Faculty Internship Resources: Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions.


What is the definition of an internship?

An internship is generally considered a formal, for-credit arrangement designed to provide opportunities for students to study and experience professional career interests outside the university but under the supervision of California University of PA. 

For reporting purposes, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s (PASSHE) definition for internships is as follows, “Formal arrangements designed to provide opportunities for students to study and experience professional career interests outside the university but under supervision by the appropriate academic department or program.  All internships must have faculty and departmental approval.  Includes student teaching assignments.  Includes all credit internship experiences whose primary intent is to provide an out of classroom experience and is supervised by a faculty member.  These include:  Credit Student Teaching Assignment, Credit Practicum, Credit Clinical Field Experience, and Other Credit Internship/Field Experience.  Excludes service learning.”

What is the role of the faculty supervisor prior to registration?

The faculty supervisor meets with the student to discuss the student’s eligibility for an internship and how the internship fits into the student’s academic plan.  The faculty supervisor discusses the student’s time commitment, academic requirements, the academic project to be completed and due dates.  A learning contract may be required at the discretion of the faculty advisor and department.  The faculty supervisor discusses possible sites and leads on internship opportunities.

Once the student has secured an internship placement, the faculty supervisor initiates contact with the site supervisor to define the student’s duties and responsibilities and to discuss expectations of performance during the internship.  The faculty supervisor sends a copy of relevant documents. (Example:  learning contract, learning objectives, evaluation forms, etc.)

What is the role of the faculty supervisor in the registration process?

The faculty supervisor ensures that the student’s application form has a detailed description of the internship placement and that the student agreement has been signed.  The faculty member confirms with the Internship Center that an Employer Site Agreement is in place before a student begins an internship.

**Each internship must be approved by the faculty supervisor, department chair, site supervisor, and Dean.

What is the faculty member’s role in supervision?

In addition to ongoing contacts with the intern, the faculty supervisor is required to make at least three site contacts (via phone, e-mail, or in person) per student per internship.  When at all possible, the faculty supervisor should do a pre-visit when establishing a relationship with a new employer.  Site contacts are documented on the student’s placement record on the Internship Center Internlink  System by going to https://www.myinterfase.com/cup/faculty.  (Training will be provided to all Faculty Internship Supervisors). The faculty supervisor assigns a final grade based on the student’s academic projects, and faculty and site supervisor evaluations.

How many hours per semester does an internship have to be to qualify for credit?

According to the PA State System of Higher Education’s Internship Agreement, 40 hours of site contact equals one credit.  However, in some programs, this varies because of accreditation standards.  Please check with your department.

What is the internship agreement?

The Internship Agreement is a legal document defining the roles and responsibilities of the employer and university.

Who can sign internship agreements or other affiliation contracts on behalf of the university?

Only the President of the University or any other party specifically designated by the President may sign an agreement.  No person should sign an agreement on behalf of the University unless he/she is specifically delegated to do so. A person without delegation who signs an agreement will be acting outside the scope of his or her employment and can be held personally liable for obligations created by the inappropriate signing of the agreement.  California University’s attorney recommends that internship agreements be signed by the Provost.

What is the student agreement?

The student agreement is a PASSHE agreement between the Student and University as to placement expectations.   It is included as part of the student application.

Can we place a student while waiting for the internship agreement to be returned?

No student should be placed without a fully executed agreement.

Does official enrollment or the start and end dates of an internship impact liability?

In terms of liability, official enrollment and start/end dates of the internship have no bearing on liability issues.  It is, however, California University of PA’s policy that students must be enrolled prior to starting an internship.

How many credits can a student receive for an internship?

The number of credits ranges between 3 and 12 credits.

Who supervises internships?

Pursuant to a recommendation from the department chair, the Deans determine the faculty members’ workloads as they apply to internships.  The workload for faculty who teach internships is determined according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

How are registration deadlines determined?

Deadline dates for internships are determined by the Provost’s office.  After the deadline date, internships may be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Deans.  To the extent possible, the university community encourages flexibility in its internship program to meet the needs of the employers and students.

Can students register for more than one internship per semester?

Students may only register for one internship per semester (with valid exceptions).

Who is responsible for determining the academic merit of an internship?

Determination of the academic merit of an internship, academic control throughout the internship and approval of internships remain with the academic departments, Deans and Provost.

Are students graded by letter grades or pass/fail?

The decision regarding pass/fail or grades for internships is determined by individual departments.

Can students get credit for internships after-the-fact?

No, it is not possible to get credits after-the-fact because of academic issues.  For-credit internships must have faculty supervision.

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