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Erica ElberyWelcome from the Director of Internships

Erica Elbery, M.S.
Clinical Instructor and Internship Director
Department of Retailing

Welcome to the Department of Retailing!  You are in for an exciting time as you pursue a degree in a program that will offer you many opportunities.  We have many outstanding professors and practitioners who teach in this program.  The Department has many partnerships with major retailers all over the world.  Several of our interns are spending the summer at the Paris Fashion Institute and others are headed to major fashion houses in New York.  We have added several companies as partners during the past year including Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, and Dick "s Sporting Goods.  Students are off to spend the summer at companies like Vera Wang, Nordstroms, Dillards, Kohl "s, Wal-Mart, and Belk. We are continuing to build relationships with domestic and international companies as we expand our program and seek opportunities that offer increasing career choices for our graduates.

Two work experiences are required for undergraduate Retailing Majors:  the Practicum and the Internship. (The Practicum must be completed prior to the Internship.) The type of experience is dependent upon the student "s career goals. For example, students who are interested in fashion merchandising are encouraged to seek an internship with a fashion forward department store. Students who are interested in eventually owning his or her own business may elect do a practicum and complete an internship with an independent retailer. By doing so, the student is able to experience the buying, selling, visual merchandising, and employee training aspects of a business.

Practicum: RETL 295 (3, 4 or 6 credits required for graduation depending on which year you became a RETL major)
The Practicum is an introductory experience that is done between your Freshman and Sophomore year. Most Practicums are done within the United States. The Practicum consists of completing 200-400 work hours. Students also complete course work as part of the practicum experience. You may choose to complete it with or without classes. Majority of the Practicum "s are paid.
The Department suggests that the student does a Practicum based on what their Professional goals are. For example, if you are interested in becoming a business owner than the student should complete a practicum with an independent retailer. This will give the students insight into my different areas of the retailing industry.

Internship: RETL 495 (6 credits required for graduation)
Internships are required for students and may be taken during your Junior or Senior year. The majority of students select internships within the United States.  Students are also able to conduct an internship within your home town or abroad.  The internships are full-time, consisting of 400 hours throughout one semester (usually during the summer as you may not complete other courses while being enrolled in the internship). Students complete course work and do projects with a professor as part of the internship experience. Most students participate in a paid internship. However, some of the internships are unpaid and are to be completed for credit only.

To download the Practicum and Internship Agreement Form, click here.

Supervisor "s Role:
Work supervisors are encouraged to provide a rigorous, structured experience for the interns with opportunities to work in a retail environment. Interns are expected to be well-prepared, punctual, and enthusiastic employees.  The supervisor provides an opportunity to merge academic knowledge with "real world” experience.  These opportunities allow the intern to grow in a management oriented environment. Typically, the work supervisor assists the intern in identifying an appropriate project that provides mutual benefit to both the intern and the employer.  Feedback is very important to us; therefore, we do ask that all work supervisors complete an evaluation of the intern "s work performance by an agreed deadline.
A sample of companies who have participated in the Practicum and Internship for 2012:

  • Ralph Lauren
  • Target
  • Alice & Olivia
  • Nordstrom
  • Kohl "s
  • Walgreen "s
  • Dianne Von Furstenberg
  • Dick "s Sporting Goods
  • Gucci
  • E&J Gallo
  • Biltmore
  • Northwestern Mutual Financial
  • Sherwin Williams
  • Victoria "s Secret
  • Chinamine USA
  • National Jean Company
  • Escada
  • Infinity of Charlotte
  • Belk
  • Under Armour

Objectives of the Practicum and Internship:

  • To provide students with opportunity to acquire skills in Retail Management and Fashion Merchandising.
  • To understand the challenges of a career in the Retailing Industry.
  • To familiarize students with the overall structure, functions, and operation in the Retail Industry.   
  • To apply principles and concepts learned in formal course work.
  • To gain an understanding of the satisfactions and challenges of the Retailing Industry.
  • To gain experience of going through the process of interviewing and negotiating a position.

Employers and supervisors:
If you are interested in participating in our practicum and internship programs as an employer please contact Mr. Mike Moody.