Academic Internship Program Guidelines
In an effort to clarify, strengthen and unify the internship program, several guidelines have been adopted.
It is important to note that each academic department holds full authority for the requirements for enrollment in the department’s internship experience. Departments are encouraged to establish more stringent requirements as appropriate for academic strength and for greater student success in their internship responsibilities.
The recommended basic requirements to enroll in any internship program are:
- Students must have at least a 2.0 grade point average.
- Students must not have any fees, fines, or other outstanding obligations to the university.
- Students must have successfully completed at least 28 credits at PLU, or 12 PLU credits if a transfer student.
- Students must be matriculating.
Faculty support is the key to the success of the internship program and each student’s experience. The faculty sponsor is the faculty of record under whom the internship course is registered and is the person responsible for monitoring the internship experience.
- The faculty sponsor reviews the student’s Learning Agreement and helps them develop a quality learning plan according to the expectations of the department and what is appropriate for the position.
- The faculty sponsor also identifies appropriate methods for the student to document their learning to justify university credits.
Possible options for documentation methods are summarized in the Student Guide.
The faculty may make a site visit to assess the learning environment and the student’s progress toward achieving stated objectives. Visits are also an opportunity to talk with a student’s supervisor and gain some direct insight on the student’s performance. This interaction can strengthen the motivation of the employer to continue to seek interns from PLU and can also benefit faculty in considering modifications that may be appropriate to course content.
Faculty visits to the internship site is a definite advantage in confirming the quality of the experience and the engagement of the student. It generally strengthens the employer’s connection and activity with PLU. Site visits also help to address any problems that may arise. If a faculty member is unable to make a site visit, the Director of the Academic Internship Office can make the visit on their behalf with appropriate guidance.
It is a great advantage for Academic Advisors to talk with their students about planning an internship in their curriculum plan, considering how it can fit in their progression toward their major or specialization. This will assist you and the student in determining if the internship credits should be registered through the department internship course or through the Internship Office course (AICE or COOP).
The academic credibility of the Internship program lies in:
- Selecting and approving only quality positions for internship experiences.
- Monitoring experiences so that students are fully challenged at the workplace and engaged in the learning experiences embedded in their internship experiences (see: Learning Agreement).
- Requiring that students generate quality academic documentation of their learning.
Establishing standard procedures in your department will ensure PLU develops a quality program.