The internship program is critical for showing our relevance to industry. Most engineering students do internship(s) -- often four months in length -- and most do so with Alberta companies. This makes a compelling case to the Government of Alberta on the importance of Engineering to the province. And Science? Our internships are 8-16 months long and available to third-year Honours and Specialization students. This past year only 50 students participated. With a number like that, it's hard to argue that that Science is industrially relevant in Alberta.
In 2013-14, we did a review of the Industrial Internship Program and consulted with the Departments. This led to a series of decisions to raise the profile of the program:
- Rename it to be the Science Internship Program (SIP);
- Expand the pool of eligible third-year students to include General Science students;
- Make resources available to engage more companies to participate in the program; and
- Launch an initiative to educate students on the value of the program.
With the above changes (and others), the Faculty of Science is investing to dramatically grow the Science Internship Program. Our BHAG? A five-fold increase in the number of participating students. It sounds impressive, but remember that represents only a few hundred students out of our current enrolment of 6,450 undergraduates. Clearly, even with an ambitious BHAG there is lots more work to be done.