Internship & Co-Op Supervisors

Forms and Documentation

Students at the University of Evansville are required to submit certain forms and maintain accurate Experiential Education documentation in Handshake for internships and cooperative education if taken for college credit. It is the student's responsibility to complete these forms/documentation and give to you for any documentation that is necessary from you as an employer.

Internship and Co-op evaluations for the students are to be completed in Handshake. The student will provide you with direction and information about the process. If you would like to speak with Center for Career Development about this process, please contact our office.

How You Can Work Best with a Student Intern

There are four keys to successfully managing an intern. They are: communication, rewards, motivation, and completion/conclusion.

Clear communication is the key to effective supervision in every internship. The following guidelines suggest how to establish a good communication network during the internship experience

  • Clarify intern's role through the formal learning agreement (clarify job responsibilities, set goals, set regular work hours, etc.).
  • Schedule regular meetings with the intern to discuss new and past assignments, to answer any questions, and discuss dynamics of the organization.
  • Give the intern opportunity to attend meetings (staff, committee, corporate) whenever possible.
  • Explain to the intern how decisions are made. What are the options? How did the supervisor draw certain conclusions? Explain the importance of company culture in decision making process.
  • Discuss career opportunities in the field, and career paths of college graduates; Supervisor may share their own story.
  • Structure and supervise the intern more highly in the beginning, and ease off when the time seems appropriate.
  • Remember, interns need to receive regular descriptive feedback on their progress. Are they meeting expectations? Let them know.
  • If problems do occur, speak directly to the intern. If the supervisor is unsure how to deal with a particular situation, a phone call to Center for Career Development, who can offer support and advice, is recommended.

No rules exist in this area. Supervisors are encouraged to use creativity in rewarding interns for work well done. Some suggestions include:

  • Note the intern's name on any finished project to give them credit and recognition.
  • Give the intern opportunities to attend professional seminars, workshops provided within or by the organization.
  • Give the intern the opportunity to interview or observe in other departments/areas of the organization.
  • Give them the opportunity to meet, administration, board members, VIP's or corporate staff.
  • Suggest how the intern could transfer their skills to other positions for which they may apply.
  • Write about them in the company newsletter; or better yet, have them write about themselves.
  • Add the intern's name to the phone directory.
  • Post the intern's picture on the bulletin board.
  • Recognize them for doing things right.
  • Give them a title other than 'intern', 'volunteer', or 'student.'
  • Provide student with contact people known to you for help in future job hunting.
  • Offer a salary or stipend to pay for college credit or expenses.
  • Offer a paid staff position in your agency or company following the internship.

The issues of motivation are subtle and have more to do with process and modeling than with a set formula:

  • Make interns feel like a member of the team.
  • Challenge the intern and show respect for intern's talents and abilities.
  • Give the intern a designated work area.
  • Give the intern a sense of planning and involvement by listening their ideas.
  • Select/organize assignments so that progress is observable for interns (having the feeling of making a difference is a big motivator!).
  • Train the intern for assignments.
  • Give constructive, descriptive criticism; please remember the old management axiom- "praise in public, criticize in private".
  • Help interns to understand their jobs in relation to other jobs; helping them grasp the big picture of how their piece or task fits the company mission is beneficial.

Agencies, schools, and interns must plan for an ending date from the beginning. It is important to allow for realistic guidelines for completing projects and for transferring them to other personnel. This prevents incomplete work, abandoned clients, and helps to keep a time line. A good way to end the internship is by holding some form of celebration. This is a comfortable means of recognizing the completion of the internship experience. This way, if the student returns for a visit, volunteer, or future employment, this distinguishes an internship experience form the new experience, thus keeping rules, responsibilities, and boundaries clear.

Adapted from: The Internship as Partnership: A Handbook for Campus-based Coordinators & Advisors. National Society for Experiential Education.

Internships & Cooperative Education for Employers