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Wildcat Internship Survey Background

Internships are growing in their importance as a high-impact educational practice for college students and as an activity that promotes career readiness.  Although the need for internship outcome data is cited in multiple K-State 2025 plans, there has been no central assessment process at Kansas State University to document when, where and with whom students are completing credit-bearing and co-curricular internships. 

Design and Procedures

Over a two-year period, a team of representatives from Undergraduate Studies, Student Life, academic colleges, Information Technology Services, Office of Assessment, and other key stakeholders worked together to develop an efficient data collection and reporting process for K-State undergraduate student internships. The new process leveraged existing technologies to provide reliable metrics and next-generation evidence that could be shared both internally and externally.

To encourage student participation, the Wildcat Internships (WINS) survey was limited to the following questions for university-wide reporting:

  1. Did you participate in an internship during 2015-2016?
  2. Did you receive college credit for your internship?
  3. What was the company you interned with?
  4. What was the city location of your internship?
  5. What was the state/country location of your internship?

Participating colleges had the option to add up to five additional questions, e.g., job titles, wages, start/end dates, quality of experience and more.

For the purposes of the survey, internships were defined as "educationally-related work experiences that integrate knowledge and theory with practical application and skill development in professional settings." For tracking purposes the term, "internship" included internship, co-op, field experience, and practicum.

 

Subjects

The inaugural WINS survey was distributed in October 2016 to 10,862 sophomores, juniors and seniors in the following colleges:

  • Architecture, Planning & Design*
  • Arts and Sciences
  • Business Administration*
  • Engineering*
  • Human Ecology
  • Technology and Aviation*

*These four colleges elected to utilize a KSIS enrollment hold to encourage student participation. 

New freshmen were purposely excluded from the cohort group. The only graduate students surveyed were from Architecture, Planning & Design. The Colleges of Agriculture and Education opted to utilize their own internship data collection processes. 

 

Results

Of the 10,862 students surveyed, 6,416 responded for an overall response rate of 59%. The response rates for colleges with enrollment holds were:

  • Architecture, Planning & Design (65%)
  • Business Administration (86%)
  • Engineering (90%)
  • Technology and Aviation (63%)

The response rates for colleges without enrollment holds were:

  • Arts and Sciences (31%)
  • Human Ecology (39%)

 

Technologies Utilized

The following technologies were utilized and extended to implement the new internship collection and reporting processes:

  • Qualtrics – Survey instrument.   
  • KSIS – Used to generate cohort of students to be surveyed, administration of enrollment hold, system of record for internship and student data.
  • WebMethods – Provided real-time data integration between Qualtrics and KSIS to release the hold immediately after the student completed the survey.
  • Power BI – Used to generate interactive dashboards to illustrate and analyze the resulting data. 

 

Limitations

The Senior Survey administered annually by the Office of Assessment suggests that approximately 50% of graduating students have had one or more internships during their years as an undergraduate. The inaugural WINS data collected for 2015-16 should be viewed as baseline data and not representative of the entire student population, especially since data from the Colleges of Agriculture and Education are not included in current reports. To enhance the collection of internship data from graduating seniors, WINS survey questions have been added to the Senior Survey beginning fall 2016. It should also be noted that some colleges are over-represented in this data given different response rates with and without enrollment holds.

 

Summary

Ultimately, learning more about internship experiences will help K-State students expand their connections with employers, provide academic advisors with internship ideas for students, strengthen university ties with industry, and demonstrate K-State’s commitment to the career readiness of its students. If you have additional questions about the WINS survey results, please contact the Career Center.

 

Project Team

The Student Internship Tracking Initiative planning team included K-State representatives from:

  • Career Center
  • College of Agriculture
  • College of Architecture, Planning & Design
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Business Administration
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Human Ecology
  • Global Campus
  • Information Systems Office
  • Information Technology Services
  • International Student and Scholar Services
  • Office of Assessment
  • Office of Corporate Engagement
  • Office of Planning and Analysis
  • Office of Student Activities and Services
  • Office of Student Financial Aid
  • Office of the Registrar
  • Polytechnic Campus
  • Vice President of Student Life
  • Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies