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Center for Service Learning and Academic Internships

Welcome to Academic Internships

An Academic Internship formally integrates the student’s academic study with practical experience at a collaborating and “approved” organization site. Students are concurrently enrolled in an Academic Internship course in the same semester that the internship experience is conducted in order to receive academic credit upon successful completion of these applied learning experiences. It is an activity designed to serve educational purposes by offering experience in an approved learning, business, non-profit, or government setting.

The CSU Chancellor’s Office Executive Order 1064 – Student Internships (Sep. 2011) provides the following definition for an Academic Internship: “An internship formally integrates the student’s academic study with practical experience in a cooperating organization. It is an off-campus activity designed to serve educational purposes by offering experience in a service learning… business, non-profit, or government setting. For the purpose of this executive order “internship” does not include teacher preparation placements or clinical placements such as for nursing, counseling, physical therapy or occupational therapy. An internship site is the organization at which the internship takes place.” Further guidance is provided by HSU Policy on Academic Internships (HSU Senate Resolution #22-11/12-APC)

Dr. George Kuh, in his publication, High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter, includes internships as one of the “high-impact practices that educational research suggests increase rates of student retention and student engagement,” and as one of the “teaching and learning practices that have been widely tested and have been shown to be beneficial for college students from many backgrounds. These practices take many different forms, depending on learner characteristics and on institutional priorities and contexts.” Kuh defines Internships as “another increasingly common form of experiential learning. The idea is to provide students with direct experience in a work setting—usually related to their career interests—and to give them the benefit of supervision and coaching from professionals in the field. If the internship is taken for course credit, students complete a project or paper that is approved by a faculty member.”

At HSU, an Academic Internship is an approved and supervised learning experience (paid or unpaid) that meets specific student learning goals related to an academic field of study and academic internship course. This learning partnership between a student, Humboldt State University and a host agency bears a direct relationship to a student’s major and professional objectives and provides the opportunity for the student’s development of professional skills. On-site projects are combined with reflective academic assignments that help students “learn by doing.” A clear course syllabus is provided by HSU faculty to establish academic parameters and course credit; while consistent supervision, assignments and learning opportunities are provided by professional staff at the host agency/Learning Site.


Faculty Guide to Arranging Academic Internships for Students

The development of community partnerships and site placements can be a lengthy process. Faculty are encouraged to begin the process at least one semester prior to course offering. Please contact the Center for Service Learning & Academic Internships for assistance.

All faculty teaching Academic Internship Courses are responsible for meeting the Risk Management requirements established under CSU/HSU policies, which were designed to cover the activities of HSU students in Academic Internship relationships with community partners for course credit. This includes the required steps for establishing Learning Site Agreement paperwork for new sites/community partners. For more information on Academic Internships policy and best practices, please click here.

For a one page summary of HSU faculty responsibilities, including the four required Student Risk Documents (HSU Release of Liability, HSU Participation Guidelines, HSU Student Learning Plan, HSU Student Time Log) please refer to the document, Risk Management Requirements for Faculty Overseeing Students in Service Learning & Academic Internship Courses.

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