|Partners - Academic Internships|
An academic internship is an approved and supervised work experience that meets specific student learning goals related to an academic field of study. This work-learning partnership between a student, the University and a host company or organization bears a direct relationship to a student's major and professional objectives and provides the opportunity for professional skills development. On-site work or projects are combined with reflective academic assignments that help students learn by doing.
At Cal State Fullerton, an academic internship is credit-bearing (1 to 3 units) and gives students academic credit (one credit for 40 to 50 hours) for work done at an internship site, while an internship (non-academic) does not. Cal State Fullerton students must enroll in a course and complete class requirements to participate in an academic internship. Almost every department offers an internship course, usually with the support of a Faculty Internship Coordinator. These learning experiences are jointly supervised by the site supervisor and Faculty Internship Coordinator.
General site guidelines and responsibilities
The academic internship site should:
Tips for posting academic internship positions
Points for consideration
By taking on an academic intern you are committing to providing mentorship to them and providing them with an educational and enriching experience. Before offering an academic internship, it may be helpful for you to consider the following questions:
What do you want the students to do for you? Outline your objectives in advance. Create a brief plan of action. Will the student's focus be on promoting a special event, revamping your website, creating new social media tools, etc.? The more specific your directions are, the more they will accomplish in the course of the semester.
Do you have time to commit to helping students be successful? Taking on an intern is a commitment for you. You must be willing to give the time necessary to provide the level of mentorship they need to grow and learn from their experience with you.
Will you avoid giving students ‘grunt' work to do? While some administrative tasks are an inevitable part of an internship, the intent is that students perform work related to their field of study. Create a worthwhile experience to help students apply the knowledge they are learning in college.
Can you appoint one person form your organization to be the primary contact? In a small organization, it may be you. It's vital to have a primary contact from whom faculty can obtain evaluations on performance and verification of hours, and who will serve as a contact in case of emergency.
Will you provide students with feedback on their work and help them grow? Many students require feedback as part of their internship learning plan. Set a meeting once a month (at least) and at the end of the process to discuss what they did especially well and how they might improve.
What constitutes an academic internship is determined by state and Federal law. The Department of Labor provides guidance to determine whether an unpaid internship is legal in the form of a “six prong” test. The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement upholds these same principles in determining the legality of internships. As part of these criteria, a student must be receiving credit to undertake an unpaid internship. CICE offers a credit verification letter for organizations seeking evidence that their interns are indeed receiving credit.
Please see the link below to acquaint yourself with employer responsibilities (note: opportunities offered by registered nonprofit organizations and government agencies may be defined as a volunteerism and would therefore not be subject to Federal and state minimum wage laws).
Paid internships, whether through hourly compensation or stipend, are not precluded from academic internship status and CICE encourages organizations to offer such opportunities for academic credit where possible. If you wish to offer the internship unpaid, please consider offering fuel reimbursements. As interns are in high demand, offering some form of compensation will provide an advantage to you in attracting the best students in a competitive internship market.
To offer academic internship opportunities to CSUF students, click here.
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Center for Internships & Community Engagement: Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 5 pm, Location: Langsdorf Hall, Room 206 Phone: (657) 278-3746 Fax: (657) 278-1217 Email: email@example.com, Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6846, Fullerton CA 92834-6846.
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