by Rebecca Ostoyich and Kevin Ostoyich
The case study describes a hybrid internship/independent study course that has been administered jointly by the Valparaiso University Archives and Special Collections (VUASC) and the Department of History since 2017. Students perform internships under the direction of the archivists of the VUASC and conduct an independent study under the direction of historian, Prof. Kevin Ostoyich. The course actively engages students in the inner workings of the VUASC and trains them in the handling of primary documents and material objects. During their internship, students receive instruction on various archival tasks, including digitization, metadata creation, finding-aid composition, etc. Students perform these tasks on various items in the VUASC holdings. Concurrently, students conduct an independent study using at least one of the collections housed in the VUASC. This research culminates in a written work and a public presentation. Given the course is intended to prepare students to work in a professional environment, students are assessed on their ability to communicate the skill-set they acquired in the internship and the main points and sources of their independent study project in a mock job interview at the end of the semester. For an example of student work from the course, see the Alfred Brosnan, Brosnan Brothers, and the Business of Survival website.