Pol 495: Political Science Internships

Instructor : Mike Yawn

Office : Ab1, 315J

Phone : (936) 294-1456

Website: www.shsu.edu/~pol_rmy

Email: mike.yawn@shsu.edu

Required Text: Business Etiquette for Dummies, Sue Fox


Course Overview : The Pol Sci internship program offers students the opportunity to earn academic credit while gaining hands-on experience in governmental agencies, campaigns, non-profit organizations, and businesses. Complementing the student's first-hand involvement in the workplace are various learning activities to enhance the intern's professional profile.


Prerequisites :* To earn academic credit as an intern, students must complete the following by August 21st:

•  Complete an intern application

•  Submit a short essay describing how the internship will benefit the student

•  Submit two letters of recommendation

•  Submit a professional resume

•  Complete the Myers-Briggs test

•  Have approval of the intern coordinator


In addition, as stated on the intern webpage, registration should be complete by August 21st.


Note: Students who do not complete the above prerequisites, or who do not fulfill them by the deadline, may be removed from the class.


Course Requirements :

•  Students will work 120 hours over the course of the semester for every three hours of academic credit for which the student is registered.

•  For students who are receiving three hours of academic credit, three “Essay Assignments” are required.

•  Students receiving more than three hours of academic credit will be given additional assignments commensurate to the additional hours they take. Traditionally, this will include readings and assigned writings related to the intern's duties.

•  Students who have previously taken internship credit will be given alternative assignments to replace those that are duplicated this semester.

•  Students must complete various homework assignments from the textbooks over the course of the semester.

•  Students are expected to behave, communicate, and dress professionally in all professional contexts.

•  Intern meetings may be called for in-state students

•  Students will submit a hand-written thank-you card to their supervisor(s) at the end of their internship.


Note : Each of these requirements is elaborated on below. Please examine each of your assignments and forms closely. If you have questions, it is best to get these to your supervisor or coordinator early, rather than at the last minute when circumstances may not allow for a timely response. Further, you will want to be aware of what is expected of you so that you are able to accommodate all of the class requirements.


All homework and writing assignments should be submitted through blackboard—do not email or hand in hard copies. The assignments should be attached in an MS Word file. Your writing skill will be factored during the grading process. Responses to all homework and essay questions should be elaborated on—not simply listed. As I read your work, I should have no doubt as to whether you understand the material and have considered it carefully. The length of the homework assignments will vary, but the Intern Essays should be a minimum of five pages. Please pay careful attention to the specifications of the assignments (The written assignments should be typed in twelve-point font, double spaced, be at least five pages in length, contain a header (with name and page number) and have normal one-inch margins.)


* These prerequisites are taken seriously by the intern coordinator. Failure to behave professionally during the application process may result in the instructor rescinding approval for the course. To ensure approval, the student should pay close attention to deadlines, keep the coordinator informed of all developments, and communicate in a professional manner.

Hands-on experience : To earn 3 hours credit, students are expected to work 120 hours in an approved governmental agency, political campaign, non-profit organization, business, or other approved environment. The student will fill out and submit an evaluation of the interning agency in the middle of the term and at the end of the term. Further, the student's intern supervisor will complete mid-term and final evaluations on the student. It is the student's responsibility to give the supervisor sufficient lead time to complete these evaluations. Moreover, it is the student's responsibility to ensure that all forms (see Form Checklist) are mailed and postmarked by the required dates.

•  Occasionally, students may be granted permission to take an internship for fewer than three hours. In such situations, students will be required to work forty hours per academic credit hour.

•  In some cases, internships will end early through no fault of the intern. In those cases, the student may work out an independent study contract with the intern coordinator. Students who are dismissed from their internship because of poor performance or an academic or professional infraction will fail. Students may be removed if their performance is lacking or if they otherwise behave in an unprofessional manner. Such removal will result in the student failing the class.

Essay Assignments:
Students are required to complete three essays over the course of the internship. The written assignments should be typed in twelve-point font, double spaced, be at least five pages in length, contain a header (with name and page number) and have normal one-inch margins. These assignments are described below. They should be submitted through Blackboard's assignment page.


Homework: You will have four homework assignments from Business Etiquette for Dummies . These will be posted on blackboard's assignment page, and the finished work should be submitted there.


Intern Meetings : If called, meetings will only be required for in-state interns, and the meetings will be called at least two weeks in advance.

General Professionalism: Interns are expected to meet rigorous expectations of professional conduct. This includes appropriate attire and behavior at the workplace, in addition to professional interaction—both personal and written—with professional contacts. These expectations extend to your interaction with the internship coordinator, university staff, and, of course, all staff and clients at the intern agency. Deadlines are strictly enforced, and students will be penalized for late or poorly presented work. At a minimum, all late work will be docked ten points per day.


