Permatern: Perma-change in internships? Perma-not really.


I write to draw your attention to a February 2013 Washingtonian article “The Age of the Permanent Intern,” by Hannah Seligson, and my American University School of Professional and Extended Studies (SPExS) reaction to it. The story here,  reveals that recent college graduates are often exploited in long-term internships that offer no credit and are unpaid.  In this age of “permaterns” and non-academic internships making headlines everywhere, the value of learning outcomes in an educational, credit-bearing internship distinguishes itself.  
Of course, our students must sharpen skills and articulate learning outcomes in our AU academic programs.  Permaterns must not. Nonetheless, in this changing economy, permaterns will have a certain impact on internship options in Washington, DC, and beyond. 
As the landscape of the internship world changes, we will continue to focus on student learning and the development of new professional skills at AU.  In our long-celebrated programs, I am reassured to talk to internship sites and students who value the educational nature of SPExS.  Our goal will remain fixed on rigorous experiential education; I am confident that internship sites will constantly seek the benefit of our academic interns.  The presence of permaterns in Washington, DC, may influence internship options to a certain degree.  They will not change rigorous experiential education learning outcomes in SPExS. Perma-never!

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