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Internship Program

A Policy Manual for:   Students
Academic Advisors
Faculty Supervisors
Employers
April 2006
 

INTRODUCTION

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

An internship can be thought of as a specifically defined, planned work experience with an intentional learning focus that is integrated with the curriculum of a particular department. Internships are offered through individual departments and can be taken for academic credit. Generally, an internship is completed during either the fall or spring semester, although in many departments, internships can also be arranged during the summer sessions. Texas Lutheran University recognizes the need for students in all majors to enhance their learning experiences by participating in internships – programs of part-time or full-time experience outside the classroom that are closely related to the students’ specific careers and academic interests – and encourages students to take advantage of internship opportunities. While the Office of Career Services serves as a support service, central clearing house and point of contact for internship opportunities, students and employers are also invited to communicate directly with the individual academic departments, since each department may have needs and requirements specific to that discipline.
 

Go directly to Internship Forms

PROGRAM BENEFITS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

STUDENT
Benefits
Through the internship experience(s), the student will:
  • acquire additional skills / knowledge, both general and specific
  • have the opportunity to apply classroom learning
  • experience professional work environments
  • make contacts in the professional world through networking
  • assess interests in a chosen field or career

Responsibilities
The student should:
  • seek internship opportunities and take an active role in securing positions
  • prepare thoroughly for interviews
  • conduct him/herself in a professional manner by following company policies as set forth for interns and / or employees
  • be willing to accept a variety of assignments
  • fulfill all commitments to the employer and to the faculty supervisor in a timely manner

EMPLOYER
Benefits
Through providing internship positions, the sponsoring company / employer will:
  • have the opportunity to make use of fresh, energetic talent
  • have an active role in the student's continued education
  • reduce labor costs while providing an invaluable opportunity for the student
  • evaluate the student's potential for future or permanent employment
  • receive satisfaction from serving as a role model and mentor for the student

Responsibilities
The sponsoring company / employer should:
  • provide a professional, ethical work environment
  • provide challenging opportunities for the student
  • encourage and assist the student to investigate future career opportunities
  • through networking
  • serve as a mentor to the student
  • cooperate with the faculty supervisor in evaluating the student's progress
  • and overall performance

HOW TO USE THIS MANUAL

This policy manual has been prepared to assist students, academic advisors, faculty supervisors, and employers through the various stages of the internship process. The information in this manual is divided according to each specific user for easy reference. We invite any comments you may have regarding the usefulness of this document and suggestions for improvements in the future. Please send your comments to the address on the table of contents page of this manual.

GENERAL TITLES USED IN THIS MANUAL

  • academic advisor – the faculty member responsible for advising the student in structuring a satisfactory course schedule each semester, and who is available for general guidance and counseling.
     
     
  • faculty supervisor – the faculty member responsible for monitoring and evaluating the student during the internship experience. This person may or may not also be the student's academic advisor.
     
     
  • employer – the on-site company representative responsible for supervising and evaluating the student intern.

STUDENT GUIDELINES

FINDING AN INTERNSHIP

Career Services
The Texas Lutheran Office of Career Services offers students support in assessing career goals, identifying internship opportunities, learning about area job fairs, networking, writing a resume and successful interviewing. As a member of various local, regional, and national organizations, this office networks with employers and other career professionals from across the nation. Memberships include:
  • The San Antonio Colleges and Universities Career Centers Association
  • Central Texas Liberal Arts Career Consortium
  • The Southwest Association of Colleges and Employers
  • The Texas Association for School Personnel Administration
  • The National Association of Colleges and Employers
  • The American College Personnel Association
     
Specific to the Internship Program, the Office of Career Services maintains an online job posting system containing listings of internships, part-time, and entry-level employment opportunities. Students are invited to visit the Career Services online any time to review the postings.

Job Fairs
Several job fairs are held in the area each year, which give students opportunities to make contacts with local, state, and national companies for not only future employment, but internships as well. Students are invited to view the Career Events section of the online job posting system for specific dates and locations of upcoming job fairs. When attending job fairs, students are reminded to dress and behave professionally. Generally, students will want to take several copies of their resume and be prepared to interview on the spot.

Networking
Many students find opportunities for internships by talking with other students who have recently completed or are currently completing internships themselves. Many times, companies will offer the same or similar positions every semester. By networking with peers, as well as Texas Lutheran alumni, students can find out the specifics of the internships, including the names of the supervisors. Also, once a student has completed an internship, he / she should continue to cultivate any contacts from that internship experience for future references and referrals.

Resumes
The Career Services office, as well as the library, are excellent sources for books and publications on creating professional, effective resumes. Students are also encouraged to seek advice and critiques from other sources, such as faculty advisors, professors, department chairs and current or former employer(s). There is no one right way to write a resume. Most importantly, the resume should be accurate, free of errors and professional looking.

