National College Credit Recommendation Service
New York State Education Department, Room 1069 EBA
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234
New York State Assembly
Five Year Revalidation Visit
June 15, 2012
Dennis Smith, Professor-In-Residence
Cecilia Ferradino, Graduate Assistant
Legislative Office Building, Room 104A
Purpose of Site Visit: To determine the comparability of the New York State Assembly internship to college-level instruction and to consider re-establishing college credit recommendations from 2007.
Course: Assembly Intern Committee/Session Internship
Bradley D. Hays
Department of Political Science
Director of Law and Public Policy Program
Associate Professor/Associate Dean
Department of Political Science
University at Albany
Credit Recommendations Established: Credit recommendations established in 2007 continue as follows: In the upper division baccalaureate degree category, 15 semester hours in appropriate departments or as general elective credit.
Credit recommendations are valid for a period of five years from June 2012; the course listed above will be scheduled for revalidation in 2017.
The New York State Assembly Internship is designed to explore how politics influences policy within the New York State legislative process and has been providing unique learning experiences for students for the past forty-one years.
Throughout the program, students attend an Orientation Session, Legislative Policy Forums, class discussions, and Mock Session Party Conferences, Committee and Leadership Meetings, and a Mock Assembly Session. Other requirements include: assigned weekly readings, written assignments, quizzes, research paper and survey with his/her Assembly member. Attendance must be verified in order to receive credit for the course.
Director McCarty works diligently to match interns to Assembly Member Offices or Assembly Committees based on questionnaires and interviews with incoming candidates. This process helps to ensure maximum success in blending academic components with experiential learning. The program provides interns with immeasurable experience and skills and some interns may even be fortunate enough to secure full-time employment. This is a testament to the rich content of the program. Session interns often attend committee meetings, public hearings, and Assembly sessions.
Since the 2007 site visit, skill-building workshops have been added and exams have been revised as per recommendations in the report. The inclusion of The Issue Forum has been widely received and successful. Designed to complement the Internship's academic components, topics range from the economy, education, the State budget, criminal justice, and elections. Prestigious speakers include Speaker Silver, Comptroller DiNapoli, Assemblymember Farrell, as well as several Minority Members. Dr. Smith explained that efforts are made to coordinate speakers with class topics based on the availability of the speakers. Students are expected to attend forums on Monday and Tuesday nights and come prepared with questions to ensure a lively exchange. Members of the Graduate Scholar Program also participate in The Issue Forum.
Overall, the team was impressed with the rigor and caliber of the program and commended the Assembly staff for recent updates to the curriculum since the 2007 visit.
The following suggestions were made to further enhance the academic portion of the internship:
- Incorporate readings and discussions that focus on conceptual components of politics to provide a theoretical basis for how the government functions. This could be achieved through a reflective writing assignment on the Legislative Forum.
- Require students to complete an anonymous evaluation on the overall program, and incorporate their feedback into programmatic decisions.
Follow up required:
Please keep National CCRS staff informed of any significant revisions to the course structure based on the above suggestions from the team.
National CCRS would be happy to showcase the success of an intern in a future NCCRS newsletter and highlight that individual's academic and professional accomplishments. Additionally, National CCRS respectfully encourages Assembly staff to send the attached press release to promote the benefit of credit recommendations to current and potential candidates of future programs.
Thank you for the hospitality extended to National CCRS staff and the evaluation team during the review session. National CCRS hopes to continue the collegial relationship with the New York State Assembly team to further enhance and solidify the superb training provided to the interns.
Nancy Szakats, Assistant Director
Date filed: June 26, 2012