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PLS and IR INTERNSHIPS FAQ
HOW DO STUDENTS FIND AN INTERNSHIP?
It is recommended that students start their search the summer or semester before they plan to intern. Students are strongly advised to meet with the Internship Director to discuss placement opportunities. Prior to the meeting, students should also consult these campus resources:
- Handshake (https://www.gvsu.edu/careers/handshake-18.htm), which provides current internship and job opportunities.
- Experience Matters (http://www.gvsu.edu/experiencematters/), which includes a listing of previous internship experiences and contact information for potential employers.
- GV in DC (http://www.gvsu.edu/gvdc), which includes special information about interning with The Washington Center or other opportunities in Washington, D.C.
- PLS/IR Majors and Minors Blackboard site, available to declared majors/minors.
Please note: The Internship Directors will periodically send out e-mails advertising internship opportunities; these opportunities are also posted on the PLS and IR Blackboard sites. The Internship Director is available to advise prospective interns and help them find a suitable organization, but students themselves are ultimately responsible for identifying and contacting a sponsoring organization.
HOW DO STUDENTS REGISTER FOR AN INTERNSHIP?
(1): Login and complete the Online Internship Agreement Form via the GVSU Internship Management System: http://www.gvsu.edu/careers/ims-login.htm
(2): Here’s what happens to the form after it has been submitted:
- It will be sent to the Faculty Internship Director identified on the form to ensure this is an approved internship site.
- After the Faculty Director provides initial approval, the completed form will automatically be emailed to the internship Site Supervisor for verification.
- After the Site Supervisor verifies the internship, the Faculty Internship Director will provide final approval.
- The Internship Director will issue a permit override that allows the student to register for PLS or IR 490.
- The student registers for the class in Banner.
HOW MANY CREDITS CAN I EARN FOR AN INTERNSHIP?
GVSU awards academic credit in proportion to the hours of work a student-intern completes. For each credit, the student is expected to work fifty hours. Internship hours can be applied to the majors as elective credits. No student can earn more than six hours as PLS 490 or IR 490.
Internship Hours Worked
GVSU Credits Earned
WHAT IF MY INTERNSHIP IS THROUGH THE WASHINGTON CENTER (TWC)?
Students who are interning through the GVSU partnership with TWC should meet with one of the GVSU Internship Directors prior to submitting their applications. TWC representatives also regularly hold information sessions for GVSU. Students who use the GVSU/TWC partnership are not required to submit a portfolio to GVSU or complete the other PLS 490 or IR 490 requirements. Rather, TWC students complete the requirements of their internship supervisor at TWC. The grades are generated by TWC and then transferred to GVSU. GVSU students who study at TWC must still submit an entry at the “Experience Matters” website. https://www.gvsu.edu/experiencematters/. They may also be called upon to discuss their experiences at departmental events.
WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE INTERNSHIP PROVIDER?
The internship provider is expected to provide the intern with meaningful tasks and to regularly supervise the intern as they undertake those tasks. Internship providers should specify a supervisor for the intern. In addition, the internship supervisor should be in regular, direct contact with the intern, providing direction and feedback. The supervisor also much complete a final evaluation of the intern.
Before the student accepts an internship with the sponsoring organization, the student and supervisor fill out and sign the relevant portions of the Online Internship Agreement Form (see link above), which includes space for a brief written description of the expected tasks.
WHAT ARE THE EXPECTATIONS OF INTERNS?
The intern is to perform like any regular employee of the office, fulfilling office expectations of neatness, punctuality, productivity, and openness to supervision. Although the primary job responsibility is to work on projects assigned to them, the intern may also be expected to do routine tasks and clerical work. The intern should carefully observe, analyze, and reflect upon the organization’s operation and context.
CAN I DO AN INTERNSHIP ONLINE?
In this era of social distancing and Covid-19, some internships have moved to an online format. This is acceptable, so long as all of the above requirements are met, including the compilation of hours for credits. Please coordinate the logistics with your site supervisor and the PLS or IR internship director.
CAN I BE PAID FOR MY INTERNSHIP?
Yes, internships can be paid or unpaid. Students who choose to earn academic credit for an internship must register and pay tuition for that course. Students can also undertake internships without earning academic credit.
WHAT IF MY INTERNSHIP SCHEDULE DOESN’T ALIGN WITH A GVSU SEMESTER?
Internships may only be credited in the semester that they are performed. Given that campaigns and other programs don’t always match the semester calendar, we can offer some flexibility, but we cannot credit internships predominantly carried out in one semester to a previous or subsequent semester. Parameters of internship semesters are as follows:
- Winter: approximately January 1-April 30
- Spring/Summer: approximately April 30-August 31
- Fall: approximately August 15-December 31
WHAT IF MY INTERNSHIP SUPERVISOR REQUIRES AN NDA?
If your internship supervisor asks you sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), this document will not exempt you submitting a portfolio to earn GVSU credits. Your faculty internship directors are obligated to abide by the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and may not share details of your internship with the general public without your consent.
WHAT IF I HAVE AN ISSUE OR CONCERN?
Please stay in regular communication with your site supervisor and speak with them if you are having difficulties with your internship assignments or scheduling. Make sure your supervisor’s contact information is always current. If you are having problems with your site supervisor, please speak with the PLS or IR internship director.