What Makes an Academic Internship
PLU has certain expectations of the employer, the quality of work, and the work environment. (These expectations generally result in a better quality experience for the employer as well.)
- The experience is professional in nature, requiring the student to apply higher level thinking and put their learned classroom knowledge to work.
- The work environment is supportive and positive, free from harassment, negative connotations and discrimination.
- The student’s supervisor, or another member of the organization, serves as a role model and mentor.
- The supervisor will work with the student directly should corrective action need to be taken for any reason. Standard procedures applied to regular employees should be engaged to correct inappropriate behavior or substandard performance. The employer will notify the university in such occasions, so the university can also support the student in their professional development and performance.
- The employer will provide feedback to the student throughout the internship and complete an evaluation for the university at the close of the internship.
After you have selected your intern, the student will prepare a Learning Agreement form. This is the outline for the learning that will take place during the internship. This form is signed by the student, their faculty sponsor, their internship supervisor at the workplace, and an academic administrator. Since the employer reviews and signs this document, be sure you are comfortable with the information and expectations that are outlined there. If you have any reservations at all, talk with the student and make revisions to the form so you are completely comfortable with all aspects of it.
The university also asks you to review and sign a Statement of Understanding, an agreement between the internship organization and the institution. You should receive this document early in the internship term. The Statement of Understanding is valid for two years, so you may have a student each term during that period without signing this agreement. We monitor these agreements and will contact you when the agreement is near its expiration, inviting you to renew it.
Want to see what the learning agreement entails? You can find an example worksheet here.