Interviewing
Students can seek advice and tips on interviewing from the Career Services office, their academic advisor, peers, and former or current employer(s). Students are advised to take advantage of any opportunity they may have to go through a professional interview to improve their technique and delivery.

SUGGESTED TIMELINES

Students should begin planning for any internship a full year in advance by contacting their academic advisor or an appropriate faculty member to identify and / or establish their specific needs and goals. It will be helpful if, prior to this meeting, the student has been in contact with the Career Services Director, prepared a resume and has begun looking into internship opportunities in her/his area of interest. It should be noted that many companies begin soliciting applications several months in advance. This is especially true if the internship is competitive and/or the search is conducted on a regional or nationwide basis. Furthermore, internships involving work with impaired adults or young children may require a background check.

The guidelines offered below represent the very latest times a student should be taking the steps described. Many times, internship opportunities come up unexpectedly and the student must be ready to submit a resume and/or interview for the position within a short time frame. By having prepared in advance, students will be able more readily to take advantage of these golden opportunities.

Summer Internships
Previous Fall Semester – Have a preliminary meeting with your academic advisor to discuss internship goals. In consultation with your academic advisor, identify potential faculty supervisors of your proposed internship. Also meet with the Career Services Director to begin preparing a resume and locating resources.

Beginning of Spring Semester (Prior to Spring Break) – Meet with your academic advisor to identify and/or establish specific needs and to select a faculty supervisor of your internship. Meet with the faculty supervisor. Bring a completed resume to this meeting for discussion and critiquing. Begin making a list of places where you would like to intern and names and phone numbers of contacts. Work out a plan with the faculty supervisor for contacting potential employers.

Immediately After Spring Break – Have a follow-up meeting with the faculty supervisor to determine what is required to complete the necessary applications, interviews, etc.
 

Fall Internships
Early in Previous Spring Semester – Have a preliminary meeting with your academic advisor to discuss internship goals. In consultation with your academic advisor, identify potential faculty supervisors of your proposed internship. Also meet with the Career Services Director to begin preparing a resume and locating resources.

After Spring Break – Meet with your academic advisor to identify and / or establish specific needs and to select a faculty supervisor of your internship. Meet with the faculty supervisor. Bring a completed resume to this meeting for discussion and critiquing. Begin making a list of places where you would like to intern and names and phone numbers of contacts. Work out a plan with the faculty supervisor for contacting potential employers.

Prior to End of Spring Semester or During the Summer if Possible – Have a follow-up meeting with the faculty supervisor to determine what is required to complete the necessary applications, interviews, etc.
 

Spring Internships
Previous Fall Semester – Have a preliminary meeting with your academic advisor to discuss internship goals. In consultation with your academic advisor, identify potential faculty supervisors of your proposed internship. Also meet with the Career Services Director to begin preparing a resume and locating resources.

Prior to Mid-Semester Break – Meet with your academic advisor to identify and/ or establish specific needs and to select a faculty supervisor of your internship. Meet with the faculty supervisor. Bring a completed resume to this meeting for discussion and critiquing. Begin making a list of places where you would like to intern and names and phone numbers of contacts. Work out a plan with the faculty supervisor for contacting potential employers.

Prior to Thanksgiving Break – Have a follow-up meeting with the faculty supervisor to determine what is required to complete the necessary applications, interviews, etc.
 

ELIGIBILITY

To register for internship credit the student must be in good academic standing. Additional eligibility criteria may be required or recommended by individual academic departments or the faculty supervisor. It should be noted that individual employers often have explicit requirements as well (such as a minimum GPA which may be above what is required for enrollment, specific course work completed, and / or a classification of junior or above). Internships involving work with impaired adults or young children may require a background check. The student is responsible for insuring that he / she meets the criteria for both the university and the employer.

ACADEMIC CREDIT

In principle, internships may be pursued independent of academic credit. However, in order to qualify for academic credit, the internships should be coordinated through the appropriate academic department.

Some companies offer internships to students who are not enrolled for credit. More frequently, however, companies are requiring, primarily for reasons of liability insurance and / or in-house policy, or Department of Labor regulations, that students must show proof of official registration in an internship "course" to be eligible for the position.

REGISTRATION

All internships conducted for academic credit will be evaluated on a credit / no credit basis. To receive academic credit, students should register for the appropriate internship course in their area of study or major. Three course numbers are designated for internships, each specifying whether the course is for one, two or three hours of credit. Although requirements concerning credit may vary from department to department, all internships at TLU must require a minimum of 50 internship hours per 1 credit hour, and no internships can require more than 75 hours per 1 hour of credit. The maximum number of credits a student can receive through internships is 6. Required forms are available from academic advisors, faculty supervisors or the Office of the Registrar. Forms should be picked up and completed, including all necessary signatures, at least one week in advance of the formal registration period. An example of the Internship Study Proposal form can be found on page 10 of this manual.

