EMPLOYERS WORKING WITH INTERNS
An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent. (A Position Statement on US Internships, NACE 2011)
- A helping hand
- A fresh perspective
- A commitment to success
- Advocacy for your organization and a walking advertisement
- An opportunity for you to contribute to a student’s education (you are a co-teacher of the student)
Internship Supervisors Provide:
- An opportunity for career exploration
- A resume-building experience
- An opportunity to test and develop skills
- A chance to draw ties between academic coursework and real-work situations
- Professional networking
- Confidence building and increased self-efficacy
Characteristics Of A Quality Internship:
- Student is actively involved in developing learning goals/strategies as well as reflecting on those goals/strategies along with site supervisor
- Student and site are actively engaged in assessment/evaluation (self and otherwise) throughout the experience, with ample opportunity for feedback and reconsideration of goals and strategies
- Experience is shaped by problems/pressures arising from a real-work situation
- Positive supervision/mentorship
- Challenging assignment/project
- Match to student’s experience/abilities
- Allows student to excel, offers appropriate challenges
It is crucial for interns to experience the realities of working in a professional organization, including the vital importance of deadlines, the interdependence of team members, and the necessity of doing the tasks that may be less glamorous or less interesting in addition to those that are more stimulating and challenging.
The Big Picture
Even if an intern is assigned a specific project or task, it is important to spend time helping the student see how her/his work fits in the context of the wider organizational mission, the context in which the organization operates, and relevance to the intern’s prior learning, plans, and goals.
The Piper Center assists with posting and marketing positions, as well as facilitating the interview process. Piper Center staff members are available to consult with you about developing and structuring an internship that incorporates evaluation and reflection. We provide guidance on how to effectively supervise an intern and serve as a co-teacher to enhance the student intern’s learning. If you have a position ready to post, please fill out this template and send to Sandy Malecha - email@example.com. Please feel free to contact Sandy directly with any questions you may have about hosting a St. Olaf intern.
Use this guide as you formulate your plans for hosting undergraduate interns:
“Starting and Maintaining a Quality Internship Program,” compiled and edited by Michael True, Director of the Internship Center at Messiah College in Pennsylvania
- Major doesn’t matter – St. Olaf students are receiving a liberal arts education and can provide your organization with a broad range of transferable skills (communication, critical thinking, analytical ability, etc.).
- Setting clear expectations at the beginning of an internship is a key factor to success.
- Willingness to support students completing an internship for academic credit can help to offset issues of pay and resources, since the student will receive more formal guidance from the Piper Center staff and a faculty supervisor in addition to your supervision.
- Embrace your role as co-teacher of a student intern, and work with the Piper Center staff to troubleshoot issues as you develop your own expertise in supervising interns.
Use this to guide your planning as you prepare to host a St. Olaf intern.
Fall Term Internship
August/Early September: Position description(s) provided to the Piper Center staff and opportunity advertised on-campus. If applicable, organization participates early in on-campus recruiting efforts hosting an information session for students.
Early to Mid-September: Students apply on-line via Ole Career Central (if desired). Interviews conducted by representative of organization. If applicable, selected student secures a faculty supervisor and completes forms for academic internship credit.
Late October: Mid-point of the internship. If applicable, mid-point evaluation forms completed.
Early December: Internship wraps up typically before finals begin (second week in December). If applicable, final evaluation forms completed.
January Term Internship
September/October: Position or project description provided to the Piper Center staff member.
October: Opportunity advertised on-campus. If applicable, organization participates in on-campus recruiting efforts hosting an information session for students. Students submit application materials on Ole Career Central (if desired).
October/November: First round interviews completed. Students receive notification of hiring decision. Those offered the position have until the end of November to accept.
December: Student receives final details regarding internship project/position, supervisor(s), etc. from organization. If applicable, student completes forms for academic internship credit.
January: Student works full-time. Month-long experience culminates in a presentation to organization leadership whenever possible. If applicable, final evaluation forms completed.
Spring Term Internship
November: Position description(s) provided to the Piper Center staff and opportunity advertised on-campus. If applicable, organization participates in on-campus recruiting efforts hosting an information session for students.
December/January: Students apply on-line via Ole Career Central (if desired). Interviews conducted by representative of organization. If applicable, selected students secure a faculty supervisor and complete forms for academic internship credit.
February: Internship begins.
