Semester Comes to an End

December 6, 2009 in 2-year, Teaching

The 2-year turf students ended their semester in the past week and they are now off enjoying a brief period of rest prior to returning to Penn State on January 11th.  During this time, I have been busy wrapping up research reports, editing manuscripts and putting the final touches on the classes for the spring.

My first fall semester of classes went better than expected and the summer preparation for classes definitely paid off.  One new initiative that I had mentioned previously definitely turned out even better than I expected.  This was the development of the Internship Preparation Class.  The class was designed to help prepare students for all that is involved in their upcoming summer internships.  The six month internship is one of the most important aspects of the Golf Course Turfgrass Management Program.  This is the time where students take what they have learned from their first year of classes to the golf course.  In my visits to students last summer, this was one area that most surprised them.  I often heard that “the information obtained in class gave me a completely different perspective on being a turfgrass manager.”

With the development of the internship prep class, students gained a better understanding of not only what is expected out of the internship, but the importance and amount of time necessary to prepare for every aspect.  This meant that students spent hours writing and reviewing resumes, research golf courses that may be a good fit for them, and developing goals and objectives for what they plan to get out of the internship.  One of the major successful aspects (at least in my opinion) was the self assessment of their experience and the researching of golf courses that would be a good fit.  Students were required to narrow down their list of potential golf courses to three based on several things including:

  • geographic location
  • turfgrass species
  • potential projects they may work on (construction, etc)
  • potential for volunteer opportunities at local events
  • and various other things

In the meantime, I took the self-assessment survey and their own “five year career plan” and came up with a list of my own.  Once compiled, I met with each student one-on-one and we shared lists; narrowing the list down to 2 courses that the students would apply to.  By doing this, I felt that the students were able to systematically narrow down their list so that they were not sending out 10 standard resumes in hopes of fishing for an opportunity. The result? Most of the students had accepted excellent positions at golf courses throughout the country and those that had not made a decision prior to leaving campus had interviews arranged and should know soon.

Overall, this was a great semester and with a few minor adjustments to the internship prep class I hope that our students are among the most prepared students heading to their summer course.  Keep an eye out for the “2010 Internship Location” early next semester outlining where the students will be working.