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Information Technology Internships In Non Profits

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Innovative Curriculum & non-Technical Skills

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.759.1 - 11.759.9



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Paper Authors


JoDell Steuver Purdue University

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JoDell K. Steuver is an Associate Professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership at Columbus, Indiana. She was a member of the Association for Quality and Participation for many years and has taught in automotive-related industries for six years. She is currently teaching team development, leadership and safety courses.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Information Technology Internships in Non-Profits


Non-profits are faced with acute needs to maintain fiscal accountability, integrity and generosity. Not only are the current demands for assistance from non-profits in the United States of America at an all-time high, but they are under increased scrutiny from the media and the public. Students interning with non-profit organizations are learning the reality of these challenges as our country recovers from unprecedented natural disasters.

The new non-profit is quickly developing into a new organization. It no longer resembles municipal government or the for-profit organization, although it is rooted in both. The legal environment is also evolving for non-profits. The Internal Revenue Service is taking a hard look at many organizations in response to scrutiny in the media.

Many information technology majors have real-world work experience in manufacturing or for- profit services, but they’ve never faced the tough process of prioritizing projects for funding, choosing equipment or software on a minimal budget, or convincing donors to assist with on- going organizational expenses. Five computer information systems interns at non-profits found that they were constrained by unexpected budget, staffing and accountability issues. This paper shares some of their experiences and findings as their active learning process constantly tested their beliefs. The concrete consequences of their projects were motivators to be quick studies and sources of frustration as they struggled within the boundaries of limited resources.

Learning to listen and respond

Purdue University advisory board members voiced concerns that computer and information technology majors didn’t have the skills to communicate effectively with their teammates, customers and employers. A sister department agreed to change a sophomore-level course to meet this need. Although the intended outcomes weren’t realized through the curriculum change, a productive dialogue between departments began.

This dialogue had a domino effect as computer and information technology majors began to take a presentation-based problem-solving course. Team teaching of project-based management courses with both information technology majors and organizational leadership majors occurred at the senior level. Some computer and information technology majors decided to add an organizational leadership minor or take an internship elective in the organizational leadership department.

This paper discusses the experiences of five students in a service learning course that was taken as an elective by information technology students. The organizational leadership department requires its graduates to participate in a semester-long internship. Student interns volunteered

Steuver, J. (2006, June), Information Technology Internships In Non Profits Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--589

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