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Hosting an Academic Internship

The Department of Communication and Hope College rely on the organization and the Site Supervisor accepting an intern to aid in the education and professional development of the student. Below are some typical concerns for developing an internship position in your organization, site supervisor expectations, and steps to recruit a Hope College Department of Communication student for an academic internship.

site organization expectations

While compensation of interns is not a condition for the experience, organizations may have a program or policy where a small wage or stipend for interns is offered. There is no prohibition of payment of interns, though remuneration is incidental to the educational goals of the internship. The host organization should offer close, professional supervision of each student intern.

Organizations should also consider what they are seeking by hosting an internship. If seeking to set up an internship program, your organization may need to consider the following:

set goals: What is your organization seeking from the position or program? – additional help on a project, a motivated new employee, the opportunity to provide an interesting and rewarding experience, personnel with management potential, fresh new ideas?

write a plan: Based on your goals for the internship position or program, set up a plan for meeting those goals. Your organization’s approach will depend on your specific resources and needs, and may include your expectations for the student intern’s “end product”, where and with whom the student intern will work, how to acclimate the student intern to your organization, etc.

select a site supervisor: A very important part of your plan should be the assignment of a Site Supervisor — that is, someone from the intern’s department who will be in charge of the intern. This person should be selected because he or she likes to teach or train, has the resources to do it, and is a professional in the field in which the student is studying.

articulate intern responsibilities: It is vital to have an accurate description of the student intern’s responsibilities to your organization in order to recruit a student intern and to evaluate the intern during the internship. This description, based upon your goals and plan, will be incorporated into the required internship agreement. Site supervisors and interns are responsible for completing the internship agreement and must submit it to the Internship Director before the internship can be approved for credit. While developing the internship responsibilities, please keep in mind that while the Department of Communication understands certain professions require a reasonable amount of clerical work (i.e., photocopying, faxing, stuffing envelopes), these tasks should not represent the bulk of the student’s internship responsibilities. Ideally, the internship Site Supervisor should be involved in describing the internship job responsibilities, and should act as the primary contact for the organization during recruitment (the Site Supervisor should be listed on all recruitment materials).

site supervisor expectations

: The primary expectation for the Site Supervisor is that this person mentors the student intern in her/his respective field. Considerations for mentoring a student, in order to maximize the possibility of a successful internship are:

  • Orient the intern to the organizational culture.
  • Involve the intern in the project planning process and invite project suggestions from other staff members.
  • Assign projects that are accomplishable.
  • Provide training as needed.
  • Explain the rationale behind work assignments.
  • Hold interns accountable for projects and deadlines.
  • Treat interns as part of the organizational staff and invite them to staff meetings.

evaluating: The Site Supervisor also is responsible for evaluating the student intern’s performance. Such evaluations include:

  • Completion of an Internship Agreement in consultation with the student intern prior to their enrollment in COMM 399 (internship program) for credit
  • Completion of a Midterm Evaluation supplied by the student intern
  • Completion of a Final Evaluation supplied by the student intern

These three evaluations are required for academic credit. The organization and Site Supervisor, however, are not limited to these forms of evaluating the student intern. More information is provided in the department’s site supervisor handbook.

Hope College policies
Students and host organization members are expected to adhere to professional codes of conduct. For specific information on Hope College policies for ethical and professional conduct, refer to the following documents:

Hope College Policy on Discrimination
Hope College is committed to the concept of equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal protection under the law. Hope College admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, creed or handicap to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at Hope College. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, creed or handicap in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, and athletic and other school-administered programs. With regard to employment, the college complies with all legal requirements prohibiting discrimination in employment.

recruiting a student intern

timing of an academic internship: The traditional academic calendar consists of a fall semester and a spring semester, each 16 weeks long, with a summer break. Because academic internships allow students to earn academic credit, internships should follow the academic calendar as closely as possible. Some exceptions, however, may be granted at the discretion of the Department of Communication Internship Director.

Students begin registering for fall and summer academic credits in mid-March and for spring semester academic credits in mid-October. Students need to apply and be approved for academic internship credits prior to registering for those credits, therefore students start looking for internships prior to the registration period. It is encouraged that your organization take advantage of this timing since well-prepared students and organizations are typically paired up quickly before and during registration. Exact academic calendars can be found at the Hope College Registrar’s website.

recruiting Hope College student interns through Career Services: Once you have articulated the responsibilities of the student intern, the Hope College Career Development Center provides resources for posting positions, setting up on-campus recruitment opportunities, interviewing, and hiring student interns. Using these services ensures that your internship position is made available to all Hope College communication students thus increasing your pool of potential student interns. The Department of Communication works cooperatively with the Career Development Center in the recruitment process; as such, all position descriptions should be posted with the Career Development Center. Be sure to review the Career Development Center guidelines for posting positions, on-campus recruiting (if desired), interviewing, and hiring practices. NOTE: You may choose to use the Career Development Center to post non-academic internships; however, these opportunities will not be listed as “academic internships.”

additional resources

Hope College Policy on Sexual Harassment

Hope College Virtues of Public Discourse

Hope College Career Development Center

Site Supervisor Handbook