The next Diverse Voices in the Classroom session will focus on the issue of constraints on internships at UST. It will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1, in the third-floor lounge, Murray-Herrick Campus Center, preceded by a reception at 2:45 p.m. Dr. Ralph Pearson, vice president for academic affairs, will facilitate the discussion.

The session will focus on how St. Thomas as a Catholic institution can balance the right and responsibility of the faculty to authorize and supervise internships with Catholic social and intellectual values which should guide implementation of that responsibility. The questions addressed will be:

  • What constraints, if any, should there be on internships at a Catholic university?
  • How would constraints on internships limit or advance your educational goals (as a student, faculty member or staff member)?
  • Should St. Thomas be a place where the doctrines of the Catholic Church can be critiqued and/or challenged?

The request for some conversation about an internship policy arose last year when a sociology student was denied institutional authorization for doing an internship at Planned Parenthood. She needed the internship credit to graduate. The administration thought that the purpose of Planned Parenthood was in conflict with Catholic moral teachings on abortion and birth control. (The student was focusing her study on date and acquaintance rape.) She was allowed to graduate without the internship credit, and to use her study as an independent credit instead. However, this did leave open the question of which internships would be authorized in the future, and if there should be constraints on internship sites and/or topics for St. Thomas students.

This Diverse Voices session is intended to invite discussion of internship constraints by students, faculty and staff; the points raised in the session will be shared with administrators who have been involved in the issue. If you would like to attend the session, please complete the gold registration flier that you should have received in your mailbox. Registration deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 28.

Faculty and staff, please encourage your students to attend.

For more information, call Faculty Development, (651) 962-6020.

The Diverse Voices series is designed and organized by the Diverse Voices Planning Committee. The series is funded by the offices of the Executive Vice President and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

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