Internship Information for Faculty Sponsors

How do internships benefit our students?

  • The interning student has the opportunity to put into practice the concepts you are teaching, thus learning how to move knowledge from abstract understanding to concrete application.
  • Students in internships have a wealth of hands-on experience to relate back to their classmates, thus enhancing the discussion and benefiting the class as a whole.
  • Internships are a way for students to test drive careers associated with their major, thus helping them to become more focused and motivated students in the classroom.
  • 91% of employers surveyed say that when looking to hire a new college graduate they look for them to have engaged in 1 to 2 internships during their college years. (Millennial Branding and Experience, Inc. 2012)
  • When asked which skills are most important in a new hire, employers say: professional communication skills, positive attitude, and teamwork skills. These can be honed in the diverse environments made available through internships. (Millennial Branding and Experience, Inc. 2012)
  • Graduate school admissions panels are looking at what kind of hands-on experience applicants have had, including internships.

Internships should meet the following criteria:

  1. The experience must be an extension of the classrooma learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
  5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor. 
  7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.
    (Position Statement: U.S. Internships, NACE, July ‘11)

Faculty Sponsor’s Role: Integrated Learning

1. Assist student in developing his/her learning goals to be included in the internship contract. Learning goals can focus on, among others:

  • Academic theory in practice
  • Student’s awareness of self as an emerging professional
  • How to be effective in a work setting (employability skills)
  • Gaining career-specific skills

2. Determine project requirements. In addition to the program minimums (Log of Activities, Reflective Essay – discussed below), you may assign additional evaluative work. For example, an updated resume, portfolio of work, structural analysis of the organization, oral presentation, etc., depending on the academic discipline and the student’s needs and goals.

3. Signing the internship contract. Your signature indicates your conviction that the internship, as described, can provide a meaningful and pertinent learning experience for this student, based on his/her needs and goals.

4. Engagement throughout internship. Support student in reflection process by posing critical questions and encouraging introspection. Communicate with on-site supervisor (employer) and internship coordinator throughout internship, as needed. Visit internship site if possible.

5. Assign pass/fail grade. Collect necessary documents at conclusion of internship and assign grade. Grading is based on student’s attendance at Career Development Center’s Mandatory Internship Orientation, on-site supervisor’s evaluation, completion of contracted hours, quality of reflective essay and any additional required projects.

 Student’s Responsibilities: Initiative. Follow-through.
(Complete information provided in Student Brochure and on student section of the website)

  1. Find internship opportunities and apply. Seek out support from the Career Development Center as needed and in a timely manner.
  2. Determine if your internship will be for academic credit or not, and file appropriate paperwork. (See “Road Map for Credit-Bearing Internships or Non-Credit Internship Form.)
  3. Attend Mandatory Internship Orientation (credit only) in early stages of internship.

 On-Site Supervisor’s Role: Professional Oversight.

  1. Is aware of and in compliance with the U.S. Department of Labor’s six-prong test regarding internships.
  2. Communicates with student prior to internship to outline responsibilities and expectations.
  3. Signs internship contract agreeing to oversee student’s experience.
  4. Inform student of organization policies, procedures, and required safety standards.
  5. Provides realistic exposure to the field; meet with the student on a regular basis and at the end of the internship to provide performance feedback.
  6. Maintains contact with the faculty sponsor and internship coordinator, as needed, about the student’s progress.
  7. Completes a supervisor’s evaluation at the end of the internship and return to faculty sponsor.

Career Development Center assists in the following ways: Find. Obtain. Process.

1. Help student find internship opportunities by providing resources, leads, and networking opportunities.
2. Coach student through application processes, including how to market strengths effectively through resumes, cover letters, and interviews.
3. Assist with internship contracts, required paperwork, developing learning goals, and reflecting on experiences.

Special Circumstances: Non U.S. Citizens & Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

There are very strict U.S. Department of Labor regulations regarding the work-like experiences in which non-U.S. citizens may engage themselves. It is imperative that internships for these students qualify for “Curricular Practical Training” (CPT). This means that the tasks and responsibilities of the position must be integral to the student’s major course of study. Furthermore, non-U.S. citizens must receive academic credit for their internship by completing the Credit-Bearing Internship Contract and include a formal offer letter from the employer. Your student needs to fill out a CPT Request Form and get your signature.

Non-U.S. citizen interns may not begin their internship until all paperwork has been filed and a new I-20 issued by the PDSO.

Internship Program’s Required Minimums:

Reflective Essay
An introspective piece that reflects back specifically on the Learning Goals verbalized in the internship contract, as well an any unanticipated outcomes. What are the experiences that occurred—externally or internally—that prompted learning for the student? What are the student’s take-aways based on the experiences? It is not intended to be: a daily journal, observational field notes, or narrative of tasks undertaken.

Log of Activities
This “timesheet” is completed on the student’s honor and documents that the student completed the number of hours committed to in the internship contract. A secondary purpose is to document the student’s tasks over the course of the internship, which may assist the student in writing his/her Reflective Essay.

Frequently Asked Questions:

I know of an employer who is looking for an intern and my student would be great for it. What are the next steps?
For a number of reasons—including the student’s own learning process and issues of legal liability—it is important that students aren’t “placed” in internships. We recommend that you mention specific opportunities to a number of students, and refer a number of students to employers with whom you speak. Thus, the responsibility remains on the student’s shoulders to exercise due diligence and to compete for the opportunity. We recommend that you provide your student with the information you have about this specific employer as well as a few others. Instruct them to investigate the employers and the opportunities, and refer them, as needed, to the CDC for coaching on their application materials.

Can a paid intern receive academic credit?
Yes. Academic credit awarded by an educational institution and moneys paid by an employer are two unrelated systems. The College determines if the experience is worthy of academic credit; the employer decides whether or not they can pay their intern.

Can a student get credit for an internship that has already been completed or is already underway?
An internship is intentional in nature and is developed around specific learning goals, in accordance with point #4 in the criteria listed above. Therefore, it is not possible for a student to retro-actively apply for academic credit for a previous experience. In certain situations, a student may begin the work of the internship before the paperwork has been filed, when all the following are true:

  • Student is a U.S. Citizen
  • Learning Goals are written and student is working on obtaining all signatures
  • Submits an Appeal Form with Contract, if deadline has passed