INTERNSHIP EVALUATIONS

All internships should be structured to include both a mid-term and final evaluation of the student’s performance which will be provided by the employer / on-site supervisor. Failure of the on-site supervisor to provide the mid-term evaluation will not prevent the student from receiving credit. However, in the event the employer / on-site supervisor fails to provide the final evaluation, the faculty supervisor must provide a final evaluation after contacting the employer / on-site supervisor to verify that the student completed the internship. Credit for internships may not be granted without a final evaluation. See pages 10-16 of this policy manual for examples of these evaluation forms.

Daily / Weekly reports
Students must maintain an ongoing record of their experiences during the internship, the precise nature of which to be determined by the faculty supervisor in consultation with the student. The student may also be required to meet with the faculty supervisor for a progress report in a manner and frequency to be determined by the faculty supervisor in consultation with the student.

Other Departmental Requirements
Some departments may have additional requirements. Any such additional information will be given to you when you meet with your academic advisor regarding your internship.

COMPENSATION

Whether or not academic credit is being received by the student, compensation, or pay, varies from company to company and even from position to position within a company. In a recently published brochure, the Associated Collegiate Press offered this advice to students:

Think of internships as stepping stones; use the smaller ones to get to the bigger ones. Some students complete internships every summer they're in college. They start off with a small, unpaid one and work themselves up to highly competitive, paid internships at major publications. It's not unusual for a student's first internship to be unpaid, but subsequent ones usually are at publications large enough to pay something.
 

While this advice happens to be aimed at journalism students, it is applicable to almost all areas. Your academic advisor should be able to assist you in determining if paid internships are available in your major.

FACULTY GUIDELINES

POSTING POSITIONS

Often, members of the faculty are in a perfect position to identify and assess internship opportunities and publicize those openings with students / advisees seeking internships. Faculty members should actively seek out internships that relate to their discipline. Many times, employers will even directly contact faculty and / or department chairs with information about openings. In addition, career services maintains an online posting system with internships and other part-time and entry-level openings. Students and faculty are invited to review the listings at their convenience.

SUPERVISING INTERNSHIPS

Monitoring
The faculty supervisor should work out a schedule with the student intern to allow for periodic monitoring of the student's progress.

Evaluation
The faculty supervisor should forward the appropriate mid-term and final evaluation forms to the employer for completion and return. The faculty member should follow-up on the evaluations as needed. See page 12-14 of this manual for examples of these evaluation forms.

Departmental Requirements
Additional duties may be required by individual departments. Departmental requirements are consonant with university requirements as published in the university catalog and in this policy manual. Departmental requirements are understood and adhered to by all members of the department.

EMPLOYER GUIDELINES

INTERNSHIP POSITIONS

All internships must be conducted during the same semester in which the student is receiving academic credit for the internship. Generally, internships during the fall or spring semester last from 12 to 14 weeks. During the summer, students may enroll for internship credit during each of the 5-week terms. Employers are asked to remember that, especially during the fall and spring semesters, the students are enrolled in and attending classes on campus that often require additional focused study time for exams and research projects. Reasonable accommodations for a flexible schedule should be established early in the semester, allowing the student to maintain her / his academic standing and grade point average. A commitment from both the employer and the student to keep open lines of communication at all times will help avoid any misunderstandings.

EVALUATION

Employers will complete two evaluations on each student intern. The first evaluation may be accomplished by a personal visit or phone interview from the faculty supervisor or by mail, as determined by the faculty supervisor. The employer will complete the final evaluation form in writing and forward it to the student’s faculty supervisor. Additionally, the faculty supervisor may occasionally call or visit the employer for a progress report. Employers are encouraged to contact the faculty supervisor at any time to discuss any concerns they may have about the student intern. See pages 15-16 of the manual for examples of these evaluation forms.

COMPENSATION

While students are informed that many internships are not compensated, Texas Lutheran encourages employers to consider establishing paid internship positions if possible. This has both practical and psychological bearing. If the student is being compensated, she / he will be more apt to fulfill the commitment. The employer can be more selective in placing the intern—and can expect more from that person. Additionally, due to time restraints, many students give up paid, part-time employment to participate in an internship. In addition to losing this income, they are often faced with the additional expense of driving a greater distance to get to and from the internship, as well as parking and other out-of-pocket costs. The students are very appreciative of the opportunity to participate in an internship and reap the benefits. Should that also include nominal compensation, they have benefited doubly.

Approved by the Academic Policy Committee
April 2006


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