According to the National Society of Experiential Education, an internship is any carefully monitored work or service experience in which an individual has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning throughout the experience. Goals may be:
- Academic Learning - apply knowledge learned in the classroom to the workplace
- Career Development - gain knowledge of qualifications and duties of a position and can explore their interest in a field
- Skill Development - gain an understanding of the skills and knowledge required in the workplace
- Personal Development - gain decision making skills, critical thinking skills, increased confidence and self-esteem
Structure of an Internship
- Vary in duration, can last from as little as one month or as long as two years (or longer)
- Take place in a work or service environment
- Part-time or full-time
- Paid or unpaid
- Monitored as part of an educational program for academic credit or intern can develop a learning plan
- Intern must have an "intentional learning agenda" to bring to the experience
The University Career Center as a Resource
- Internship Coordinator available to meet with faculty and/or students to discuss internship possibilities
- Available to work with faculty in all departments who are designing, implementing, and supervising an internship class or acting as a faculty internship supervisor.
- Provide classroom presentations on internship job search, resume development, and other areas of interest.
- Resources at KUCareerHawk.com in the Internship Center to assist students with finding internships
- Annual Internship Fair
- Internship Group/Listserv for students, faculty, and staff to stay up-to-date on internships
Being a Faculty Internship Supervisor
The faculty supervisor is responsible for helping the intern integrate the internship into his or her total academic experience. S/he provides academic direction and evaluates the learning derived from the internship. Early in the process of finding an internship, the student should approach a faculty member who has some expertise in the area in which he or she wishes to pursue an internship. Once the faculty member agrees to be a supervisor, they should meet to discuss the student's goals in finding and completing an internship. The faculty supervisor can serve as a resource for the student in locating and evaluating the appropriate internship, and/or the University Career Center can help with this as well.
Once the student has found an internship, the faculty supervisor should advise the student in defining the objectives, tasks, and evaluation criteria, as well as the academic requirements and amount of credits. Academic requirements can be a journal, paper, relevant research and/or projects. The faculty supervisor should maintain appropriate contact with the student throughout the internship to give direction and support. The faculty supervisor should initiate a phone call to the site supervisor to establish contact and communication. Other forms of recommended contact throughout the internship are site visits, email or phone calls with the intern and site supervisor, progress reports and feedback sent between the intern and faculty supervisor, and meetings which occur off-site between the intern and faculty supervisor. The amount and form of contact is determined by the faculty supervisor.
At the end of the semester, the faculty supervisor and student intern should meet to review the academic projects and to review the experience. The faculty supervisor should evaluate the intern's learning and assign and submit the grade.
The Cooperative Education and Internship Association
National Society for Experiential Education