Overview of Internships
The National Association of Colleges and Employers defines an internship as:
An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths; and give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent.
Research suggests that students participating in internship have higher rates of retention and engagement. As a result, internships have been recognized in a high-impact educational practice. (Kuh, 2008).
How it works
Getting Started – Developing an Academic Internship Program
The Campus Internship Coordinator in the Career Development Center is available to assist you at any point in this this process.
Step One: Identify and vet potential internship sites with for-profit, non-profit or governmental organizations.
Step Two: For each viable internship site identified, a Learning Site Risk Assessment must be completed. Also an Experiential Learning Agreement must be executed between the university and the organization providing the internship. This agreement, once signed by the appropriate individual at the organization and the university’s Procurement Director, is valid for 5 years and applies to any student from Fresno State interning with organization and enrolled in an academic internship course.
Step Three: Promote approved internship opportunities to students in your academic program.
Step Four: Determine how your course will be structured. Some internship courses are handled as independent study and others utilizing a seminar format with regular class meetings. It is recommended that your course include reflective writing assignments, a log of hours completed that is verified by the internship site supervisor, selected reading assignments, a resume writing assignment that includes the internship experience and a culminating report or presentation about the student’s internship experience.
Step Five: Obtain all the required documentation for each student enrolled. Pursuant to CSU Executive Order 1064, the following must be collected and retained by the campus supervising office or a designated campus office:
- Student acknowledgement of participation in internship orientation that includes conduct expectations, health and safety instructions, and emergency contacts.
- Student Release of Liability / Emergency Contact Form
- Learning Plan Agreement Form signed by the student, internship site supervisor and university representative. The form addresses the work to be provided by the student, the learning outcomes, and the placement logistics (including hours and pay).
Step Six: Conduct evaluations. At the conclusion of the internship both the internship site supervisor and the student should complete an evaluation. The internship site supervisor’s evaluation form should assess the student in terms of:
- Improvement in skills required for Career Readiness as defined by the
- Level of achievement in reaching learning outcomes listed in the Learning Plan Agreement.
The Student’s evaluation form should mirror the internship supervisor’s evaluation form and include an additional section to allow the student to provide feedback about the quality of the internship site.
Helpful Resources and Links
- Internship Course Evaluation Rubric
- Kuh, G. D. (2008). High-impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Fresno State Agricultural Business Major, Brooke Woods, spent a summer working as
a marketing intern for John Deere in Olathe, Kansas for the Small Ag & Turf Tactical
Marketing Department for the Region 4 Division (U.S./Canada). Her responsibilities
include redesigning brochures & other marketing tools for customers & dealerships
for small utility tractors. Brooke utilized this experience for her AGBS 194 – Internship
In addition to connecting what she learned in the classroom to practical applications in industry, shortly after completing her internship, Brooke was offered a full-time Marketing Representative Trainee position with John Deere. She’s excited to be joining their team and will have the opportunity to work in several divisions of the company at various location throughout the country.
How to get involved