University of Vermont



Guidelines for Employers Working with UVM Students (Experiential Education)

These guidelines apply to off-campus employers working with UVM students in the capacity of: the federal work-study program, service-learning internships, career internships, academic department internships, cooperative education (co-ops).

What is experiential education? The term we use to describe opportunities which help students connect college and career is “experiential education” and may include any of our programs. Gaining experience is important for all majors, and UVM students are strongly encouraged to incorporate work-study, career internships, service-learning internships, cooperative education, or an internship sponsored by their academic unit into their UVM career. Our goal is to develop programs that provide meaningful experience while maintaining the high standards of academic quality associated with the University of Vermont.

Which type of experiential learning is right for your organization?

Career interns

Purpose: Career internships are normally filled by students who are either beginning to define their career goals and want to explore a field of interest, or whose field of interest dictates this option. For some majors, internship experience is built into the curriculum and students will receive academic credit for the experience.

Time commitment: Students spend less than ten hours per week for one semester with the employer.

Eligibility: All students are welcome and encouraged to do a career internship at any time during their UVM careers. There are no GPA or class year restrictions

Academic credit/payment: Career internships do not automatically offer academic credit and may or may not be paid. Students will work through their academic department if they wish to receive credit. Sometimes, an internship will offer a small stipend. Stipend amounts are determined and paid by the employer. If the employer is a non-profit organization, a student can earn federal work-study monies.

Supervision: Students are often looking for an overview of your particular field, and are interested in learning the basics, in order to plan more directed experiences later. The employer is expected to create a written Work Plan with the student.

Hiring a work-study student: Contact Career.Services@uvm.edu

Service-learning interns

Purpose: The service-learning internship program is a credit-bearing internship program that places students in primarily non-profit organizations, and encourages them to reflect upon the relationship between what they have been learning in the classroom and what they are learning at their internship site.

Eligibility: Students must be juniors or seniors to enroll in the SLI, and must have the permission of the SLI instructor. An application is required.

Academic credit and time commitment: Students involved in the SLI are earning academic credit through Career Center. Students may earn from 1 to 12 credits per semester, and the number of hours of required work is directly related to the number of credits they choose to earn. The following requirements are based on a 14 week semester:

  • 1-3 credits, 140 hours total, 10 hours/week
  • 6 credits , 280 hours total, 20 hours/week
  • 9 credits, 420 hours total, 30 hours/week
  • 12 credits, 560 hours total, 40 hours/week

Students participate in an independent Field Studies curriculum. Syllabi will be furnished to employers upon request. The SLI grants grades in relationship to internships, and does not permit pass/no pass options.

Supervision: Service-Learning interns are juniors or seniors who have a career direction in mind and are interested in developing and honing skills. SL interns also have a stated interest in the not-for-profit world and employers should supervise and assign work accordingly. The employer is expected to create and follow a work plan with the student, outlining specific responsibilities of the student and the employer.

Career Center will send acknowledgment of the internship placement at the beginning and end of each academic semester, and the employer is expected to complete a mid-term and a final evaluation of the student. The employer is not responsible for the evaluation of a student's academic component, and will not be asked to assign a grade.

Hiring a service-learning intern: Contact Career.Services@uvm.edu

Cooperative education interns

Purpose: For an employer, cooperative education provides an excellent source of preprofessional staffing for projects or workload increases. Cooperative education is an excellent method of early identification of future employees. Co-op assignments are always paid.

In order to maximize flexibility and productivity, your organization may decide on one of three co-op options:

  • Parallel: A student combines part-time work and part-time study
  • Alternating: A student spends one semester of full- time work followed by one of full-time study
  • Year-long: A student spends two semesters in full- time work

Hiring a co-op intern: Contact Career.Services@uvm.edu

Academic interns

Purpose: In all cases, when earning academic credit through a major or minor department, the internship a student chooses must have a direct relationship to the course of study at hand. For example, an English major might be appropriately placed at a publishing company, but not so at an investment firm.

Eligibility: Eligibility to earn academic credit through a specific department is determined by the department, and often only to juniors and seniors majors/minors. Career Center maintains a list of requirements for all academic departments.

Academic credit: Academic credit is arranged as a result of a one-on-one relationship between a faculty sponsor and a student in a given academic department.

Supervision:: Academic department interns tend to be juniors or seniors who have a career direction in mind and are interested in developing and honing skills. Employers should feel comfortable supervising and assigning work accordingly. The employer is expected to create and follow a work plan with the student, outlining specific responsibilities of the student and the employer.

Hiring an academic intern: Contact Career@uvm.edu

As an employer sponsor, your key responsibility is to provide meaningful work to a student

Depending on the type of experiential education assignment you develop, your supervision will include: professional leadership, daily supervision, and project coordination.

Many students have had past employment experience and will have developed the transferable skills of teamwork and communication required to succeed in your organization. As a mentor, your task is to assist the student in developing those skills further, while creating a link from his or her classroom knowledge to real world applications.

Working with the student and the UVM program coordinator, the employer sponsor identifies the student project and defines the responsibilities of the student during the placement. These responsibilities are listed on the learning contract along with a description of the supervision structure and any training to be provided by the organization.

It is the employer's responsibility to:

  • Develop a challenging, meaningful opportunity that will both fill a real need for the organization and provide an educational experience for the student.
  • Provide supervision and guidance for the student so they may put their knowledge and skills to work - developing skills, refining techniques and learning new processes.
  • Monitor the progress of the student throughout the placement to ensure that the student's learning objectives and contract requirements are being met.
  • Evaluate the student and provide positive suggestions for future professional growth.

Work plans and learning contracts

Each intern must complete a work plan and learning contract, clearly outlining the responsibilities of the student and the employer prior to beginning an internship. The purpose of these contracts is to ensure that all parties clearly understand their commitments and the expectations of the internship. It is essential that the contracts be developed before the internship begins.

Academic support

In cases where a student is earning academic credit in relationship to an internship placement, he or she will have an assigned faculty advisor from a specific department. This advisor is expected to assign academic work, monitor the student's progress, communicate with employers when necessary, and assign the student a grade. Students may earn academic credit through the service-learning Internship program and through academic cepartment internships. A description of these programs is included on the following pages.

Last modified June 23 2014 02:55 PM