• Employer Internship Guide

    Introduction to the Internship Program

    The Hamline University internship program is designed to connect students with quality work experiences that deepen their academic, professional and personal development. Hamline interns seek to apply their learning in a workplace setting, test career interests, gain confidence in their abilities and obtain resume-building experience. At the same time, Hamline aims to connect local employers with student interns who have a strong work ethic, creativity, and a desire to learn and make a difference at an organization.

    Why Host Interns?

    • Interns bring energy and fresh perspectives to your organization. They can contribute new ideas and skills.
    • Internships can serve as pre-recruiting tools, a chance to see potential employees in action and allow you to develop a strong candidate pool for permanent staffing needs now or in the future.
    • Interns who have been converted into permanent positions have higher retention rates because the internship has served as an extensive opportunity for both the student and the organization to assess long-term “fit”.
    • Internship programs provide opportunities for newer staff members at your organization to gain hiring, supervision and leadership experience.
    • Interns serve as great “word of mouth” marketing – for future interns, employees and for your organization’s brand.

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    Internship Definition and Requirements

    An academic internship 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 internship 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.

    (Definition developed in 2002 by Mike True of Messiah College in collaboration with other internship professionals across the country)

    In order to be eligible for credit at Hamline, internships must meet the following guidelines:

    • The internship must be a minimum of 120 hours during the term a student wishes to register the experience. This equates to approximately 8- 12 hours a week in the fall, spring or summer terms, or 30-40 hours a week in the January term.
    • Internships must provide substantive work experience that allows students to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to the professional world. Some job-shadowing and observation may be built into the experience, but student interns should also be provided with a defined work plan or job description that includes daily responsibilities and projects.
    • The experience should have a defined beginning and end, and have specific outcomes or objectives that the intern is expected to achieve. When seeking credit, students are responsible for filling out the LEAP Learning Agreement (LLA) from the Career Development Center (CDC) at Hamline and having it approved by their internship site supervisor.
    • Interns should be supervised by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of experience.
    • Interns should receive routine feedback and evaluation from their supervisor. The CDC at Hamline provides two evaluations for students and site supervisors to complete throughout the internship: a Midterm and a Final Evaluation.
    • Interns should be provided with resources, equipment, and facilities to support the internship objectives and the student’s learning goals.
    • If students are interested in seeking credit for their internships, they are responsible for registering the internship at Hamline, finding a faculty supervisor, and ensuring that the LEAP Learning Agreement and the two evaluations are completed and turned in on time. This process cannot be completed retroactively.

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    Key Participants and their Roles

    The Student Intern is responsible for securing an internship, finding a faculty supervisor and formally registering the experience, and completing the LEAP Learning Agreement in consultation with the faculty and site supervisors by the due date for the term. Students must also meet the work expectations of the internship employer, complete any academic and reflective work as agreed upon with the faculty supervisor, arrange meeting times to complete the Midterm Evaluation and the Final Evaluation and ensure they are submitted to the CDC in a timely manner.

    The Site Supervisor is a professional staff person at the internship site who has expertise in the intern's work area. The supervisor is responsible for orienting and training the intern as well as guiding and evaluating their work at the internship site. Supervising requires taking time to discuss the intern's work, providing background information and resources, giving coaching and feedback, and providing opportunities for new learning. The site supervisor also provides formal feedback on the intern’s performance through the Midterm Evaluation and the Final Evaluation. The site supervisor may contact the faculty supervisor or the Assistant Program Director of Internships for feedback and assistance if problems arise with the internship experience.

    The Faculty Supervisor is a Hamline professor who oversees the academic components of the internship experience. This means helping students develop learning goals, structuring academic reflection for the internship, and monitoring the student’s growth and learning. Faculty are encouraged to monitor the student’s progress at the internship site by communicating with the site supervisor and reviewing copies of the Midterm and the Final Evaluation forms. The faculty supervisor may also schedule a visit to the internship site to meet with the student and their site supervisor to discuss the internship experience and observe their work. Faculty are expected to provide students with guidance and feedback on navigating the internship experience when needed, and to assign a final grade for the internship at the end of the term.

    The Assistant Program Director of Internships is a staff member in the CDC who coordinates the undergraduate internship program at Hamline and provides resources and assistance to students, faculty and site supervisors. The Assistant Program Director of Internships meets with students to advise them on the internship program requirements and registration guidelines, provides assistance with the internship search, and oversees the administrative aspects of the internship program. The Assistant Program Director of Internships is a good first-point of contact for internship sites who are considering developing an internship program, and serves as an ongoing resource for students, faculty and internship site supervisors throughout the internship process.

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    Designing Your Internship Program

    Establishing clear objectives and structure to your internship program is critical for its success. Your organization will need to have clear procedures and ongoing support to successfully establish, maintain and grow a strong program.

