Friday, June 30, 2023

The Private Sector Partnerships to Strengthen Higher Education participants recently organized a series of highly informative training workshops titled "Structured Internships in Agriculture."

These workshops provided valuable insights into internship management procedures, featuring presentations by faculty from the Animal Science Department at Iowa State University (ISU).

The event was held at the universities of Prishtina, Prizren, and Peja, led by Christen Burgett, associate teaching professor and internship programs director for the Animal Science Department at ISU. Assisted by ISU’s ME Ensminger Endowed Chair of International Animal Agriculture Curtis Youngs, Christen delivered a comprehensive training package for participants.

Professors, experiential learning coordinators, and administrative staff from the Faculties of Agriculture at the partner universities attended the workshops. The presentations delivered during the workshops provided a comprehensive explanation of how Iowa State University manages agriculture internships, covering various stages from the enrollment of students in the internship course to credits earned, agreement drafting with companies, monitoring, documentation, promotion and the assessment of internship experiences.

The workshops were divided into four sessions: "The What and Why of Internships," "Developing an Internship Program," "Promoting Internships," and "Developing a Course for Internship Credit," which included a case study presentation on the ISU Animal Science Internship - Graded Experience. The presentations were engaging, encouraging participants to share their thoughts on how ISU's practices could be adapted for their universities.

Attendees expressed their excitement about the informative and inspirational workshops that expanded their knowledge of useful systems and procedures for enhanced experiential learning for students. They saw the workshops as an opportunity to enhance their universities’ efforts in providing students with better, more structured, and strategic internship opportunities in agriculture.

"The workshop served as a valuable platform to raise awareness among professors about the critical significance of actively monitoring student progress throughout their internship experiences. In Kosovo, fostering increased engagement from students and teachers alike is crucial in enabling experiential learning, a very important step towards students' career development. Personally, I found the tips provided intriguing, as they focused on effectively attracting and informing businesses to collaborate with us in providing internship opportunities and monitoring intern progress together."
 Thelleza Latifi, Associate Professor at the University of Peja, Faculty of Management, Tourism, and Environment

The participants look forward to upcoming activities and workshops as part of the four-year project, which aims to support their efforts in offering and managing improved internship opportunities for their students. They acknowledged the increasing importance of experiential learning in today's rapidly changing job market, which offers numerous career paths for students to choose from. The participants agreed that prioritizing students' access to high-quality internship opportunities is crucial for helping them gain clarity in their professional aspirations and establish valuable relationships with potential employers in the industry.