What is an Internship?
An internship is a form of experiential education that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skill development in a professional setting. Internships with St. Norbert College students are planned in cooperation with the College, the company/business where the internship will take place, and the student. This work/learning arrangement is overseen by a faculty or staff member of St. Norbert College and by a designated internship supervisor of the organization. An integral component of the experience that distinguishes it from other types of work is one or more forms of structured and deliberate reflection contained within learning agendas or objectives. An internship may be part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid.
Based on research and common definitions, internships are different from part-time jobs or volunteer experiences because:
- Internships are specifically tied to the intern's career goals or are an opportunity to explore potential career interests, and allow for structured opportunities to practice and develop new skills.
- Internships are paraprofessional in nature. That is, the work must be substantial in terms of the quality of work performed (not simply clerical, food service etc.) to provide students a chance to apply and expand upon their classroom learning. A maximum of 25% of an intern's time should be spent on routine duties that do not provide learning opportunities in the career field.
- As a form of experiential education, an internship is a triad partnership between the student, College, and employer with responsibilities of each clearly articulated in pre-defined learning objectives.
- An intern brings an intentional learning agenda to the experience. Rather than simply performing a set of tasks for an employer, an intern (often in collaboration with a faculty member, internship coordinator, or employer) develops specific learning objectives at the beginning of the internship, and the employer makes a commitment to meet those objectives by signing the learning agreement.
- Internships include facilitated and guided practice, reflection and evaluation. The National Society for Experiential Education defines an internship as "a carefully monitored work experience in which an individual has intentional learning goals and reflects actively on what he or she is learning throughout the experience."
- Interns are supervised by professional staff that has expertise related to the field the student is interning in, whereas student workers may be supervised by administrative assistants. Interns should be working "at the side of" a practicing professional, learning skills and gaining knowledge in the designated career field.
- Internship supervisors must be willing and available to provide adequate training and regular on-site supervision of the intern, meeting with individual interns a minimum of 30 minutes on a biweekly basis.
- Internships can be paid or unpaid. Unpaid internships must ensure compliance with the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Interns have the option of receiving academic credit.
- Non-Credit and 0-Credit Internships require a student to work a minimum accumulation of 60 hours.
- Internships taken for credit require a minimum of 120 hours, but more hours may be required depending on the specific course.
For more information on internships, please contact Career Services, (920) 403-3040.
For more information about internships, contact:
Phone: (920) 403-3040
Fax: (920) 403-4052