Academic Internships

Office of

Academic Internships,

Cooperative Education &

Service Learning

Neff Hall, Room 337

Phone | 260-481-6939

Email |

Debra Barrick | Director

Phone | 260-481-5471

Fax | 260-481-5460

Email |

Hours of Operation

8:00 am to 5:00 pm

Monday to Friday


How may hours should students be present at the site? 

Usually students work/volunteer 10-24 hours per week. Research shows that most learning occurs when students intern at least 20 hours. The number of hours should be limited to no more than 24 if a full load of classes is being taken.

How long should internships be? 

Internships should be at least one semester in a professional capacity under the guidance of a supervisor; less than 1/2 of a semester usually doesn’t qualify for credit.

Do we place whomever we think will fit the position or does the employer/agency have input into who is chosen? 

The employer/agency should interview students to see if they fit in their work environment, and if they have the necessary skills needed to be successful. Even though an employer/agency will call and ask you to send your “best student,” you should announce positions in classes, on a listserv, or on a bulletin board to avoid preferential treatment that can could be interpreted as discriminatory.

Should all the faculty members work with internships, or should we have one person assigned?  

That is a question your department needs to decide. If you have a mandatory internship and a large number of majors, the obvious choice would be to have more than one.

What is the difference between paid and unpaid internships?

They may be exactly the same when evaluating how challenging the assignments are. The only difference may be compensation. It is a good idea to ask if the employer/agency pay students if at all possible. Many students can’t participate in outstanding internships because they would have to give up a part-time job to intern for no compensation while paying for internship credits. All internships are competitively paid through the Co-op Office.

Can students find their own internships? 

Yes. However, you would still need to make contact with the supervisor to make sure the internship qualifies based on your departmental guidelines.

Can international students do internships?

Yes. However, all F1 students working off campus must report to Connell Nelson, Director of International Student Services.

What if I need advice on how to advise a student who has a disability? 

Eric Wagenfeld, Director of Services for Students with Disabilities is always available to answer your questions. Please e-mail him or call 260-481-6658. His office is in Walb Union, room 113.

Will the length of an internship always coincide with an academic semester? 

The key is to be flexible. Some may begin or end a week or two before or after the semester begins. We try to accommodate the employers/agencies since they are providing the outstanding opportunities to our students. Usually students have to intern for more than 1/2 of the semester to earn academic credit.

What are some ways students can document their learning? 

They could include writing daily/weekly journals; progress reports of their experiences and how they are achieving their objectives; created work samples such as brochures, handbooks, etc.; scholarly reports, presentations, student self-reflective surveys, employer evaluations and more.


Occasionally, a placement does not yield the quality experience we expect. The Co-op Office can serve in an advisory capacity to assist you in addressing problems and issues that arise at the workplace.  Most difficulties can be resolved when working with you, the student and the employer. Communication is key to effective high quality learning experiences for students and employers/agencies and the resolution of problems. Please contact Debra K. Barrick at 260-481-5471.

Legal issues

Students’ experiences should be free of harassment and discrimination. Any such abuses should be brought to the attention of the faculty member by the student or employer/agency at once and appropriate steps taken to ameliorate the issues.

The Family Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 provides legal protection for students’ academic internship records. Student GPAs, employer evaluations, student performance, etc. are considered confidential.  Faculty should be careful when discussing these topics with employers, agency, and parents unless students have signed your departmental waiver for release of information.

Other areas of interest:

Office of Academic Internships, Cooperative Education, and Service Learning

Cooperative Education

Service Learning

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