By the academic year of 2021-2022, every program at NSU will require their seniors to complete either an internship experience, writing project or performative collaborative project, according to the university’s new Quality Enhancement Plan.
The plan began two years ago with an email sent out to all faculty members asking for input on a new academic enhancement plan. Now, after the formation of QEP under former NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson, director of the program Dr. John Dollar is beginning to implement the five-year plan.
During the next five years, Dollar and the QEP committee will enhance five to six NSU programs a year to incorporate “experiential learning.”
“It can be a research paper along the lines of a thesis, or it can be a performance or a collaborative project, or it could be an internship,” Dollar said. In a senior’s final semester, this experiential learning project will count as four to six academic credit hours.
“[QEP] validates your curriculum,” Dollar said. “You ask, is my curriculum good enough for me to get a job? The answer, through experiential learning, is yes.”
As Department Head of Health and Human Performance, Dollar encourages his seniors to get internships before graduating. He has placed over 1500 students into internships and said that many can turn into jobs after graduation.
He calls the opportunity of having an internship, a “golden egg.”
“You take [your egg] out there to an internship and sit on it and make it work and, all of a sudden, it’s going to hatch,” Dollar said. “You’ve got a career and all of these benefits that will put you on track to a successful life.”
Although Dollar is an adamant supporter of internships, he said that he recognizes not all programs can benefit from them. For example, he said, good pianists and good singers do not always fit into internships; that’s why the other two options are available.
For each program, the department chooses only one of the three types of experiential learning projects based on what they expect their students to do after graduation.
“If we could share more good things, our lives would be a lot better,” Dollar said. “It’s not about keeping things; it’s about sharing…Three groups win under QEP; the agency, the university and the student.”
For the entire strategic plan, visit www.nsula.edu/learningforlife/