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Internship Guidelines/Overview

The following GUIDELINES are designed to assist departments in the development and operation of  internships. These GUIDELINES are not POLICY. Departments will use, modify and adopt these or similar guidelines to help foster meaningful internship experiences.

*Click here to return to Faculty/Staff Internship Resource Homepage


Definitions Coordinator Responsibility
General Information Faculty Responsibility
Academic Credits Employer Responsibility
Grading/Evaluating Student Behavior
Locating and Applying Do's and Don'ts
Student Responsibility Internship Tips
Questions and Answers

Definitions:  (back to top)
Cooperating Employer - University, industry or government, agency, business or organization that has agreed to participate in the internship program and whose participation has been agreed to by the department.

Faculty Supervisor - faculty member who supervises the student’s internship experience. Such person should be knowledgeable in the area of work in which the student is gaining experience, and may or may not be the student’s advisor or departmental coordinator.

Departmental Coordinator - department head or person designated by same, who coordinates activities of all internships in that academic department.

General Information:  (back to top)
A. Eligibility - Each department determines and publishes eligibility for internship credit. Criteria may include grade point average, number of hours completed or class rank.

B. Course Prerequisites - Departments may establish prerequisites which are appropriate to the experience. Such prerequisites may vary within departments depending on the type of experience. Sometimes “permission of instructor” and “consent of department” are indicated.

Academic Credits:  (back to top)
1. Departments may establish maximum limits for internship credit.  Each department establishes a formula to determine the number of credits awarded for a given experience. The credit should be commensurate with the student’s accomplishments and not merely length of time spent. Restrictions must be in line with Campus and College credit restrictions.
2. Repeating the internship course for academic credit is possible only with different objectives, and within the established maximum hours for graduation credit.
3. Credit earned in internships may be used for major, elective or open elective credit.
4. Credit beyond any set maximum may be granted through a Special Topics course, assuming that an additional project, beyond the internship agreement, is undertaken and such project is consistent with criteria established by the department for such projects.
5. Credit should be awarded during the semester that the internship is completed.
6. Credit for internships should be awarded in the department most clearly aligned with the technical content of the experience.

Grading/Evaluating:  (back to top)
Each SU department will determine the grading system be used, which can be either P/F or letter grades.

Below are examples of how other schools grade their student internships-This information is from the listserv "JobPlace" which is a large listserv for higher education member and employers.
Developing a list of likely expectations the employer may have of the student. What is controlled by the student? What is controlled by the employer?
Analyze the organization in terms of mission & goals, organizational structure, climate, interviews with other employees, etc. students can make observations based on what they find out.
Developing specific performance objectives or goals with the employer.
Analyzing the workplace in terms of teams, how problems are solved, how to cope with stress, etc.
Evaluating job performance and making plans for improvement.
Updating the resume with things learned on the internship

Additional responses:
Does the experience also include a reflection paper and a presentation to peers? Some of our departments require those as part of the
We also require our students to: -complete a set number of informational interviews (these typically happen within the organization or with partner organizations) -meet with a career counselor after the internship to discuss how the internship fits into their career goals (and update their resumes with the new experience) -complete a final assignment (the type varies but some examples include keeping a journal of the experience which is submitted via email/blog every two weeks [or every week if internship is international], a conference-quality poster [for research related internships], a presentation [we then can have the students go into classes and present on their internships], a report [something that was created on the job--power point presentation, literature review, etc] or some other format that student and faculty agree upon (the only example I can remember was a video that 2 students made about international internships).
We use an evaluation of the student's work performance from the site supervisor on key work behaviors (such as professionalism, dependability, initiative etc) and faculty then can look at a portfolio of the student's work completed at the internship site. We use a WebSurvey with a Likert Scale to evaluate performance, perhaps one created for faculty based on Learning Outcomes (like what is done for classes) would be helpful for all parties involved?
We have gone away from grading internships, due to the problem of subjectivity. In my opinion, the workplace and a true evaluation of a student's work there is too far out of the expertise of faculty to expect a fair and consistent grade. Plus, since we are not "graded" in our professional lives (in a traditional academic sense) it seems out of place to assign grades to experiential learning. I have installed a Pass/Fail system for internships. Our students are required to complete an Internship Contract, 120 Work Hours for 3-credits, write a mid-term and final paper, and complete two online surveys. Completing all assignments merits a grade of Pass. Failure to complete all assignments is a failure of the course. This allows for the faculty member to concentrate on connecting the experience to the classroom and to offer needed advice and removes the pressure of assigning a traditional grade. This also allows some wiggle room to provide an Incomplete if a student simply misses one assignment. I normally reserve a grade of Fail for when a student is terminated, is dishonest, or commits some egregious workplace act.
As a former intern director, we used "Specific Learning Objectives" and they worked like a dream. Everyone knew what was expected of them as long as they were specific to what the student needed to apply from her learning and it matched the needs of the employer. The statements that needed to be answered were:
1. What is the task to be completed?
2. How is it going to be accomplished?
3. Who is going to supervise this task?
4. When will it be completed?
The faculty members in our college grade internships based on the following criteria: clock hours on the job, evaluation form (4 pages) from the supervisor), and the student's paper regarding the experience. All of our students must write a paper, which is usually counted as the academic component of the internship. They take the evaluation and number of hours worked into consideration as well. (This helps if the student wrote an A paper but got mediocre scores from the supervisor and vice versa.)

