“[The company] had a much more explicit and nuanced approach for diversity and inclusion, and it appeared very conscious of the lack of diversity in the industry.”
- Class of ’19 Healthcare & Technology Trek’s participant.
The Princeternship program in the Center for Career Development offers students an inside look at careers by sending them out into the field to investigate career paths and foster personal connections with alumni and employers. The spring option is a one-day site visit to New York City on the Friday of spring recess. Undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to visit several organizations in the same industry, explore possible careers, and meet alumni and recruiters.
In 2019, the Center for Career Development enhanced elements of the program as part of our participation in the Campus Life Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) framework pilot. We used the already-established industry trek program and enhanced it to include elements of the framework in developing the:
- Learning outcomes
- Participant orientation
- Staff site leader training
- Site leader led conversations
- Student-led small group post-visit debriefs
The Princeternship program had existing learning outcomes. As a part of our pilot engaging with the D&I Framework, we examined the program’s learning outcomes and those outlined in the D&I Framework’s Student Learning Outcomes Rubric. Next, we more closely examined places where the two aligned and sought to expand the Princeternship’s learning outcomes in order to be more intentional about diversity and inclusion. For example, one of our learning outcomes was for students to:
- Gain experience and insight through site visits, job shadowing and internships
One of the D&I Framework’s Learning Outcomes that speaks to the developmental and knowledge learning outcomes is that students will:
- Seek out diverse perspectives, experiences and contributions, some of which may be challenging or uncomfortable, as part of their learning and development.
By engaging in the pilot process we were able to more intentionally integrate this learning outcome, and subsequently alter the program in order to provide a more inclusive Princeternship experience for students.
Using our newly revised learning outcomes as a foundation, we provided guidance during staff training and student orientation to deepen D&I competencies. For example, we encouraged students to pay attention to the environment at the organizations they would visit, including cultural norms that speak to values, beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences that might be different.
The goal of these new program elements was to not only provide an opportunity to test the use of the new D&I Framework, but to also provide an opportunity for students to reflect more deeply on their own identities and beliefs, as well as those of some of their peers.
By engaging in this pilot process with the D&I Framework, we hope that we have sparked additional reflections among students about diversity and inclusion as they consider future career paths and workplaces.