Thank-you note: A brief, hand-written thank-you card will be submitted to your supervisor before the end of the semester. If you work extensively with more than one supervisor, an individualized thank-you card should be presented to each.


Late Work : All work should be submitted on time in the prescribed manner. Late work will be penalized by a minimum of ten points per day. Work submitted more than three days late will not be accepted, and will result in a grade of 0 on that assignment.


Additional Work : As in any work environment, your internship may require additional work or forms. These should be completed in a timely and professional manner, exactly as though they were specified on the syllabus.


Student Syllabus Guidelines: You may find online a more detailed description of the following policies. These guidelines will also provide you with a link to the specific university policy or procedure:


Academic Dishonesty : Students are expected to maintain honesty and integrity in the academic experiences both in and out of the classroom. See Student Syllabus Guidelines .


Classroom Rules of Conduct: Students are expected to assist in maintaining a classroom environment that is conducive to learning. Students are to treat faculty and students with respect. Students are to turn off all cell phones while in the classroom. Under no circumstances are cell phones or any electronic devices to be used or seen during times of examination. Students may tape record lectures provided they do not disturb other students in the process.


Student Absences on Religious Holy Days : Students are allowed to miss class and other required activities, including examinations, for the observance of a religious holy day, including travel for that purpose. Students remain responsible for all work. See Student Syllabus Guidelines .


Students with Disabilities Policy : It is the policy of Sam Houston State University that individuals otherwise qualified shall not be excluded, solely by reason of their disability, from participation in any academic program of the university. Further, they shall not be denied the benefits of these programs nor shall they be subjected to discrimination. Students with disabilities that might affect their academic performance should visit with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities located in the Counseling Center . See Student Syllabus Guidelines .


Visitors in the Classroom : Only registered students may attend class. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis by the professor. In all cases, visitors must not present a disruption to the class by their attendance. Students wishing to audit a class must apply to do so through the Registrar's Office.









Mailing Assignments : Most of the assignments are set up so that they can be accessed and submitted through Blackboard. Some of the assignments or forms, however, will need to be mailed. For all mailed items, the following address should be used:


Mike Yawn

Sam Houston State University

Political Science Department

P. O. Box 2149

Huntsville , TX 77341-2149

Adequate postage is the responsibility of the student. The department will not pay any additional postage. To avoid having reports returned for this reason, the student assumes responsibility for metering his/her reports.


Hand-Submission : Should a student wish to submit forms by hand, they should use the “postmark deadlines” as the due date. That is, if a mailed assignment must be postmarked by October 6 th , then it must be hand delivered by that date. Should a student choose to do this, he/she assumes responsibility for giving the report directly to Peggy Ellenberger, not slipping it under a door.


Grading : Grades are assigned according to the student's performance on the course requirements. The specific breakdown is as follows:*

•  Hands-On Experience :      30%

•  A student's performance will be measured by his/her supervisor's evaluation, by the intern coordinator's direct observation of the intern, and by reports from others with whom the intern has professional contact.

•  Intern Essays :        30% (note: each assignment is 10% each)

•  Homework Assignments     30%

•  Homeworks 1-2 :     (5 % each)

•  Homework 3:     (8%)

•  Homework 4 :     (12%)

•  General Professionalism     10%


* Note : A lack of professionalism in interactions with university staff or fellow interns will result in points being deducted from your final average. All emails should contain a salutation, complete sentences and proper grammar, and a close. Work or forms that are submitted late will be penalized at ten points per day. All work must be completed to receive a passing grade. Disrespect, discourteous behavior, or a lack of professionalism will be additionally penalized proportionate to the offense.


* To receive a passing grade for the internship, all assigned work must be completed. All assigned work must be completed and submitted in the prescribed manner. If, for example, a single homework assignment is not completed, the student will fail the class.





