Site Supervisor Information

"An academic internship [and career exploration] is a form of experiential education that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skill development in a professional setting. Students earn academic credit, or there is some other connection to a degree‐granting, educational institution. This work/learning arrangement is overseen by a faculty or staff member of an educational institution and by a designated employee of an organization. The [experience] is usually the length or equivalent of an academic term, may be part‐time or full‐time, paid or unpaid. An integral component of the experience that distinguishes it from other types of work is one or more forms of structured and deliberate reflection contained within learning agendas or objectives."
(formulated by subscribers to the Internship‐Net Listserv – May 2010)

Expectations for a Site Supervisor:

As Site Supervisor, we look to you to create an environment where students are challenged and supported throughout their experience. As Site Supervisor, you serve as a mentor, and your openness and accessibility are extremely important to the success of the internship program.

Use the following suggestions to guide the internship experience:

  • Provide substantive work allowing students to apply classroom knowledge to the professional world. The work should be clearly defined and include daily responsibilities and longer term projects. 
  • Structure can be very important for students new to a professional setting. Develop clear expectations including start and end dates, schedule, and internship objectives.
  • If the student is seeking credit for the internship, provide the student with the needed resources and information to complete the College's requirements. 
  • Offer students orientation and training opportunities to explain your organization's expectations regarding work hours, dress, confidentiality, and use of technology.
  • Supervision should be overseen by a professional with expertise in the field. Due to potential conflict of interest, direct daily supervision should not be completed by a family member or relative. 
  • Be prepared to invest time in interns, particularly early in the internship. Ideally, set a weekly meeting time to "check in" and answer questions.
  • Engage students in pre-professional activities. Although it is a part of any job, limit clerical tasks such as filing, copying and answering phones as much as possible.
  • Assist students with learning about the larger issues of your work, including how their work fits in with the mission statement of your organization.
  • Provide students the opportunity to network with people within your organization to learn more about related career options.
  • Adjust the level of responsibility, as appropriate, to add additional tasks or training to help the intern develop. 
  • Ask students to offer a final presentation or summary report of their experience.


Evaluation: 

Assessing and providing feedback on student performance throughout an internship is a crucial component of an effective internship experience. Feedback gives the student opportunity to more effectively develop personal and professional skills and helps to facilitate a better overall experience. It is recommended that feedback be corrective as needed but also focused on the student's strengths tying both to the potential impact on furture experiences. 

At the end of the Academic Internship experience, we ask that Site Supervisors fill out an evaluation of the intern's work.

Site Supervisor Evaluation form for Academic Internship & Career Exploration

This evaluation should be shared with the student as a final piece of the internship experience. 


Information regarding compensation:

Internships are valuable experiences for students whether the internship is paid or unpaid. If your organization is not required to offer a wage for an internship, consider offering a stipend or reimbursement for transportation or parking costs. Information on whether a student must be paid under the Federal Labor Standards Act can be found at the following sites:

Department of Labor -- Wage and Hour Division

Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act


Contact Information:

At any point questions or concerns arise during the internship or career exploration period, please contact:

Gustavus Career Development 507.933.7575 career@gustavus.edu 

5/22/17 JV