As the Employer, you are a partner in meeting the goals of an internship.
At Bridgewater State University, these goals are:
- To bridge the classroom and the field
- To provide opportunities for students to develop professional skill sets
- To increase a student’s sense of civic responsibility, learning and engagement
To list your internship position with Bridgewater State University, please begin by creating a profile in our online recruiting system, Handshake.
The Role of the Internship Site Supervisor
Student interns are supervised by a staff person employed by the site organization. The site supervisor should have experience and expertise in the area in which the student is interning.
The employer should make available and/or act as a professional on-site supervisor in the work environment in the following ways:
- Assign one designated on-site supervisor for each student intern. Assigning a specific employee as the intern's on-site supervisor provides the opportunity for efficient communication between all parties.
- Provide the student intern(s), on company letterhead or via company email, a list of clearly defined responsibilities that complement the student's academic program. The student should have this list prior to registration for the internship course.
- Set a work schedule with the intern that accommodates the number of hours needed to be fulfilled for the amount of credit being earned. In most cases the intern takes the responsibility of tracking their hours, but the internship site supervisor should review hours for the week.
- Keep the number of clerical duties assigned to a minimum so that the student intern and the employer both benefit from this "trainer/trainee relationship." Duties should be hands-on, career-related responsibilities.
- Inform the student about any and all company/organizational guidelines, policies and any safety issues prior to the student's start date. (An orientation program is highly recommended.)
- Act as a mentor to the student intern(s), bridging the theoretical book knowledge with hands-on practical applications resulting in specific learning outcomes.
- Provide the student intern(s) with daily or weekly feedback on their progress.
- Complete a performance evaluation provided by the internship faculty advisor at the University. The standard timeframe for sending the evaluation form to the employer is mid-semester and two weeks prior to the end of the internship.
Site Supervisor's Evaluation of the Student
- Site supervisors should evaluate students objectively and in accordance with established student assignments and responsibilities as agreed upon in the learning contract.
- At the conclusion of the internship, the site supervisor should submit a written evaluation of the student's progress to the faculty advisor. This evaluation should reflect:
- the intern's progress toward the goals and learning objectives stated in their learning contract;
- the intern's ability to function as a contributing member of the host organization; and
- the intern's personal and professional growth during the internship.
The internship site supervisor's final evaluation should be one to two pages in length and printed on the organization's letterhead. The original should be mailed to the faculty advisor and a copy should be given to the student.
Characteristics of a Legitimate Internship Site
Bridgewater State University defines an appropriate internship site as follows:
- The internship site must be a legitimate business or professional site. The site cannot be in a private residence unless the residence is legally zoned for the purpose of conducting that specific business in which the student will be involved.
- The internship site must be an established organization of business for a minimum of one year.
- The participating employer must abide by BSU’s policy on discrimination and sexual harassment.
- All internships must fulfill real company needs at the internship site. Likewise, the work assigned to students should be academically resonant and give students the opportunity to aptly apply concepts learned in the classroom. Routine photocopying and envelope stuffing will not be considered a viable internship opportunity.
- The intern’s responsibility should result in a measurable project or academic outcome by the end of the internship period.
- The organization should be prepared to reasonably modify the internship according to the student abilities.
Legal Issues Involved with Internships
Employers/Organizations must be aware of and ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), before classifying a student intern as an unpaid "trainee." If a student intern is considered an "employee" for purposes of the FLSA, then the employer must pay its student interns at least the minimum wage. The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division developed a six-factor test for determining whether workers are considered "trainees" under the FLSA:
- The training is similar to that which would be given in a vocation school
- The training is for the benefit of the trainee
- The trainees do not displace regular employees, but work under close observation/supervision
- The employer derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the trainee
- The trainees are not necessarily entitled to a job at the completion of the training period
- The employer and the trainee understand that the trainees are not entitled to wages for the time spent in training
For more information, please go to the Department of Labor website.