Forms Checklist


Prior to Beginning Work

•  Complete Application Submitted           _____

•  Two Letters of Recommendation Submitted       _____

•  Intern Essay Submitted             _____

•  Professional Resume Submitted           _____

•  FERPA waiver               _____

•  Indemnity waiver               _____

•  Student Agreement Form Signed           _____

•  Lautenberg Amendment Notice Signed         _____

•  Myers-Briggs Test Completed and Submitted       _____

•  Mock Interview Completed (if applicable)       _____

During Internship

•  Student Agreement Form             _____

•  Signed by Supervisor on or before 9-01-06   

•  Field Placement File (Due 9-01-06)         _____

•  Find on web page; submit thru blackboard

•  Homework Assignment #1 (due 9-8)         _____

•  Essay Assignment #1 (due: 9-18)           _____

•  Homework Assignment #2 (due 10-2)         _____

•  Mid-Term Evaluation Forms (mailed by 10-6)       _____

•  Evaluation of intern form should be signed by supervisor

•  Mid-Term Time Sheet (mailed by 10-6)         _____

•  Signed by supervisor

•  Essay Assignment #2 (due by 10-16)         _____

•  Homework Assignment #3 (due 10-23)         _____

•  Homework Assignment #4 (due 11-21)         _____

•  Essay Assignment #3 (due by 12-1)         _____

•  Final Evaluation Forms (mailed by 12-5)         _____

•  Evaluation of intern form should be signed by supervisor

•  Final Time Sheet (mailed by 12-5)         _____

•  Signed by supervisor

•  Enumerative Statistics Sheet (mailed by 12-5)       _____

•  Thank-you note (given to supervisor(s) by 12-7)       _____

Written Assignment Guide: Fall Internship


The following assignments are designed to help you gain more from your internship experience, and give you a formalized structure for monitoring and recording your progress. You should check with your intern coordinator as you are thinking through the assignments for guidance. Please note that these have been posted to blackboard, and the finished product should be submitted on the “Assignments” page.


Intern Essay I : Background and Objectives : Due: 9-18

•  Describe the background of the institution, department, agency, division, or candidate for which you are working.

•  Describe objectives, services, workforce, work/case load, and funding of the institution, department, agency, division, or candidate for which you are working.

•  Describe the demographics of the clientele of the institution, department, agency, division, or candidate for which you are working. For example: If you are working for a congresswoman from TX's sixth district, then you would describe the constituents in that district. If you are working for the Food and Drug administration, then you will discuss the companies that the FDA oversees.

•  Describe the political climate of the area—including voting data (historical and contemporary), notable political office holders, and other salient facts. This might include the city, county, district, or state in which you are working.


Intern Essay II : Administration and Organization Due: 10-16

•  Describe the positions that comprise “top management” of the institution, department, agency, or division to which you have been assigned for your internship. Such positions might include superintendent, director, executive, assistants, supervisors, chiefs, etc. If you are working for a county chair of a Political Party, your top management officials are leaders of the state party. If you are working for a small department in the city, county, or state, then you may have to look at the organizational flowchart of the entire city.

•  Using appropriate software, create an organizational flowchart of your institution, department, agency, division, or candidate's organization.

•  In short paragraphs, describe the objective or function of each of the departments.

•  Describe how your department or supervisor fits into the organizational scheme of things. In particular, you should describe how your department or supervisor contributes to the overall objectives of the institution, department, agency, division, or candidate for which you are working.


Intern Essay III : Institutional Assessments Due: 12-1

•  Write an essay in which you describe three areas that you perceive as organizational strengths in the workplace.

•  Describe three ways you would increase the effectiveness of the institution, department, agency, division, or candidate for which you are working.

•  Be specific in your institutional assessments. In addition, incorporate academic theories into your essay—that is, merge the academic and real-world environments to achieve the optimal organizational practices.


Homework Assignment Guide: Fall, 2006


Please note that these have been posted to blackboard, and the completed work should be submitted via the “Assignments” page.

•  Homework Assignment I (due 9-8): Reading: Part I and Part II, Etiquette for Dummies

•  Describe how you would introduce your supervisor to a client or voter.

•  Describe what you should do upon receiving someone's business card.

•  Describe how you would introduce yourself on the phone to (a) the person who answers and (b) the person you are transferred to (that is, the person you were calling for).

•  Describe three rules for answering the phone.

•  Describe your actions when transferring phone calls.

•  Outline the form of a business letter

•  Thank-you card assignment

• i. At lunch, you and a fellow worker discuss the latest Phillip Roth book Everyman . The next day, she brings you a copy of it as a gift. Writer her a thank-you note using appropriate format.

•  Know the email etiquette well, and use it in all correspondence throughout the semester.

•  Homework Assignment II (due 10-2): Part III, Business Etiquette for Dummies

•  A “rival” challenges you at work. How do you treat that person during normal interactions? How do you respond to his/her criticism?

•  Explain how conflict can be positive.

•  Discuss how personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs exam can be useful when doing group work. (3 paragraphs).

•  What are the four rules of active listening?

•  What are some possible responses if asked to do something inappropriate or unethical?

•  What are some proactive steps that you can take to avoid sexual harassment?

•  Homework Assignment III (due 10-23), Part IV, Business Etiquette for Dummies

•  What are the appropriate steps to take if you ask a colleague to have lunch with you?

•  What are the two most important rules on table settings?

•  In America , how do you indicate you are finished with your meal?

•  Write a (1) five-page plan for a fundraiser for the Political Science department, or (2) write a five-page plan for a social event involving the Political Science department, its interns, or one of its organizations (Journeys With Sam or Junior Fellows).

• i. The location would be in Huntsville .

• ii. Make sure your plan addresses the timeline and checklist presented in your book.

