The Career Development Center at Appalachian State provides valuable resources to help students in planning for and finding employment by hosting job fairs and clinics for students and alumni. The Center also manages and oversees internships for enrolled students seeking course credit.
The Career Development Center cited the following reasons for the Inventory:
- The Center needed to organize, compile, and track internship information and make it available for all authorized personnel
- In case of emergency, contact information should be easily accessible to both faculty members and University administrators.
- To prevent liability issues, the University must ensure that only faculty members who have been delegated 'Signature Authority' from the Provost are allowed to sign the contract on behalf of the University.
- Due to Federal legislation, the University must be authorized to operate in a state where a student is seeking to receive credit for an out-of-state internship. The Center needed a way to ensure the University was not granting academic credit for internships in unauthorized states.
Sharon, from the Career Development Center, realized that this problem would be better by using a web application that would benefit the entire University. Because software that fulfilled the need did not exist, ESS was selected to create a custom application. Jeremy, from ESS, worked with Sharon and other faculty and staff members throughout the process to better understand the needs of the departments involved.
“Our design process allows us to create software which helps faculty and staff be more efficient because it is tailor made to their needs and goals," Jeremy says. This personal and hands-on approach is one of the things that makes ESS unique and such an important part of the University.
The Inventory solved the existing problems through the following:
- The software is designed with a clean interface and clearly labeled controls to enhance usability for everyone.
- Students and faculty are walked through the internship process step by step with a checklist to ensure all qualifications are met.
- A contract generator, direct links to the Registrar, and an information tracker further standardize the process.
- Data is organized, easy to find, and stored all within the Inventory.
The software has revolutionized and simplified the way Appalachian does internships, and is available as open-source software for other universities to use. Students can now receive credit for their internships quickly and easily.
Sharon says, “It takes a lot of hard work and planning to make something simple," but she couldn’t be happier with the result. Every department at Appalachian now has access to and uses the software to operate more effectively. The Internship Inventory is just one example of the many applications ESS has created for the betterment of Appalachian.