Explore the information below to learn about academic internships at HCC.
An academic internship combines classroom learning with real-world experience in a professional setting. Students will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience, and build a professional network in their field of study.
Academic internships are:
- Overseen by both a faculty member and an employee of an organization
- Usually the length of an academic semester
- Part‐time or full‐time
- Paid or unpaid
Combining productive work with academic learning is a proven method for promoting the academic, personal, and career development of students.
The role of faculty sponsors is to oversee the academic integrity of the internship and to provide continuous direction and support, ensuring a productive learning experience. Their responsibilities are as follows:
- Hold a pre-internship meeting to assess student readiness, and provide guidance in cooperation with ExL coordinator
- In collaboration with the ExL coordinator, serve as a resource in identifying possible internship opportunities and/or areas that are relevant to the student's academic and career goals
- Confirm that the experience will count for academic credit
- Together with the site supervisor, define intern's duties and responsibilities, and discuss expectations of performance before, during, and after the internship
- Assist student with writing learning objectives that describe desired internship outcomes using the Learning Agreement (a contract that defines the terms of the internship, and outlines the academic responsibilities and obligations of the intern, faculty sponsor, and site supervisor)
- Create and review meeting schedules and methods of grading
- Create reflective assignments that support desired learning outcomes, and provide feedback
- Monitor student progress by communicating with internship site supervisor and review mid-term and final assessments
- Report concerns or special issues to the ExL coordinator, and assist students and/or site supervisor with addressing/resolving issues that may arise
- At the end of the semester, assess the student intern's learning – based on assignments, community partner assessments and feedback from the site supervisor – and provide the final grade
Once the student sets up their academic internship, you will work with them to define their duties and responsibilities, and discuss expectations of performance before, during, and after the internship.
Completing the Learning Agreement is a coordinated three-step process:
- The student obtains an internship job description from the site supervisor
- The faculty sponsor defines the student intern's duties and expectations by helping students craft learning objectives that describe what they hope to learn from the overall experience
- The student shares the newly crafted learning objectives with the site supervisor to ensure they are obtainable
The six Learning Outcomes serve as guidelines for the academic credibility and transferability of the internship. These outcomes are in accordance with the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education and the NSEE Eight Principles for Good Practice that encompass career, professional, personal, technical, theoretical, and analytical skills relevant for student internship experiences in all academic disciplines.
The Six Learning Outcomes for Academic Internships
- Develop technical skills and professional communications in a work setting
- Utilize industry and organizational structures, culture, and ethics
- Apply and reflect on the connections to academic theory and practice
- Apply critical thinking, research skills, and problem-solving skills
- Develop awareness of self, others, and social responsibility in a work, career, and global context
- Establish a network of professional contacts, mentors, and references
By working with the ExL Program, you won't just reduce the time and effort required to coordinate academic internships – you'll be utilizing a structured program based on national best practices.
The success of our program relies on the collaborative efforts of four partners: the student intern; the faculty sponsor; the community partner; and the ExL coordinator.
The ExL coordinator organizes these efforts by:
- Following up, assessing, and coordinating academic internship opportunities ensuring they offer true learning experiences and abide by FLSA guidelines
- Assisting community partners with creating and/or enhancing internship programs
- Supporting students with resources for:
- Preparing and searching for internships
- Creating/updating resumes and cover letters
- Interviewing prep
- Meeting application requirements
- Gathering references and transcripts
- Providing program-specific orientations
- Addressing and troubleshooting issues that may arise at the internship site
- Coordinating students' course registrations and internship records
- Coordinating and maintaining community partners' records
how does an internship prepare a student for the workplace?
To better prepare our students for internships and the world of work, we have embedded NACE's definition of career readiness and the eight competencies associated with it into our Academic Internship Program through Career Readiness Modules on Moodle.
Career readiness is the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace. NACE, through a task force of college career services and HR/staffing professionals, has developed a definition, based on extensive research among employers, and identified eight competencies associated with career readiness.
The eight competencies are:
- Professionalism/Work Ethic
- Oral/Written Communications
- Global Perspective
- Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
- Digital Technology
- Career Management
As students reflect on the competencies, they are preparing to meet the challenges of the workplace and developing the agility and the capacity to embrace change. The modules are free and fully accessible to students. They can be tailored to specific academic disciplines, jobs, or individual students. They are designed to be flexible, allowing students complete modules over the course of several weeks or multiple modules in one day.
Academic internships assume a certain amount of work and time spent at the internship site. The credits earned are not tied solely to hours "on the job," but to the amount and type of academic work assigned by the faculty sponsor. Assignments must also align with the number of credits earned. Academic internships carry one, two, or three credits.
|# of credits earned||# of hours with student (per semester)|
|1 credit||3.5 hours|
|2 credits||6.5 hours|
|3 credits||10 hours|
The academic work of the internship is defined by the faculty sponsor and could include:
- Reflective journaling
- Compiling portfolios
- Writing integrative papers
- ExL Carreer Readiness Modules
- Periodic discussions (in-person and/or online) of student intern's progress at the internship site and on their academic assignments
As academic internships are a form of experiential learning, they are based on activity that is reflected upon. Learning that is considered "experiential" contains all of the following elements:
- Reflection, critical analysis, and synthesis
- Opportunities for students to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results
- Opportunities for students to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially,and/or physically
- A designed learning experience that includes the possibility to learn from naturalconsequences, mistakes, and successes
Full-time and/or adjunct faculty will receive compensation for each individual internship, with a limit of 10 per term.
|# of credits||# of hours with student||Rate||Compensation|
|1 credit||3.5 hours||$143||1 student = $143 (up to 10 students = $1,430)|
|2 credits||6.5 hours||$286||1 student = $286 (up to 10 students = $2,860)|
|3 credits||10 hours||$430||1 student = $430 (up to 10 students = $4,300)|
Who can be a faculty sponsor?
- Full-time HCC faculty
- Adjunct faculty with experience at HCC
Learn more about becoming a faculty sponsor.
Note: Faculty sponsors should have expertise in the student intern's area of interest.