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Explore the information below to learn about academic internships at HCC.


An academic internship is three-way partnership between a student, a faculty sponsor, and a community partner, which links classroom learning with real-world experience in a professional setting.

The main priority of an academic internship is to provide students with a learning experience during which they gain new knowledge by performing tasks, working on projects, completing other on-the-job learning experiences, and through mentoring. They are usually the length of a semester, part-time, and can be paid or unpaid. 

Combining productive work with academic learning is a proven method for promoting the academic, personal, and career development of students!

Weeks 1-5

The first five weeks of the semester students will search for and solidify an internship under the guidance of the experiential learning coordinator. During this time, they will enhance several skills important for this transition, including written and oral communication, teamwork and collaboration, leadership/followership, professionalism, and work ethic as they pertain to the internship application process, interviews, and expectations of performance in their role as a student intern. Students will also complete the required documentation and be introduced to the Learning Agreement.

Please note: The first five weeks of instruction is required whether or not they have solidified an internship.

Weeks 6-15

During the second part of the semester, students will participate in the actual internship under the guidance of a faculty sponsor and a community partner.

The faculty sponsor’s role is to oversee the academic integrity of the internship and to provide the student intern with continuous direction and support.

  • Assess student readiness and serve as a resource in identifying internship opportunities
  • Confirm that the internship experience will count for academic credit
  • Assist the student with writing learning objectives that describe desired outcomes (Learning Agreement) and discuss expectations of performance
  • Create reflective assignments, and review meeting schedules and methods of grading
  • Communicate with site supervisor
  • Assist student and/or site supervisor with resolving issues that may arise and/or report to ExL coordinator
  • Provide the final grade

The Learning Agreement is a contract that defines the terms of the internship and outlines the academic responsibilities and obligations of the student intern, faculty sponsor, and site supervisor.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

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.

  1. Develop technical skills and professional communications in a work setting
  2. Utilize industry and organizational structures, culture, and ethics
  3. Apply and reflect on the connections to academic theory and practice
  4. Apply critical thinking, research, and problem-solving skills
  5. Develop awareness of self, others, and social responsibility in a work, career, and global context
  6. Establish a network of professional contacts, mentors, and references

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.

example
# 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
  • 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:

  1. Reflection, critical analysis, and synthesis
  2. Opportunities for students to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results
  3. Opportunities for students to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially,and/or physically
  4. A designed learning experience that includes the possibility to learn from naturalconsequences, mistakes, and successes
# of credits # student field hours # of hours with student Compensation
1 credit 135 3.5 hours 1 student = $143
10 students = $1,430
2 credits 90 6.5 hours 1 student = $286
10 students = $2,860
3 credits 45 10 hours 1 student = $430
9 students = $3,870
10 students = part of workload
  • Full-time HCC faculty 
  • Adjunct faculty with experience at HCC

Note: Faculty sponsors should have expertise in the student intern's area of interest.