    1. Identify your unique goals for the internship. What is your organization hoping to get out of having an intern, and what do you hope to be imparting to the intern? Ideally, it should be a mutually beneficial relationship. 
    2. Determine what the focus of the internship will be. Will the internship be a project-based experience, aimed at helping you complete a specific project, or will it be a position that contributes to the day-to-day functions of the organization on an ongoing basis?
    3. Where will the intern fit into the organization with regard to the reporting structure or staffing flowchart? And in a literal sense, where will the intern work? Having a designated workspace is important because it helps the intern feel like a part of the organization, and provides them with the tools necessary to complete their work.
    4. Identify the key players – Who is in charge of hiring, supervising and supporting the intern? This may be a collaborative effort between several staff members, or it may be one main person who is working with the intern. In either case, buy-in from everyone in the department or the organization is critical to make the intern feel like a part of the team, and for all parties to get the most out of the experience.
    5. Create a hiring process and timeline. Plan to advertise your internship at least two to three months in advance of when you want the internship to start. Since many interns are interested in getting academic credit for their experience, it is helpful to align your internship with the academic terms: Fall internships typically run from September to mid-December, Spring internships run from January or February to mid-May and Summer internships run from June-mid-August. Posting two to three months in advance of when you would like the intern to start gives you time to collect and review applications, conduct interviews and extend an offer.
    6. Provide a strong start for the intern by giving them a thorough orientation. This should include an overview of the organization’s purpose, structure, organizational chart, and policies (hours, dress code, communication avenues, etc). Introduce the intern to all of the staff and provide a tour of the space.
    7. Determine clear performance criteria and provide consistent feedback throughout the internship. This contributes to the professional growth of the intern and ensures high quality on-the-job performance. Ask your intern if there are specific requirements they must fulfill in order to get credit for their experience, and support them to the extent you are able in fulfilling their learning objectives.
    8. Make time to formally wrap-up the internship. Schedule an “exit interview” to collect feedback on the intern’s experience, and share final thoughts and advice on the intern’s performance and professional development. Provide a letter of reference or discuss potential future opportunities with your organization, if appropriate.

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    About Compensation

    Hamline University considers it a best practice to compensate interns for their work. Doing so allows internship sites to attract a broader, more competitive pool of candidates. It also protects internship sites from liability, and creates a more professional relationship between intern and internship site. However, there are some circumstances in which unpaid, volunteer internships are acceptable under the law. For more information on federal laws regarding the difference between unpaid interns and paid employees, see the following resources and consult with legal counsel and/or professional accountants about these issues.

    Wages are negotiated between the internship site and the intern, and are typically between $12 - $18 per hour. Stipends are an option as well, although you may wish to check with your human resources department to explore any legal issues regarding alternative forms of payment.

    Recruitment Strategies

    The CDC at Hamline can help you develop and advertise your internship program. See the Information for Employers page of the CDC website for information about our free job and internship posting system, Handshake, and other recruitment opportunities.

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    Sample Internship Posting*

    Public and Media Relations Intern  

    The Public and Media Relations Intern for the Office of Strategic Communications will be a member of a dynamic, professional team focused on conceptualizing, pitching, developing and completing projects for Hamline and outside businesses and nonprofit organizations through strategic public relations, social media, video production, media relations, and communications.


    • Craft, pitch, manage, and create PR and media relations plans and/or projects for local businesses and nonprofits, as well as for Hamline University
    • Assist in enterprising media pitch opportunities
    • Write and assist with news releases, media advisories
    • Create written and visual content for Hamline’s digital signage across campus
    • Update the Inside Hamline website with announcements
    • Maintain the university’s online experts guide for news media sources
    • Track and analyze success in media and public relations efforts, clips, content
    • Maintain the “In the News” page on Hamline’s website


    Positions could begin in late spring or early summer and would continue throughout mid August. 10-12 hours/week desired. Compensation starts at $15/hr.


    • Excellent written and verbal communications skills
    • Interest in developing social media content, including blogs, and an emerging understanding of utilizing social media such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites for marketing purposes.
    • Excellent interpersonal skills; ability to work with a diverse clientele
    • Strong organizational skills and demonstrated attention to detail
    • Ability to work as part of a communications team in a dynamic environment
    • Ability to manage simultaneous projects
    • Video shooting and editing skills, while not required, are a plus!
    • Interest in journalism, communications, social media, video production, public relations, computer science/IT, or marketing preferred, but not required.


    Apply online through Handshake. Submit a Resume and Cover Letter by March 1. 

    *Fields required by Handshake may also include but are not limited to: Position name, work location, number of available positions, pay rate, position start and end dates, with additional requirements based on qualification specifications

    To get started in Handshake, visit joinhandshake.com, click "Login" in the upper right hand corner and enter your information into the Employers/Career Centers section. The following process will request information about a contact person for your company and about your company itself. If you have questions, please contact us at 651 523 2302 or visit the Handshake Help Center for more information.

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    Additional Resources

    Minnesota Association for Experiential Learning Resources

    Internship Best Practices