Faculty Sponsors

Role of Faculty Sponsor

Every student who participates in an academic internship is required to obtain a Faculty Sponsor from the department granting the credit. A secondary sponsor is not required unless preferred by a program or department. For example, Dr. Bouma serves as the secondary sponsor for students participating in the Shepherd Internship Program, Dr. Hackbert is the secondary sponsor for EPG interns, and there may be cross-disciplinary internships where a secondary sponsor would make sense.

The role of the Faculty Sponsor is to oversee the academic direction and integrity of the learning experience.

Benefits to Serving as a Faculty Sponsor (as identified by other faculty sponsors)

  • Able to network with professionals who are immersed in the day-to-day realities of the profession
  • Can learn from the students’ research and/or experience
  • Students return to the classroom with new insights and heightened interest in the subject matter – more “engaged”

Internship Proposal Process

Typical steps in the process for summer internships include:

  • Meet with the student to discuss initial intentions/plans to participate in an internship.
  • If it is the student’s first internship, encourage her/him to register on Handshake and attend the required internship information sessions (currently offered as recorded sessions) by the Office of Internships: How to Receive Credit and Funding for Your Internship is required for all students planning to participate in an internship in Summer 2021 because things have changed! If this is a student’s first internship, additional sessions are required (Finding or Creating Your Ideal Internship and Applying for Internships).
  • Once the student has applied, interviewed, and been selected for a position, meet to work with the student to draft and revise the details of their summer internship experience, based on the written offer received from their internship site supervisor (the student should have brought the offer to our office for pre-approval and should be able to provide a copy for you at your request). If the site is not already known to you, familiarize yourself with the organization in a basic way. The student should be able to provide a copy of the offer required by the Internship Office, and should have started a draft of the internship proposal. The offer should include the following (an offer template for internship site supervisors is available here under Making an Offer):
    • name of the organization, the supervisor’s name, email, and phone
    • specific start and end dates
    • the number of work hours each week
    • a summary of the work the student will be doing
    • pay status and amount (unpaid, hourly wage, stipend, other compensation, etc.)
    • any requirements that must be completed prior to starting the internship
      (background check, drug screen, specific training, etc.)
  • Specify parameters (within the framework of the Experience Planning Form) for the reflective journals, paper, presentation, grading, and any revisions you want the student to make to the proposal. (The proposal serves as the syllabus for the internship course, and a copy is provided to the site supervisor for documentation purposes.)
  • When the final revisions have been made on the planning form, and the you (the Faculty Sponsor) give the green light, students will then go to Handshake, Request an Experience, enter the information requested and attach their Planning Form to their request. Important: The student should not begin the Experience Request in Handshake until they have all the necessary information and your approval to move forward.
  • Once submitted online, the Office of Internships will review it in Handshake, and if no adjustments are necessary, the Experience Request will be automatically routed by email to each of the approvers in sequence, with a link for online approval. Approvers will be able to review the request and Planning Form attachment, and approve or decline it (see Best Practices & Resources > Resources for Internship Experience Approvals at the bottom of this page for a flowchart/timeline, along with step-by-step instructions and a brief video demonstration to help you know what to expect).
  • Oversee the student’s progress during the internship.
    • Read and respond to journal entries weekly. Journal prompts are encouraged (see resources below).
    • Contact the site supervisor by email or phone after the student has been working for 2-3 weeks, to introduce yourself, make a connection, and ascertain how things are going, making the Internship Office aware of any serious concerns.
  • Upon completion of the internship experience, read the student’s paper, schedule and attend the student’s presentation during the fall term.
  • Assess learning and assign a grade based on journals, paper, presentation, and supervisor evaluation, as specified in the Internship Proposal. Students will have an “N” (in progress) on their record at the end of the summer, and you will have until mid-term to change submit a grade. That grade can be an “I” (incomplete) if more time is needed, and the “I” should be changed by Tuesday of Thanksgiving week.

Stipends of $300 per intern from the Office of Academic Affairs (contingent on Pell monies) will be disbursed after fall mid-term to faculty sponsoring 395/495 internships who are not receiving other compensation for sponsoring interns or programs. To be eligible for the stipends, faculty sponsors are expected to follow the outlined best practices.

If a faculty member is unable to fulfill his/her commitment as an intern’s faculty sponsor for some unexpected reason, the sponsor and/or the Department Chair should ask another faculty member to fulfill the commitment.