Internships: Credit, Arranging Placement, and Assignments
Obtaining and using internship credit
Eligible students may enroll for one 3-credit section of COM 3945, Communication Internship, to apply to the major course sequence. It may be used for credit either under Performance/Production or under Communication Elective Credit. Eligible students who wish to enroll for a section during another semester may do so, but the credit must apply to Free Elective Credit outside the courses required for the major, but still within the 120 credits required for the B.A. degree.
Students may obtain only one placement per semester. Furthermore, the School of Communication & Multimedia
Studies considers 15 credits of academic coursework, including the 3-credit internship, to represent a substantial semester load. Requests from students taking internship credit to exceed this 15 credit limit must be approved by the internship director.
Arranging internships at a current place of employment
Internships are intended to be learning experiences. They are also intended to involve the student in a complete job search process. Therefore, internship credit is not ordinarily given for current or past employment activities. Furthermore, internship credit is not given retroactively for previous internships that the student may have completed. There may be situations, however, where a student may wish to intern at an agency where he/ she is employed in another capacity. This may be done according to the following guidelines: 1) the student obtains an internship in a department completely separate from the area where he/she is currently employed; 2) the intern's immediate supervisor is different from his/her current supervisor; and 3) the intern's supervisor writes a letter to the internship director verifying that the student's internship responsibilities are completely separate from the student's normally assigned duties at the agency; and 4) no more than 3 credits of internship credit may be earned.
Although most internships are not paid, occasionally students may be offered a stipend or financial compensation for their work. Students are strongly encouraged to choose their internships based on the perceived value of the learning experiences rather than on the amount of money they might receive. When students obtain paid internships, there is a concern that the educational benefits may become secondary. Therefore, students are limited to taking only 3 credits
for paid internships.
Student arranged internships
Occasionally, students become aware of an internship opportunity that is not part of Florida Atlantic University's current placement pool. If a student is interested in arranging his/her own internship, this must be done one semester prior to the start of the internship in order to give the internship director sufficient time to assess the quality of the placement. Students may only arrange internships with agencies willing to take other FAU interns at a future time. All internships must be arranged within the South Florida area. Students may NOT arrange internships at family-owned agencies.
Upon arranging the internship position, the student should have the agency's internship director complete and sign the Employer/Agency Registration form, and submit it immediately to the internship director in the School of Communication & Multimedia Studies.
Because students do receive academic credit for internships, there are assignments to be completed and timelines to be observed:
Once a student has accepted an internship, he/she should arrange a meeting with his/her supervisor to formalize a Syllabus of Learning Activities. This form should be returned to the internship director immediately. If the student or the supervisor has any questions about the content of the syllabus, contact the internship director for clarification. The Syllabus of Learning Activities is designed to provide a structure for the internship. It represents a contract between the student and his/her supervisor. The student and supervisor must establish specific objectives to be accomplished during the internship and adhere to them as closely as possible. The syllabus must also provide a detailed timetable of the days per week and the number of hours per day spent at the internship site. Agencies are also asked to provide criteria for evaluating the intern's performance.
The timetable of an internship generally corresponds with the semester timetable of the University.
At the midpoint in the semester, each student should arrange a midterm conference with the internship director. At this time, students should turn in their completed midterm evaluations. The internship director will also contact agency supervisors at this time to assess the intern's progress. Agency supervisors must also complete a midterm evaluation form.
Students must select a final project from among the options listed below. The option selected must be the one that is most appropriate for the current internship. The student makes his/her selection in consultation with the internship director. The options are:
The student must assemble a portfolio containing samples of work completed during the internship. There should be a table of contents page showing how the materials are arranged and an introductory overview statement describing the contents of the portfolio. The portfolio could include: articles written or edited; correspondence written or edited; press releases written or edited; scripts written or edited; descriptions of interviewing assignments conducted; descriptions of research assignments conducted; descriptions of any other relevant activities that constituted a source of learning.
The student must keep a detailed daily journal of his/her work activities. The journal must be kept up to date and contain the following information: the date and time of each entry; a detailed description of the work assigned and completed that day; descriptions of any activity essential to the completion of the work assigned; descriptions of any interactions with co-workers or with supervisors that seem relevant; notes on your personal strengths and weaknesses in relation to the tasks assigned; and reflections on the knowledge or skills you are acquiring through the internship involvement. The journal should not simply be a listing of day-to-day duties. It should involve a thoughtful integration of the student's experiences with his/her learning objectives. All journal entries should be typed and arranged in a folder.
This option will be specifically tailored to meet the needs of a student intern and placement agency when necessary. This option will be utilized in cases where an entire internship is geared toward the production of one very specific product. An example might be if a student was involved in a complete production of a newsletter, a magazine, or a videotape. He/she could submit the publication for his/her final project.
Students should turn in their final evaluation material (student and agency final evaluation forms) and their completed projects no later than three days before the end of the final exam period.