. Students may also use academic material relating to an internship as part of the required work for a directed study course. (L&S Policy Manual, 2001-2002, 206,)
Credits are granted solely on the basis of academic work. Directed Study and Independent Study are designed for detailed work on subjects that aren't covered in the regular curriculum. Internships rarely fit within this model.
As a matter of policy, I do not supervise for credit internships or directed studies for the following:
- work on political campaigns
- internships with student government
- work in the state legislature (this is already covered in political science 427)
- internships with CFACT or WISPIRG
- retroactive credit for work already completed
- Anything that comes up once a semester has started
While it is possible to contsruct a project that has an academic component and an internship component, the normal pattern pattern is reversed: students are looking for academic credit after they have already obtained an internship. Often, students want to pick up a few additional credits to satisfy a distribution requirement or accumulate enough to graduate. Doing this via interneships, in most circumstances, is not consistent with the academic mission of the university.
Ultimately, this means that I sponsor independent/directed study in a very narrow range of circumstances: writing a senior thesis; an intensive investigation of a subject outside the normal set of courses, whre a student is working toward an academic goal and where an internship makes a crucial contribution to that study; or something aligned with the service learning components of the University. Further, I only sponsor directed studies for students I know through their previous coursework with me. An independent study requires careful advance planning.
Here are some examples of internships or directed studies that I have sponsored over the past few years:
-Senior honors thesis work (usualy done under politial science
681 or 682)
-An internship in the Marion County Attorney's Office, for a student doing research on prosecutorial discretion
-Directed Studies under the Summer Sophomore Honors program: one on statistical models of legislative voting, the other on presidential use of mass communications strategies during the first 100 days
While it's true that 698 and 699 are listed in the timetable every semester, this is just a placeholder for those instances where I am sponsoring an Independent/Directed Study. It is not not an indication that I am offering to sponsor every semester.