Internships, practicums, industry specific independent studies are all names for various types experiential education experiences. A student can obtain a wealth of knowledge from texts, lectures and guest speakers. However, a more complete knowledge can only be acquired from having that student enter/engage the workforce or a given industry segment and assume responsibilities that will hopefully develop their business skills and acumen.
The University of New Haven feels internships are a critical component of the educational process. We strive to adequately match an intern with the most appropriate work environment. For those who might not qualify or want an internship, the University of New Haven offers other experiential education opportunities such as practicums and industry specific independent studies. We understand that all three parties in the experiential education relationship (the University of New Haven, the student, and the host site) need to devote significant time to the process to make it work. If the University of New Haven does not monitor the experience with possible site visits and/or talking with the host supervisor then the student might not be able to improve their skill, knowledge, and/or develop strategies to become more effective.
Experiential education does not entail just letting a student go unsupervised hoping they will perform the assigned work. A student sometimes can perform tasks without guidance. However, more often than not, a student will require guidance, which might entail significant time commitment from host site. In the same perspective, a student should not be given only mindless labor or “grunt work” as such activities will not give them a true business learning experience and can lead to potential tax/legal concerns. Thus, a successful experiential learning experience requires both time and energy to provide a student with enough practical work to make the internship beneficial for all parties. This balancing act can be difficult, but when it is achieved the resulting experience will produce a great learning opportunity and the ability to develop future industry leaders.
This guide is designed to provide several simple steps, rules, and forms to help a host site operate an internship or practicum while meeting organization needs and preventing any potential legal problems.
Internship Program Philosophy
UNH, CoB experiential education opportunities are structured around the concept of experiential educational value as opposed to simply functioning as vehicles for career exposure and growth. The educational value of our experiential education is demonstrated through a required research component, student learning objectives, and faculty advisor and host site supervisor mentorship. Although the primary goal of our program is to enhance academic learning, our experiential education opportunities also provide opportunities for personal and professional growth which are an important aspect of our mission.
Internship Goals for Students:
- Improving skills in research, communication, observation, and problem-solving
- Providing networking and mentoring opportunities
- Developing sound decision making within an ethical and legal framework
- Developing a practical/applied knowledge of how to market sport and run events
- Being able to analyze and make relevant financial decisions based on appropriate data
- Engaging the intern in the discipline or major
- Causing interaction with a variety of individuals, systems, and organizations
- Improving self confidence
- Putting learning into context to improve understanding and retention of concepts
- Using a variety of learning styles and frequently challenging participants to use new ways of learning and thinking
- Helping a participant grow emotionally and learn from both failure and success as well as appreciating change and how change can impact them
- Enhance professionalism and development of soft skills such s the ability to interact on a professional level in formal and informal business settings
- Internships will provide students the opportunity to test their interest in a particular career before permanent commitments are made
- Internships will aid students in adjusting from college to full-time employment and help them create employment record, references, and understanding of how organizations operate
- Internships will increase a student's sense of responsibility and help them acquire good work habits
- Internship programs will increase student earning potential upon graduation
- Internship programs motivate students to continue their education.
- Experiential learning opportunities connect the classroom to the professional world. Internships are newlearning opportunities that provide new skills, experiences, and opportunities to the intern.
- Past work experience is not eligible to receive academic credit.
- Current work experiences are not eligible to receive academic credit. Exception: if an intern takes onadded or new responsibilities in their current position that meet the requirement of a new learning experience.
- Experiential Education (EE) credit will not be given retroactively. No exceptions.
- Experiential Education requires the approval of the academic major department coordinator before starting an internship or EE activity - no exceptions.
- A completed and signed EE contract is required for all internships.
- Students are not guaranteed internship placement – interns must meet the qualifications set forth by the academic department and the host organization and then apply and interview for the internship. If a student is not eligible for an internship, every effort will be made to find a different EE opportunity.
- Students will be responsible for securing their own internship. The Internship coordinators and/or Office of Career Development will maintain contacts and internship postings, but the student is accountable for contacting employers, submitting resume and cover letter, interviewing, and making all final arrangements.
- Faculty can assist students searching for practicum and/or industry specific independent studies.
- Pay is determined by the host organization. Internships (both paid and unpaid) are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act,
- To count as an internship in the College of Business, the student must be engaged in business related activities.
- All internships for academic credit must meet departmental approval.
- Internship credit is earned on a 66.6:1 ratio – each 66.6 onsite work hours equal 1 academic credit. Thus, 200 hours need to be worked to earn three credits and 400 hours need to be worked to earn six credits.
