Internships are central elements in students' education and are a major moment of cooperation in the triangulated relationship between universities-institutions-enterprises. Internships are always part of the programmes of Entrepreneurial Universities (EU), though on a theoretical level they are not specifically marked as an EU indicator. Teaching, research and entrepreneurship are the underpinnings of an EU; interaction among these variables is at the foundation of processes that produce results in terms of growth and economic development. This paper aims to survey the attention that Italian universities give to curricular internships in their courses of study (CoS). As national data was lacking on internships offered at Italian universities, we built an online data base to conduct a study of all Italian universities to identify and quantify which universities and CoS are currently working in this direction. In the academic year 2014–2015, there were 4,428 CoS in Italian universities: 3,139 offer curricular internships, and 2,690 of these are mandatory. In our data analysis, we detected a shortage of internship experiences, especially in Management and Economics CoS, which should be breeding grounds for future entrepreneurs. Our findings suggest scant attention by Italian universities to internships. The importance of an education system oriented towards entrepreneurship has not been firmly established and internships are still undervalued. In Italy there is little attention to developing EUs; spin-offs and start-ups fail to reach meaningful levels of turnover and performance, and entrepreneurship and management education is limited to just a few universities. More generally, we observed that EUs' performances are mostly evaluated by the number of patents, licenses, spin-offs, and start-ups they produce. But, in our opinion, this is not enough. We need to recognise the importance of a comprehensive entrepreneurship education system, in which internships are central as an element of teaching. Attention to internships could help Italy achieve the third mission, as internships are a bridge between the academic and the business world.

Curricular Internships as Entrepreneurial University Indicators: Evidence from Italian Courses of study

DELLA VOLPE, Maddalena
;
ESPOSITO, FRANCESCA
2016

Abstract

Internships are central elements in students' education and are a major moment of cooperation in the triangulated relationship between universities-institutions-enterprises. Internships are always part of the programmes of Entrepreneurial Universities (EU), though on a theoretical level they are not specifically marked as an EU indicator. Teaching, research and entrepreneurship are the underpinnings of an EU; interaction among these variables is at the foundation of processes that produce results in terms of growth and economic development. This paper aims to survey the attention that Italian universities give to curricular internships in their courses of study (CoS). As national data was lacking on internships offered at Italian universities, we built an online data base to conduct a study of all Italian universities to identify and quantify which universities and CoS are currently working in this direction. In the academic year 2014–2015, there were 4,428 CoS in Italian universities: 3,139 offer curricular internships, and 2,690 of these are mandatory. In our data analysis, we detected a shortage of internship experiences, especially in Management and Economics CoS, which should be breeding grounds for future entrepreneurs. Our findings suggest scant attention by Italian universities to internships. The importance of an education system oriented towards entrepreneurship has not been firmly established and internships are still undervalued. In Italy there is little attention to developing EUs; spin-offs and start-ups fail to reach meaningful levels of turnover and performance, and entrepreneurship and management education is limited to just a few universities. More generally, we observed that EUs' performances are mostly evaluated by the number of patents, licenses, spin-offs, and start-ups they produce. But, in our opinion, this is not enough. We need to recognise the importance of a comprehensive entrepreneurship education system, in which internships are central as an element of teaching. Attention to internships could help Italy achieve the third mission, as internships are a bridge between the academic and the business world.
978-94-91901-20-1
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11386/4680887
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