Late March: Mid-point of the internship. If applicable, mid-point evaluation forms completed.
Early to Mid-May: Internship wraps up typically before finals begin (second week in May). If applicable, final evaluation forms completed.
February/March/April: Position description(s) provided to the Piper Center staff and opportunity advertised on-campus. If applicable, organization participates in on-campus recruiting efforts hosting an information session for students.
March/April: Students apply on-line via Ole Career Central (if desired). Interviews conducted by representative of organization. If applicable, selected students secure a faculty supervisor and complete forms for academic internship credit.
Late May/Early June: Internship begins.
Mid-July: Mid-point of the internship. If applicable, mid-point evaluation forms completed.
Mid-August: Internship wraps up typically before end of August. If applicable, final evaluation forms completed.
St. Olaf students have the opportunity to complete an internship for academic credit. Academic internships include intentionally written learning goals and objectives. Site supervisors play a key role as co-teacher, providing students opportunities in which they may:
- Apply academic coursework to a real-world work situation.
- Explore career options.
- Obtain practical and professional experience in a field of interest.
- Network with professionals.
Academic internships require a specific time commitment, completion of a Learning Agreement and Plan, formal evaluation, and coordination with a faculty supervisor.
Students may receive 1.0 credit or 0.5 credit for an internship. For 1.0 credit, on-site experience plus academic work must total a minimum of 160 hours (120 on-site, 40 completing academic activities assigned by faculty supervisor). For 0.5 credit, on-site experience plus academic work must total a minimum of 100 hours (80 on-site, 20 completing academic activities assigned by faculty supervisor). NOTE: Students may not complete 0.5 credit internships during Interim, St. Olaf’s 4-week January Term.
Learning Agreement and Plan
Click here to review the required paperwork for an academic internship.
Mid-point and/or final evaluation form(s) must be completed by supervisors of students undertaking an internship for academic credit, as they provide students with helpful feedback and tools for critical reflection. The Piper Center corresponds with site supervisors of academic interns to obtain completed evaluation form(s) and will distribute to the faculty supervisor. These forms may also be used by supervisors of non-credit internships to guide discussion regarding an intern’s performance.
Guidelines for Site Supervisors of Academic Credit Internships
Review the following information:
- Orienting and Training New Interns
- Legal Issues to Consider when Hosting an Internship
- Federal Guidelines for Unpaid Internships, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
- Create a job/project/position description for the student intern to include with their completed Learning Agreement & Plan.
- Provide intern with appropriate orientation, training, and feedback to ensure a successful internship. See helpful links at top right.
- Provide intern with a copy of your office and sexual harassment policies.
- Complete a Mid-Point and/or Final Evaluation Form. Forms will be e-mailed to the Site Supervisor directly from the Piper Center. Discuss the evaluations with your student intern and return the completed forms via e-mail or fax to the address from which they are sent.
Enhancing The Internship Experience
- Review and clarify the intern’s Learning Agreement & Plan throughout the internship. Please provide an updated copy to the Piper Center if any changes are made.
- Schedule regular meetings with the intern; act as a mentor; provide the intern with descriptive feedback; discuss assignments; answer questions; and discuss dynamics of the organization.
- Whenever possible, allow the intern to attend meetings.
- Explain to the intern how decisions and office policies are made. What are the options? How did the supervisor draw certain conclusions? What is the office culture?
- Discuss various career opportunities in the field and career paths of college graduates.
- If problems occur or if you are unsure about how to deal with a particular situation, speak directly with the intern and/or faculty supervisor or Piper Center staff member.
- Complete the Learning Agreement & Plan to establish learning goals and objectives.
- Follow directions and ask questions when appropriate.
- Perform internship duties and make positive contributions to the organization.
- Respect the organization’s office culture and ask for direction when uncertain.
- Work assigned hours, following the same work habits expected of employees.
- Complete all academic work assigned by the Faculty Supervisor.
Role of Faculty Supervisor and the Piper Center
- Provide every interested student with internship, career, and experiential learning information.
- Supervise the student through the internship process to complete all paperwork and official Learning Agreement and Plan.
- Serve as liaison between the internship site, faculty, and student
- Conduct a site visit, when possible, in order to exchange ideas and discuss student progress.
- Process evaluations and conduct supportive pre- and post-internship sessions with interns.
For more information or if you have any questions, contact Sandy Malecha at 507-786-3249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.