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Welcome to the November 2018 newsletter of the Center for Research on College-Workforce Transitions (CCWT) at UW–Madison!

Message from the CCWT Director

In the interest of providing a practical and timely resource for the growing community of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners interested in college-work issues in general, and college internships in particular, we’ve re-designed our newsletter starting with this issue.

In these newsletters, we’ll also be giving brief updates about the various projects and seminars happening around the Center, and also for other organizations that are working in this critical area of college-workforce pathways and dynamics. If you have some news or events that you think this community would appreciate hearing about—especially if it’s of national or regional interest—please let us know! Finally, we’ll be featuring an interview each month with an expert working on these issues in our “Meet the Expert” section.

Monthly Digest coming soon…

Since the research and practitioner literature on these topics is vast, complex, and scattered across numerous disciplinary journals, we’ve started to compile a monthly digest of recent research and media coverage that we think would be of interest. We’ll create a page on our Center website where we will compile a list of these papers, reports, and news items. Over time, this should provide a valuable resource for the entire community.

NCCWT Vision

At CCWT our vision is to create and foster a diverse and multi-disciplinary community of people invested in creating more equitable and high-quality college-work pathways and transitions throughout the postsecondary landscape. Our own applied research is focused on putting the student’s voice and experience at the heart of these debates and programs, and we hope that you’ll join us in thinking about ways that we can draw upon our collective ideas, expertise, and research that ultimately may lead to better programs and experiences for all college students.

Thank you for making the 1st Annual Symposium on College Internship Research a Success!

We held the 1st Annual Symposium on College Internship Research in Madison, Wisconsin on September 28, 2018. It was a full-day event with a packed program of panels, research talks and breakout sessions, and it was a great success! We had over 100 attendees from around the country including New York, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Illinois and Washington, DC. Perhaps the most exciting part of the event, beyond hearing updates from cutting-edge researchers about their empirical work on internships, was having a space where people committed to improving internships – employers, students, legislators, researchers, and career services professionals – could gather and talk about the state of the field and what should happen next.

Keep your eyes peeled for announcements about next year’s event, and until then check out videos from the event at our Center’s webpage.

New Research, Publications and Events on College-Work/Internship Issues

Research on college-work issues span a wide range of disciplines including sociology, labor economics, cultural anthropology, education, and the learning sciences. We’ve selected a few recent papers from the scholarly literature, reports from practitioners and researchers, and interesting news items as a sampling of current issues and evidence from this topic that is in the news virtually every day.

CCWT also recently completed a participatory action research (PAR) project on what the general public in Wisconsin thought about the purposes of higher education in the early 21st century. A new report on this project was just released. The PAR project team has also initiated a new project with a group of Hmong-American undergraduate students, which is exploring their experiences with college and its impact on their career goals.

Academic literature

Bayerlein, L., & Jeske, D. (2018). Student learning opportunities in traditional and computer-mediated internships. Education+ Training, 60(1), 27-38.

Jackson, D., & Collings, D. (2018). The influence of Work-Integrated Learning and paid work during studies on graduate employment and underemployment. Higher Education, 76(3), 403-425.

Nunley, J. M., Pugh, A., Romero, N., & Seals, R. A. (2017). The effects of unemployment and underemployment on employment opportunities: Results from a correspondence audit of the labor market for college graduates. ILR Review, 70(3), 642-669.

New reports and articles: Practitioner literature and media

Meet the Expert: Michele Kern Hall, Interim Director, International Internship Program (IIP)

In April of 2018 we launched the College There are so many great people from different disciplines, agencies, and organizations working to help students navigate the transition between college and the workforce, and unfortunately our professional worlds often don’t overlap. To begin remedying this situation, each month we’ll shine the spotlight on an expert and ask them some questions about their jobs and college-workforce issues.



Notes from the Field: Q&A with Michelle Kern HallMichelle Kern Hall

Michelle Kern Hall is the interim director of the International Internship Program (IIP) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to identifying and developing internship opportunities around the world, IIP staff support students throughout all stages of the internship experience.

What is one piece of advice for fellow practitioners who want to help ensure that students’ internships are meaningful learning experiences?

Offering opportunities for reflection is key, whether this happens through an academic course or check-in meetings. There are a lot of things that are new – the location, work environment, schedule, responsibilities, supervisor and co-worker relationships – and that can be very challenging and hard to fully prepare for in advance. Reflecting on those challenges and successes in the moment can help keep an internship in line with learning goals or be an opportunity to adjust those goals.

Sometimes what seems like a “bad” internship can be turned into a meaningful learning experience through that critical exploration.

What would you say to researchers who want to make their empirical work on college internships more actionable and usable for practitioners?

Research that helps us speak to the value of internships from various perspectives is critical. We spend a lot of time talking to potential internship hosts, potential interns, and faculty and staff across campus to coordinate mutually beneficial experiences. Empirical data is essential to back up what we see anecdotally and can help practitioners gain support and buy-in for high quality internship programming.

What do you wish policymakers better understood about your work?

The policy community especially needs to understand that “internship” means something very different to students, employers and academics depending on their fields and personal experiences. Policy that does not consider that diversity and need for flexibility will not be useful for guiding students and employers toward mutually beneficial experiences. Also, the resources required from all parties to execute high quality, consistent internship programming is much greater than many consider.

You recently attended the Internship Symposium. What are still thinking about after hearing from other attendees?

Almost every presenter and panelist I saw directly or indirectly touched on intern compensation and its relation to access and inclusion. How can help we help ensure that quality internship experiences are available to and possible for all students, rather than being another barrier to academic or career progression?

Center for Research on College to Workforce Transitions (CCWT)

1025 West Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706
For more information contact Project Manager Amy Rivera at

The Center for College-Workforce Transitions (CCWT) is housed within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) at the School of EducationUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison. ©2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.