GVSU may make arrangements to integrate academic study with practical experience with an external entity outside the University for course credit. These may be paid or unpaid positions, and often provide greater exposure to occupational experience than field studies. Examples of situations where the University may place a student in an off-campus environment include:
- Internships - A temporary position, paid or unpaid, within an organization that emphasizes emphasis on on-the-job training rather than merely employment. For more help with internship placements contact Career Services.
- Practice Placement - Similar to an internship, but more direct coordination between the University and placement site. Examples include student teaching, clinical experience.
- Co-operative Education - A program that typically alternates between periods of full-time study and full-time employment in a related field. Students are usually paid for their work and gain practical experience in their major. Often occur in engineering and technical fields.
- Service Learning - Often community-service based projects accompanied by instruction or reflection to enhance the learning experience. May include work inside or outside the campus community in areas such as education, public safety, charitable work or the environment. This does not include field experiences or volunteer activity where there is no requirement for a formal arrangement between the University and the outside organization. For more information contact the Community Service Learning Center.
External placement risks and risk management considerations are similar to those associated with any field activity
In addition, when the University assigns a student under the direction and control of another entity, a formal placement agreement is required. With assistance from the University Counsel Office, a student placement agreement will outline the roles and responsibilities of GVSU, the student, and the external entity, as well as describe liability protections for all entities involved. In situations where the student makes arrangements for his/her own internship or where existing employment will count for credit, the required formal arrangements may be reduced.
Issues to consider when discussing student placement with an outside entity include:
- Pre-employment qualifications - are there certain minimum skills or other preconditions that student must have to be able to work with the entity? This may include background checks, medical screenings or inoculations.
- Workers Compensation - If a student is injured on the job, the agreement should identify who is responsible for those costs. Typically if a student has paid position within an organization, the organization should provide workers compensation insurance.
- Liability Protection - It may be necessary to identify who is responsible if the host organization sustains damages as a result of the students actions.
- Orientation - Provisions in the agreement should outline training and orientation that the student will be provided with prior to beginning work.
- Transportation - Typically the student will be responsible for his or her own transportation to the host site and typically should not be reimbursed for travel costs.
- Supervision - Will there be appropriate supervision to ensure the student is working safely and according to the standards of the host organization?
Agreements between the University and the host organization must be reviewed by the University Counsel and can only be signed by an authorized official.