Service learning and internship programs are valuable activities that help students integrate their academic study with practical and guided experiences. Service learning and internships encourage the testing of theory with useful applications to cultivate students' critical thinking and professional development.
If you are interested in developing an off campus service learning project or an internship, the Office of Service Learning can help quide you through the policies and procedures necessary to ensure that students and partnering organizations get the most out of these opportunities. Listed below are the steps needed to develop a service learning or internship project. Whether you have contacted the organization that you believe would have a service learning or internship opportunity available, or whether an organization has contacted you regarding internships, the steps are the same.
1. Site Selection & Memorandum of Understanding Development
Determine whether the site offers appropriate learning opportunities for our students. If it does, a brief written assessment will need to be completed that includes the following information:
- The potential of the site to provide an educationally appropriate experience.
- Any risks the students may encounter during their off-campus experience. For example, at some sites students may be working with clients that abuse drugs or alcohol, or sites may be in high crime areas, etc. Contact the Office of Service Learning if you have questions about risk with a student experience.
- Identify a site supervisor for the students.
- How does this potential internship tie in with the student's academic study?
- What skills or selection requirements are necessary for the student(s) to participate?
- Include a brief position description that will detail the volunteering or work of the student.
- Confirm that the Office of Service Learning has an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the site or needs to develop an MOU.
The following sheet can assist you in developing your Service Learning or Internship experience for your students: Faculty Checklist
2. Site Suitability
Complete a site visit of the agency or organization at which the student will undertake their service learning or internship experience. The purpose of this visit is to determine the following:
- the organization can provide an academically appropriate experience
- determine the potential risks the students may encounter
- communicate with the Site Supervisor at the organization
(Please note that the site visit may be bypassed if the Academic Department has documented sufficient knowledge of the internship site. This may be accomplished by an online review, published materials, direct contact with the site, or a history of approved site visits.)
3. Student Forms Once the MOU is completed, the students will need to sign the Student Service Learning Agreement and Liability Waiver or the Student Internship Agreement and Liability Waiver. The students can access these forms and complete them online at http://servicelearning.csustan.edu/ or the students can print these forms and complete a hard copy that will need to be turned into the Office of Service Learning. The Learning Agreement asks for student's contact information and emergency contact information. It also lists the student participation guidelines at the site. If either of these forms is not completed online, the appropriate form must be forwarded to the Office of Service Learning when completed, along with the signed Liability Waiver.
Please note the Office of Service Learning is here to help you with this development process and we are happy to help you complete these forms or come into your classroom to review the form with students. Below we have listed the forms outlining the University policy for service learning and internship experiences.