Internships for credit at American University

Notes for students asking me to supervise

This post is for American University students who are interested in me serving as faculty supervisor for an internship-for-credit.

Like many universities, AU allows students in some cases to receive academic credits for undertaking internships with an external organization (company or nonprofit). This can be in addition to being paid for the internship. To receive credits, there must be an AU faculty supervisor, and an agreement between the student and the faculty member about what the student expects to learn during the internship, and how that will be assessed and graded.

In general I'm not a very bureaucratic person, and would like to support our students doing anything that advances their intellectual interests and/or academic careers. But there are some requirements for giving academic credit for internships, detailed at this link.

Please check that link for the full details. The most important parts for someone asking me to be faculty supervisor are:

  1. Up to 1 credit-hour can be given for every 5 hours/week of internship, averaged over the semester. So for example a 20 hour/week internship could count for up to 4 credits.
  2. At least 85% of the internship must be devoted to "academic" rather than administrative work. The intent of this requirement is that we don't give course credit if an internship is primarily something like staffing a front desk in a building, setting up chairs for an event, sorting mail, etc. It should be doing something educational in the same field of study as the department that is giving the academic credits.
  3. Is there a supervisor at the internship who would be willing to participate in assigning a grade? If yes, the supervisor would need to agree to send me: a grade on the A+ to F scale, and a short (a paragraph is fine) summary of what work the internship involved, and how strong they thought the student's performance in the role was. The student and I would also need to agree ahead of time on what percentage of the final grade the workplace supervisor's assessment should account for, up to a maximum of 50%.
  4. The academic supervisor (me) needs to assign a grade for the academic side, which counts for the remaining percentage of the overall grade. For this portion, we need to agree ahead of time on one or more learning outcomes, and how they should be assessed. The assessment could be simply showing me things that were done in the internship anyway (e.g. a project), or it could be a write-up summarizing them, or something else depending on the topic of the internship. See this page from AU's Center for Teaching, Research & Learning for an overview of how to phrase learning outcomes, and how to choose assessments for them.

    An example: "By the end of this internship, the student will be able to implement basic iOS apps using the Swift programming language" is a possible learning outcome, and "The student will give a short presentation/demo of the app produced in the internship, explaining their contribution to it" is a possible means of assessment.

Once we've agreed on this, you'll need to fill out the Internship Registration Form [PDF].