• iii. Be inventive but realistic. Further, you should use your book as a jumping-off point, not as your only resource. If you have questions, feel free to email or meet with me to discuss them.

• iv. If you decide to do a social event (such as a dinner), then you should keep the budget under $1000.

•  Homework Assignment #4 (due 11-21): Career Options

•  Students will choose three cities other than Huntsville , Houston , or your hometown to research and write about. Your research should include: (1) the average salaries in that city, (2) the crime rate of the city, (3) the educational profile of the city (what % have Bachelor's degrees), (4) the primary industries or economic base of the city, (5) the opportunities for continuing your education (what colleges they have), and (6) the climate of the city. The research should be presented in essay form.

•  Students should also research three graduate schools they might be interested in attending. Your research should include: (1) the average GPA of enrolled graduate students for the program you are interested in, (2) the requirements of the program, (3) the average GRE/LSAT of the enrolled students, and (4) examples of “placed” students following graduation. The research should be presented in essay form.

•  Finally, students should research three jobs they are interested in pursuing. Your research should include: (1) the typical educational requirements for the job, (2) the average beginning salary and possibilities for salary advancement, (3) other factors to consider when choosing a career (divorce rates of occupation; suicide rates of occupation; travel requirements; average number of hours expected to work, etc). Your research should be presented in essay form.

•  An adequate length is probably around nine pages. Citations are a must.



Assignment Supplements and Examples


Below are some examples of reference categories and respective model references with the proper elements included. Should you desire information beyond the examples, you are to refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . Students should use parenthetical notation to cite their sources within their essays.

Guidelines for Reference Citation


Justice, J. H. (1992). The impact of crime on American society. Journal of Criminal Justice, 48, 14-30 .


Newspaper Article (No Author):

Unemployment: The essence of crime. (1990, December 5). The Houston Chronicle , pp. A1,A25.



Bernstein, T. M.(1965). The careful writer: A modern guide to English usage (2 nd ed.). New York : Atheneum.


Technical and Research Reports:

Birney, A. J. & Hall, M. M..(1990). Early identification of children with behavioral problems . (Report No. 81-1502). Washington , D.C. : National Education Association.


Published Proceedings of Meetings and Symposia:

Thumin, F. J., Craddick, R. A. & Barclay, A. G. (1973). Meanings and compatibility of a proposed gang name. Proceedings of the 81 st Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, 8 , 835-836.


Television Broadcast:


Crystal, L. (Executive Producer). (1993, October11). The MacNeil/Lehrer news hour . New York and Washington , D.C. : Public Broadcasting Service.


On-line Sources:


Federal Bureau of Investigation. (1993, March 4). [On-line]. Availability: http://www.FBI.gov.



Internship office – Ab1, 315J

Political Science Department

Huntsville , Texas 77341-2149

Intern Coordinator: Mike Yawn


(936) 294-1456


Political Science Intern: Fall 2006

Important Dates to Remember

August 21 st : Official Start of Fall Semester.

September 1 st : Field Placement File must be submitted through Blackboard's “assignment page.” Supervisor and student should, together, sign the student agreement form.

September 8 th : Homework assignment #1. Assignment should be posted on Blackboard's assignment page— not emailed or sent through the postal service.

September 18th Essay Assignment #1 is due. Assignment should be posted on Blackboard's assignment page— not emailed or sent through the postal service.

October 2 nd : Homework Assignment #2 is due. Assignment should be posted on Blackboard's assignment page— not emailed or sent through the postal service.

October 3 rd : Mid-term evaluations for intern and supervisor must be completed. It is the intern's responsibility to give supervisor sufficient lead time to have evaluation completed. Evaluation form should not be completed prior to the last week in September (sufficient observational time must be completed before filling out evaluation).

October 6 th : Mid-term evaluations and time sheets must be mailed to Mike Yawn on or before this date. Postmark must read October 6 th or before.

October 16 th : Essay Assignment #2 is due. Assignment should be posted on Blackboard's assignment page— not emailed or sent through the postal service.

October 23 rd : Homework Assignment #3 is due. Assignment should be posted on Blackboard's assignment page— not emailed or sent through the postal service.

November 21 st : Homework Assignment #4 is due. Assignment should be posted on Blackboard's assignment page— not emailed or sent through the postal service.

December 1 st : Essay Assignment #3 is due. Assignment should be posted on Blackboard's assignment page— not emailed or sent through the postal service.

December 5 th : Final evaluations, time sheet, and enumerative statistics from student must be completed and mailed to Mike Yawn on or before this date. Postmark must read December 5 th or before.*

December 7 th : Thank-you card should be submitted to supervisor(s).


*If the intern has not completed his/her required hours by the due date of the timesheet, the timesheet should reflect the remaining dates and times you will work to complete your required hours.