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Internship in Sociology, Criminology, Law and Society, SOC480Y5

During this course, students participate in a part-time, unpaid, 200-hour internship from September to April where they apply knowledge gained primarily through previous coursework to practical settings. Internship placements have included municipal social services departments, community-based organizations or non-profit agencies providing social services, social movement or community-based organizations working for social change, courts, law enforcement, or parole offices, for-profit workplaces, and other organizations. In 2021, the course was revised with a focus on diversity, inclusion, anti-racism, and community engagement, with many placement organizations focusing on diversity or working with diverse communities across Peel and the GTA.

Desiree Kaunda-Wint, Course Coordinator

Desiree Kaunda-Wint, Course Coordinator, University of Mississauga

Division:

Department of Sociology, University of Toronto Mississauga.

Instructor / Program Coordinator

Professor Nathan Innocente and Desiree Kaunda-Wint, Course Coordinator

Typologies

Academic Internship; Community-Based Project, Placement, or Partnership; Curricular Community-Engaged Learning

Information for Interested Students

Interested students can fill in the interest form at https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/sociology/soc480y5y-student-expression-interest-form for further details.

Benefits to Students

There are three key benefits for internship students. First, students can apply their disciplinary knowledge from sociology, criminology, and law to a variety of placement sites. Opportunities to engage with real problems and organizational mandates will balance the theoretical knowledge students acquire in university with practical application and real world problems. Second, students experience many professional benefits. Internships provide direct experience in career fields, and opportunities to both develop a professional identity and to network with and receive mentorship from professionals across many fields. Lastly, this course provides a space to explore how issues of race, diversity, and inclusion operate in complex real-world settings and organizations. Students tackle practical problems related to these and other issues, while working towards meaningful change in their communities.

Benefits to External Partners and the Community

The partnerships established through these internship opportunities are reciprocal and mutually beneficial. Students benefit from practical experience and mentorship, and organizations benefit through the work of dedicated students who contribute to organizational mandates and visions, access to the perspectives of young people who represent the next generation of professionals, and through the development of ongoing relationships and networks with students, the university, and other organizations. In addition, our community partners benefit from their connection with the university through access to research, library resources, and committed faculty and staff.

Benefits to the University

Through its curriculum, hiring focus, and internal practices, the UTM Department of Sociology has long been committed to diversity and inclusion. This course expands both the commitment to diversity and inclusion and opportunities to apply those commitments in practice. Students benefit directly from research programs and courses that focus on issues of race, gender, disability, and social inequality, and our internship placements provide opportunities for students to explore and apply what they’ve learned at UTM more deeply. Internships also expand upon and challenge what students learn, enhancing critical thinking and problem solving beyond the classroom in keeping with our sociology and criminology program outcomes.

Advice for Faculty and Staff Interested in Creating a Similar Experiential Learning Opportunity

The success of any internship course begins with a commitment to the educational experiences of your student. Having the motivation to provide exciting and meaningful learning opportunities is a critical first step to building a successful course, especially given the work involved in cultivating and maintaining relationships with community partners and finding meaningful placements for students. Beyond this, two points of advice are, first, to begin outreach to community organizations early, and to lean on your network and the networks of your colleagues to secure excellent placements for students. Second, seek advice broadly. There are many resources to consult, such as the Experiential Learning Unit at UTM or Experiential Learning and Outreach Support, in addition to speaking with colleagues who have experience teaching a variety of EL courses.