Student Responsibility:  (back to top)
A. Initiate Participation - Students should discuss their intention with their advisor at least one semester prior to the desired semester of participation in internship programs.

B. Consideration of Employment Opportunities - Students should obtain information concerning potential opportunities in specific areas of interest from the departmental coordinator, department or Career Services Office, and/or faculty members. Internship opportunities identified by students are also considered.

C. Preparation of Resume - Students should prepare a resume and/or personal data sheet to use in seeking an internship. Assistance in preparing such materials may be obtained from the Career Center offices within the GUC, Room 133..

D. Determination of Specific Objectives - Students will assume primary responsibility to determine specific objectives of the internship in consultation with the faculty supervisor and cooperating employer, and will also identify activities that will relate to these objectives.

E. Procedures - Students will submit an application for internship participation to the faculty supervisor or Departmental Coordinator. Students will register and pay tuition and fees in the semester in which the internship is being completed. Students who participate in internships that take them away from campus for fall or spring semester (or both) should notify the Academic Programs office prior to the internship to avoid being dropped from the University and having to apply for readmission.

F. Typical/Suggested Assignments -
1. The student are typically instructed to submit periodic progress reports to the faculty supervisor, with the number and frequency to be determined by the department. Students are encouraged to meet with the faculty supervisor to discuss assignments before they are due.
2. The student often submits a final report which is evaluative in nature and which makes recommendations for future internships. The report should be more than a diary of activities and should provide a thoughtful critique of the experience.
3. Additional assignments and/or specific on-site projects if such are consistent with the student’s program of study and philosophy of the major department.
4. The student often are asked to participate in a post-internship seminar designed for exchange of ideas and experiences between fellow interns and faculty members

As a student you will:
Experience the affirmation of being selected into a professional experience you have sought out.
Discover how your talents, personality and approach to work will play an important role in your professional development.
Step outside of the traditional role and perception of yourself as a “student” in a class - in a school- with peers; and replace it with the perception of yourself as a “one-day-soon-to-be-graduate” in a business- in a community – on your own.
Through professional interactions, observations and performance develop a sense of respect for the business community and the professionals you work with.
Discover first hand that a career is a reward that is earned - based solely on the merits you have presented and the effort you have put forth.
Possibly develop the opportunity for permanent employment at the internship organization.
Experience professional consequences that procrastination, lack of professional demeanor, lack of focus or diminished performance can have on career opportunities.

Departmental Coordinator Responsibility:  (back to top)
A. Implementation of departmental policies - Assumes primary responsibility for implementing those standards established by the departmental faculty (course prerequisites, minimum grade point average, credit-awarding formula, etc.)
B. Selection of students - Discusses internship concepts with prospective participants and works with academic advisors in selection of students for participation. Collects applications from students seeking internship experience and checks that appropriate prerequisites have been completed.
C. Maintenance of Memorandum of Agreement - Distributes necessary forms and maintains signed agreements for all participants. Signature of departmental coordinator assumes that departmental and college-wide standards are being met. Assures that copies of signed agreements are distributed to faculty supervisor and cooperating employer for each intern.
D. Program adjustments - Works closely with faculty supervisor and cooperating employer in evaluating and making necessary adjustments in the program as problems arise.

Faculty Supervisor Responsibility:  (back to top)
A. Identification of Objectives and Activities - Assists the student in identifying internship objectives that are consistent with the intention of the program and the student’s interests and capabilities. Identifies activities that are consistent with the objectives and are feasible at the selected work site. Indicates support of objectives and activities with signature on Memorandum of Agreement, which is sometimes used.
B. Supervision of Internship - Provides indirect supervision by reviewing progress reports that are submitted by the intern. Serves as contact person when cooperating employer finds it desirable to discuss aspects of interns program. On- site visit by the faculty supervisor is desirable whenever practical.

Cooperating Employer Responsibility:  (back to top)
A. Approval of Objectives and Activities - Signature on Memorandum  of Agreement (sometimes used) signifies that stated objectives can be achieved and stated activities are feasible at the proposed work site.
B. Provide professional educational experience - Provide the opportunity for a student to receive a professional educational experience.
C. Evaluation - May assist the Faculty Supervisor in the final evaluation of the student’s performance. Takes under advisement suggestions made by intern in final evaluative report as to how future internships at the site could be improved.

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