- Work hours must be completed within the semester schedule timeframe – hours from previous semestersdo not carry over from one semester to the next without written faculty approval.
- Students must register for the internship during the semester in which the hours are worked. For summer registration or internships faculty can possibly change registration requirements to assist in obtaining financial aid or to help the internship fall under a scholarship.
- A student must be in their junior year to apply for a credit based internship.
- A student must have a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 to apply for an internship. Accounting students need at least a 3.0 in all their accounting classes. Students with a lower GPA will need to take a practicum or independent study instead of an internship unless the student can raise their GPA or extenuating circumstances exist to warrant the Internship Coordinator approving such an internship candidate.
- Traditional internships are for three (3) or six (6) semester hours in the semester in which the internship is undertaken. In rare circumstances additional semester hours can be earned, but such opportunities are traditionally limited to individuals working at an out of state/country internship where the student would not be able to attend any classes that semester at UNH.
- An internship is a course and it is a student’s responsibility to attend (whether live or via alternative means) all pre-internship, mid-internship, and post-internship meetings.
When an internship site has been finalized, a contract needs to be developed. The contract specifies that the student would agree to perform specific tasks or accomplish goals and the internship site agrees to provide assistance for the student in their efforts to reach those tasks/goals. A sample Internship Contract is enclosed with the other application materials below. This Contract is signed by the student, site supervisor and Internship Coordinator or department coordinator and serves as the basis for all issues with the internship. For example, if the Contract requires the student to work 20 hours a week and the student only works 10 hours per week, then the student is technically violating the Internship Contract. Similarly if the internship site is required to help train the intern in marketing and the intern is only given photocopying work, then the Internship Contract would allow the student to leave the internship site based on the site’s breach of the Contract. It should be specifically stated that the Contract provides no other remedy whether legal or non-legal other than allowing a student, university, or internship site the right to terminate the internship experience if something goes wrong.
The internship process does not end with the Internship Contract. Specific starting and ending dates need to be established and added to the Contract. Then the internship begins. Interns are required to behave in a manner that reflects unquestionable professionalism. It is anticipated that an intern will follow the charge given them by their supervisor(s). While an intern is expected to perform a variety of functions, they are not charged with performing any illegal acts, nor is their conduct controlled in any respect by the University of New Haven. The intern is an independent individual and not an employee of the University of New Haven. Thus, the University of New Haven does not guarantee the conduct or actions of an intern even if such conduct results in personal or financial injury.
It is incumbent on the intern, and to a lesser extent the internship site, to maintain contact with the Internship Coordinator or department coordinator and report on a regular basis whether by a quick note, fax, e-mail or phone call. Every effort will be made by the Internship Coordinator or department coordinator to visit the internship site or meet with the intern and host in another specified location or manner to determine progress. Phone/Internet communication can also be used to communicate with site supervisors and interns. Besides such updates, the intern is required to complete a weekly log highlighting what they have accomplished the past week. At the end of the internship the student is required to write a summarization paper to be submitted to both the internship site and department coordinator summarizing what the student had learned and including examples of the student’s work product (memos, flyers, marketing letters, promotional pieces and other items which can be publicly disclosed-yet highlight what the intern accomplished). The internship site will submit a grade and formally evaluate the student and their internship.
The internship site supervisor completes the grading form and reviews the summarization paper to help develop a final grade. The internship host’s opinion and final grade prepared by the department coordinator are combined for the intern’s final grade. The department coordinator’s grade is based on variables such as the weekly log, site grade, and the summarization paper. A grading matrix is attached to highlight how the grade will be determined.
Part of the grading includes a host site assigning students to undertake two assignments during the internship:
- Writing at least one business memo
- Giving at least one oral presentation to colleagues/supervisors
Experiential Education (EE) Program Philosophy
Internships are just one of three options under the framework of Experiential education. UNH recognizes that not all students can undertake an internship and that some students wish to pursue other options. A practicum entails working for a business or organization to help them solve a problem or issue. Businesses or organizations sometimes approach Unh for assistance in solving a problem. Students pursuing a practicum will work closely with a faculty member to research the problem and then write a paper and provide a professional presentation to the business/organization highlighting potential solutions. Practicums are graded based on the thoroughness of the research, creativity associated with the solution(s), and the student’s written/oral presentation.
Any employer with an interesting project that would not otherwise serve as an internship (such as a research project, market research, etc…) should contact Professor Fried at email@example.com to discuss finding a student to work on a practicum.