Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

Navigating Internships and Field Experience in the Wake of a Global Pandemic: A Qualitative Examination of Two Undergraduate Program Experiences
Nicola Davis Bivens, Yolanda Meade Byrd

As a result of the 2019 COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 90% of students across 192 countries, including the United States, were abruptly transitioned from face to face classes to virtual learning due to virus related closures (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2020). While most colleges and universities responded by transitioning all of their face to face courses virtually, that was not a viable or realistic option for students enrolled in for-credit, academic internship and field experience courses given the inherent nature of the courses where students work in a discipline or profession related organization under the supervision of a field supervisor and guided by internship faculty (Davis Bivens, 2011). The following article is a qualitative examination of two social and professional science programs, one in Criminology and the other Social Work, and their experience in successfully transitioning undergraduate internship courses from face to face to virtual courses amid the COVID-19 global pandemic. We make recommendations for faculty supervising internships, field experiences, and other experiential learning activities such as service learning and co-operative education, to anticipate for and prepare for disruptions due to disasters, pandemics, and other critical incidents.

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