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Career Services helps fine-tune new intern survey

UNG Career Services tested a new survey with more than 100 interns earning academic credit through on- and off-campus employers to help fine-tune the process.

For the past few years, the Northeast Georgia History Center in Gainesville, Georgia, has used interns from the University of North Georgia (UNG) to work on projects that ranged from arranging exhibitions to organizing collections.

Each year, Executive Director Glen Kyle wrote an evaluation of the intern's work. This summer, he was surprised to find a new online survey to fill out for UNG alumna Lesley Jones, who interned in summer 2018 and 2019.

"The survey hits on all of the relevant categories," said Kyle, who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at UNG. "The best thing is, it left crucial room for comments to allow supervisors to go into more specifics."

UNG, employers and 87 other public and private universities participated in the pilot program to test the new survey from SkillSurvey and implemented through the Career Readiness Project. UNG is one of the founding institutions of the Career Readiness Project and the only school from Georgia.

The Career Readiness Project was created to help institutions ensure students are prepared with the skills they need to succeed in today's workplace and provide a consistent, repeatable process to produce uniform data to allow colleges and universities to benchmark their students' performance. UNG Career Services tested the new survey with more than 100 interns earning academic credit through on- and off-campus employers to help fine-tune the process.

"The students get a report back, and it's a 360-view of their performance, which is more useful to the students," Farrell said. "They learn where they are capable and where they still need to develop."

The need for a survey arose when employers reported students across the nation did not meet expectations. Specifically, students and recent graduates lacked communications skills and critical thinking and problem solving skills.

The survey helped employers determine the competencies of interns by pinpointing their weaknesses and strengths.

"Instead of a supervisor filling out a form that said the students were great or didn't do a good job, the supervisor and a co-worker receive a link to fill out the survey online," said Diane Farrell, director of UNG's Career Services.

The survey asked supervisors to rate the interns on a scale from 1 to 7. One meant the intern seldom or did not demonstrated competency while seven indicated the intern always or almost always demonstrated competency. Supervisors graded the interns on eight categories:

gather in the grove

Lesley Jones spent two summers as an intern at the Northeast Georgia History Center. Based on her performance and skills, she works there part time now.

  • Critical thinking/problem solving
  • Oral and written communication
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Digital technology
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism and work ethic
  • Career management
  • Global and intercultural fluency

Farrell said students can see the areas in which they excelled and where they need to improve. Career Services is able help them with those areas for development, she said.

"We can teach them how to articulate their skills, strengthen their communication, and bolster their professional growth," she said.

Kyle said most of the UNG interns who served at the Northeast Georgia History Center earned high praise from him and his staff. One intern now works as an interpreter at Thomas Jefferson's home in Monticello, a plantation in Charlottesville, Virginia. Another is working on a master's degree in archaeology in Florida. And Lesley is now a part-time employee at the History Center while she attends graduate school at UNG in the fall.

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