Experiential Learning: Internship/Practicum/Fieldwork/Student Teaching
Many departments offer opportunities for experiential learning, which can serve to enhance a student’s overall academic program. The goals of experiential learning can be fulfilled by courses such as internships, practicum, and fieldwork. These credit courses enable students to work in an area related to their academic or career interests and use their knowledge and skills in an actual work experience. Since students will be expected to blend theoretical and practical approaches in experiential courses, these courses may include traditional academic assignments such as readings or research to complement the practical work experience.
- Departments establish clearly defined minimal requirements for participation in credit-bearing internships.
- Credit-bearing experiences require registration and tuition payment in the semester in which the internship is done.
- The mechanism for evaluation of the student’s performance will be set by the department. This could include: a journal of work accomplished and a log of meetings with the professor and work supervisor; the work supervisor’s evaluation; and a post-experience report describing the relationship to courses taken, new skills acquired, and problems encountered.
- Registration for an off-campus experiential learning, including internships, practicum, and field work, requires departmental permission. The process for enrolling in student teaching follow the policies set up in the Student Teaching Handbook published by the School of Education.
- A student may register for only one experience each semester. A student cannot receive credit in two programs for the same internship experience (i.e., a single internship can only fulfill the requirements of one internship course).
- Depending on departmental policy, a student may be limited in the number of experiential credits they may fulfill program requirements. All internship and other experiential courses in a given department, whether or not they fulfill major/minor requirements will be used in computation of the major or minor GPA if the students in the course receive a letter grade. S/U courses do not count in the GPA.
Course-Related Off-Campus Experiences and Liability
All procedures described herein apply to students engaged in internship, fieldwork, practicum, clinical, student teaching, and all other forms of classroom-based off-campus experiences, whether in schools, hospitals, clinics, community programs and agencies, or corporate settings. More detailed information concerning the expectations of students is outlined in the appropriate course syllabus.
Students are expected to exhibit appropriate professional dispositions in their college classes, class-related off-campus experiences, and in their interactions with others. Dispositions are identified as the values, beliefs, and professional ethics of the student’s discipline that influence behaviors toward others and affect student learning, motivation, and development. Dispositions are guided by the beliefs and attitudes related to the Fisher Creed and the values of goodness, discipline, and knowledge. Professionalism involves, among other things, personal responsibility, reliability, respect for others, effective interpersonal relationships, valuing diversity, and ethical behavior including honesty and integrity.
Students are expected to demonstrate professional behaviors, both on and off campus. Students who exhibit inappropriate behavior in course-related off-campus experiences may be directed to counseling with the program director or recommended for removal from the experience.
Registration Guidelines for Internship, Practicum, Fieldwork
The student should be aware of the minimal requirements for participation in off-campus experiences in the department. These may include class and/or major restrictions, course prerequisites, minimal GPA requirements, and instructor approval.
The student and coordinator verify that the student meets the minimal course requirements.
The student and coordinator will agree on the number of credits for the experience if the credits are variable. Note: there should be a reasonable expectation that required hours for the number of credits can be completed during the semester barring unforeseen circumstances.
Both the student and coordinator should be aware of the extended registration deadlines for experiences of fewer than 3 credits. Note: if the experience is begun late in the term, the student may not be allowed to earn credits beyond that which could be completed in the time remaining in the term.
Students must obtain prior approval from the designated department or program coordinator before registering for any course-related off-campus experience. This approval pertains to both the number of credit hours for the experience and actual site. To be placed in a course-related off-campus experience, a student must be in good academic standing.
Time Frame for Completion
Students are expected to complete their required hours, as outlined in the syllabus, during the semester in which they are registered. The dates published by the Registrar’s Office are the official dates of the semester. The only exception applies when a student requests and receives an “Incomplete” grade in the course from the instructor. In this situation, the student must develop a plan for completion with the faculty instructor within the six-week deadline for removal of “I” grades. The insurance coverage under the College’s liability policy would extend to those on-site activities required to complete the course.
Note: If a student wishes to continue at the placement site after the completion of the course, he or she will have to be hired in some capacity by the site or register as a volunteer. He or she will not be covered by the College’s liability insurance, will not receive supervision from the faculty, and cannot use the additional hours to meet the requirements of subsequent courses.
Students registered in course-based off-campus experiences are covered by the College’s general liability insurance. In addition, students in professional programs will be covered by the College’s professional liability policies.