Definition and Purpose of an Internship
An internship is a structured, credit-bearing work experience in a professional work setting during which the student applies and acquires knowledge and skills. It involves the application of learned skills in a setting, agency or organization related to the department that coordinates the internship. An internship should challenge the student to examine the values of the organization or agency involved in the experience, and to assess the student's education as it relates to the internship.
Other benefits of an internship include: 1) exploring career interests, 2) learning new skills, 3) gaining work experience, 4) developing a professional network, and 5) understanding workplace expectations.
Characteristics of a Wittenberg Internship
Participation in a credit-bearing internship is open to students with junior and senior status. Students who have just completed their sophomore year can register for a summer internship the summer prior to their junior year, so long as they have completed 64 credit hours prior to the summer.
The number of credits and hours on site can vary, depending upon the arrangement between the student, faculty supervisor and site supervisor. The number of credits assigned ranges from one - eight with four semester hour credits being the most common. During the academic year student interns are normally on site for 10-12 hours per week in the 15 week semester. Summer interns can work full-time or may choose to work fewer hours per week. The only stipulation is that a student must work for a minimum of 35 hours for each credit hour.
A site supervisor (a qualified professional) and a faculty supervisor (usually from the department of the student's major) are responsible for supervising the intern. The faculty supervisor, in consultation with the site supervisor and the student, is responsible for maintaining the academic quality of the internship. Maintaining the academic nature of the internship is essential because academic credit is awarded for the experience (i.e. volunteering and work-for-pay, although worthwhile experiences, may not be academically sound). An internship agreement, completed prior to beginning the internship, defines mutually agreed upon learning objectives, academic requirements and method of assessment. This agreement form must be turned in to Career Services by the last day to add courses for the semester in which they plan to intern.
Internships may be paid or unpaid. Any payment should be arranged in a separate agreement between the site and the student intern. In some cases however, the student's academic department may not allow compensation.
The Internship Relationship
Internship Site: The organization providing the internship opportunity.
Site Supervisor: The person at the internship site who is directly responsible for the intern and his/her substantive work experience.
Faculty Supervisor: The faculty member responsible for overseeing the grade or credit for the completed internship based on the student's performance and completion of previously agreed upon assignments. A faculty supervisor may be different from the academic advisor.
The relationship among the student, the site supervisor, and the faculty supervisor is perhaps the most influential factor in determining the success of the internship experience. This partnership exists in order that the intern will achieve the learning and the rewards that result from this experience.
Searching for Internships
- Wittenberg's Tiger Den: Job and Internship Board
- Internship search engines such as www.Idealist.org
- Employer web sites. Identify companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations for descriptions of their internship programs.
- Career Services (Thomas Library Room 210 COMPASS: Sweet Success Center), where you can browse through the collection of internship books and binders of approved internship agreement forms submitted by former interns.
Special Wittenberg Internship Programs: