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[Quick links to: Undergraduate Internship Program Request/Approval Form and Participation Agreement Form]
"Experiental Learning" is a broad concept that allows for a structured student learning experience designed to occur outside the traditional classroom. It requires an academic component, or academic relationship associated with the student's academic discipline. Experiential learning typically falls into one of the following categories:
Experiential learning also requires on-site supervision of or a mentoring/teaching relationship with the student who is participating in the learning experience. Therefore it requires the development of learning objectives for participation, and an evaluation/assessment of the student's performance that is provided by the supervising department or unit to the academic program of the student's home institution or school.
Experiential learning opportunities at Iowa State University (for ISU students and non-ISU students alike) are provided in a number of ways, including:
Iowa State University recognizes that there are additional responsibilities that departments/units must consider when a university sponsored program includes minors (children under the age of 18). A university sponsored program is one that is offered by an ISU department/unit as a means of recruitment, outreach or education specific to the mission or operations, regardless of the funding source for the program; it may be academic, athletic or recreational in nature. Consideration will be given to the age of the participant during the internship application process and additional approval protocols, background checks and parental permission forms will be required. (See http://policy.iastate.edu/policy/youthprograms)
Internships are beneficial to both employers and students. They offer employers access to highly motivated students. Students benefit from internships by gaining hands-on experience and a chance to explore career options.
An internship is a temporary, hands-on learning opportunity that provides meaningful, career-related experience extending a student's education beyond the classroom. At ISU, internships can be paid or unpaid, for credit or not for credit, and for career-related experience at ISU or at an external (non-ISU) employer.
The department/unit offering the internship program is responsible for ensuring that the internship is meaningful and will serve to enhance the student's educational experience and career development.
Internships are not:
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued the following guidelines for a "Trainee/Learner" to assist in the classification of an intern:
*If the internship is more a training/learning experience, than a job, it is typically acceptable if the employer derives some advantage from the student's service. However, the internship must be predominantly for the benefit of the student and not the employer.
This website serves as a central resource for ISU departments on internships for ISU academic programs, primarily for ISU students (such internships are managed individually by each College and the respective Career Services Office). In addition, the goal of this site is to provide new guidance and procedures for colleges/departments/units to manage internships offered to non-ISU students - to address the important compliance and risk management issues for this group of interns.
For ISU enrolled-students: Internships required as part of the ISU student's major (and generally for credit) are managed by Career Services or other designated units within the respective Colleges -- contact your College or Departmental Career Services Office. (NOTE: the procedures below under "The Department's Responsibilities" are not applicable.)
For non-ISU students: The ISU department/unit has an obligation to report back to the student's home academic institution or school regarding the performance of the student working at ISU -- to allow the home institution or school to award the student academic or service credits or indicate in their records that the student completed the experiential learning activity at ISU. Additionally, the risk of audit for "misclassification of worker" is a concern for the institution as explained below, and the department/unit must provide a reasonable level of oversight for liability and safety issues for non-ISU students while they are in ISU facilities and working with ISU faculty/staff.
Non-paid internships must meet the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) guidelines for classification as a Trainee/Learner and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidelines regarding minimum wage and overtime (OT). If an internship meets the six criteria listed above, the position can be categorized as a Trainee/Learner position and does not need to follow minimum wage and OT regulations.
Paid internships (for career-related experience at ISU) are permitted in one of two categories:
For a career-related experience at an external (non-ISU employer) site, payment for the internship should be made directly by the external entity, not ISU.
If the internship does not meet the DOL classification criteria for a Trainee/Learner, an employment relationship exists and you must use the hourly wage employment process and pay the employee at least minimum wage.
(This section applies to the development of a program for career-related experience at ISU for non-ISU students)
Developing a successful internship program requires planning and organization so that neither the department nor intern is disappointed with the experience. Following are some basic questions that should be answered if you are contemplating a program:
Your primary responsibility as the supervisor of an intern is to ensure that the internship you offer is meaningful and will serve to enhance the student's educational experience and career development. An internship should NOT be viewed as a form of "cheap labor." The ISU department/unit must:
During the academic year when students are attending classes, they usually work 10-20 hours each week. During the summer, or if students are committed to a full-time Co-op position, they usually work full-time. The U.S. Department of State requires a minimum of 32 hours per week for international student interns.
Students and employers can benefit greatly from well formulated, paid internship programs as students complete their degree requirements and prepare for their career field. Compensation can vary depending on the nature and demand of the career field, academic requirements and the job-related tasks involved. Career Services staff can provide guidance to employers on competitive wages and assist with referral to appropriate academic units.
There are two categories of paid interns:
Departments may post internship, cooperative education program, and REU opportunities at the Undergraduate Research website, http://www.undergradresearch.iastate.edu/ by contacting the Honors Program Office.
Departments may also post internship opportunities on ISU CMS (Iowa State University Career Services Management System) which serves employers recruiting students in the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, and Liberal Arts and Sciences. (See https://ecms.eng.iastate.edu/employers/)
Cooperative Education positions are paid positions that require students to work either full-time and return to school the following semester, or part-time while attending classes. Some organizations provide summer Co-ops. Many organizations recruit sophomores or juniors for Co-ops. Students participating in these programs are sometimes offered full-time jobs before or immediately after graduation.
Undergraduate research and creative expression is defined as student engagement in scholarship (e.g., research or creative project), which is supervised by faculty or appropriate academic professionals and which leads to systematic discovery, application of knowledge, or product of creative expression. This work may support other professional research, or may itself be made public and subject to scholarly response.
Getting involved in research provides students a valuable opportunity to learn more about their field of study and make a difference in today's world.
For researchers with National Science Foundation (NSF) grant funding, adding an REU supplemental grant is a great way to obtain funding to support the inclusion of undergraduate students in your research project.
REU opportunities are posted on the Undergraduate Research website.
Departments/Units offering REU programs should follow the same procedures as for Internship Programs: Both the "Undergraduate Internship Program Request/Approval Form" and the Participation Agreement Form is required, and stipend payments are submitted via a voucher to the Controller's Office.