It’s no secret that leaving the academic sphere and entering the formal workforce can be an intimidating yet necessary transition. That is why the Program in Arts Administration at Teachers College developed their own in-house internship program, and have over the past three years reinvented the program to ensure students have a balance of academic learning and professional experience.
“In a lot of ways the internship program itself within our program allows [students] to learn the most crucial parts — the application process, the interviewing process, getting used to a professional environment — everything that goes along with being an Arts Administrator. I think having the institutional backing of the program gives them much more confidence throughout their applications,” says Eva Molcard, Internship Coordinator with the Arts Administration Program.
Three years ago, the Arts Administration Internship Program was reimagined and reinvented to include more academic ties and a robust infrastructure to ensure students have well-rounded experiences. The in-house internship program has had students complete posts with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York City Ballet, Sotheby’s and UNESCO among many others.
The revitalization efforts and major improvements can be credited in large part to Juliana Driever, who previously served as Internship Coordinator and is now the Program Manager for Arts Administration. Ms. Molcard leads the program now and says students are learning more than the academic aspects in their internships — they are gaining skills as professionals.
Students have given positive feedback to not only the academic structuring of the program, but to the supplemental workshops and interventions provided by the program, which includes mock interview workshops. After completing the internship, or internships in some cases, students become comfortable speaking to colleagues in an authority position, learn how to discuss aspects about their job, and negotiate their salary.
After taking on the role, Ms. Molcard considered herself a resource for students. “I meet with students on a one-on-one capacity to check in with them and to see how their internship process is going. I’ve seen a really positive response to the way the program sets them up to apply for multiple internships at once, for having it count for credit, and for what they’re getting out of the internship. They begin to learn the important elements of transitioning from an academic environment to a professional one,” said Ms. Molcard.
Ms. Molcard says that she helps students get themselves the internships. After compiling and sending out a weekly email with internship opportunities, Ms. Molcard helps students sort out which posts might be most relevant to their interests and experiences and later reviews their application materials if the students ask for help. In addition, students are provided with opportunities to attend mock interviews and resume building workshops so students feel confident that their profile is strong. She also conducts site visits halfway through each student’s internship to reassess whether they have been meeting their objectives. This is another crucial part of the program which makes it different from internships without a coordinator or a strong infrastructure in place.
“We absolutely require some sort of mentorship or sponsorship and regularly check in with supervisors to make sure there is academic value in the internship,” said Ms. Molcard.
“We have a tremendous opportunity, being that we’re in New York City, to take advantage of the enormous amounts of resources for our students. There are so many performing arts and visual arts organizations in New York City, that we would really be missing a wonderful opportunity to not take advantage of those,” said Ms. Molcard.
In addition to being in a resource rich location, students have also been able to become a part of the community in New York, across the country and globally. “Over time we’ve developed really strong institutional relationships with those organizations that have allowed for sustained open communication. They’ve become really familiar with our program and with our students and so they’re happy to keep welcoming back our interns,” said Ms. Molcard.
While students are only required to complete one internship, most students complete multiple internships, particularly over the summer, despite the rigorous program. This allows students to work in a variety of roles and in a variety of contexts to enrich their two years in the program.
At the conclusion of every student’s internship, they must give presentations at the Arts Administration Internship Symposium, to synthesize what they have learned over the course of their semester with their academic goals. After presenting, students have the opportunity to network with various invited guests from the arts community.
The most recent Internship Symposium took place March 31, 2016 at Teachers College.
For more information about the Arts Administration Internship Program, click here.
All Photos by Staff Photographer/Videographer Margaret Ferrec.
Nori Kato is a Staff Writer and Office Assistant for the Department of Arts and Humanities. She is also a second year M.A. student in the International Educational Development program at Teachers College.