Millikin University provides a variety of academic activities to help deliver on the promise of education. The internship is one of these activities. Students in many disciplines look to internships as a way of solidifying theoretical knowledge and critical thinking – thus allowing the opportunity to integrate theory into the practice setting.
Because of its flexibility, the internship can meet many needs. It also allows for concentrated study that can be of great benefit to a student ready to focus on a certain aspect of his or her discipline. Students must be motivated, self-directed, and open to new ideas to experience a successful internship. The Student Roles page defines further student characteristics that will help ensure a positive experience.
According to the University Bulletin (p. 22), internships provide:
…Academic credit for serving an apprenticeship (typically off the university campus) under qualified and approved supervision. The departments that offer this opportunity list internships under a designation ending in 70. Students must complete 40 hours of work to receive one credit of internship.
An internship must be completed during the semester for which it is registered. In other words, a student who registers for an internship in the fall or spring semester cannot start the internship hours prior to the beginning of the semester. Academic internships may also be completed during the summer term or winter immersion – tuition fees for summer and immersion internships are based on the type and extent of faculty supervision required for the internship. These fees are described in more detail on the Individual Study Contract Form.
Students interested in completing an internship as part of their plan of study should discuss initial ideas with their academic advisor. The advisor can help the student:
- Refine ideas
- Plan potential learning outcomes
- Ensure the theoretical course background needed for a particular internship topic
- Investigate possible internship sites
- Help identify potential faculty supervisors and agency preceptors (see below).
In addition, the academic advisor will be familiar with any department specific policies regarding internships that the student must fulfill. Some departments may have specific internship requirements and forms for their students.
Typically, a student will need both a faculty supervisor/sponsor and an agency on-site preceptor to complete an internship. The academic department may assign the faculty supervisor/sponsor for a student, or it may be the student’s responsibility to secure an interested faculty member to serve in that role. The faculty supervisor/sponsor will be responsible for:
- Helping the student complete the internship course development
- Confirming that all the appropriate paperwork has been submitted
- Ensuring that the student has completed the required hours and work
- Grading any materials that are connected to the internship
- Submitting a grade for the internship
The faculty supervisor/sponsor should work closely with the student, student’s advisor, agency and agency preceptor to ensure a successful internship.The agency preceptor or mentor is very important to a successful internship. Some internship site agencies will control selection of preceptors and assign them to interns. Other agencies, especially those without formal internal internship programs, will allow interns to select preceptors. The best preceptor is one who enjoys mentoring and teaching, is a good communicator and is an expert in the intern’s field of interest. The preceptor will serve as the intern’s connection to the agency and directly supervise the student’s work during the internship experience.
It is obvious then that choosing an internship preceptor is an important part of the process. Read about preceptor roles to guide your selection. This information can help guide selection of faculty supervisors as well as agency preceptors.
Typically, students will need to complete the: Individual Study Contract.
This form is also available at the Registrar’s office. In addition, students must complete any departmental specific forms and finalize the process according to university and departmental policy.