An internship is an opportunity for a student to gain practice in a real world setting under the guidance of a knowledgeable, experienced, and successful supervisor. The internship can be established in any setting in which information is gathered, stored, managed, retrieved, and disseminated.
Normally, the internship is completed by the student for the purpose of earning academic credit only. In some cases, however, as long as the requirements for academic credit are established as a portion of the overall internship experience, students may receive payment for their work.
Profit and not-for-profit institutions are encouraged to seek placement of a graduate student from the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University in the position of intern. Students who have skills in various areas of information organization, acquisition, preservation, service, and presentation are available to work on specific projects in order to gain valuable experience in the application of such skills prior to entering a professional career.
A. Time Frames
1. Normally, the internship is for one semester, approximately 16 weeks. The fall semester usually begins the last week of August and runs through the second week in December. The spring semester usually begins the second week in January and runs through the first week in May. The summer term usually begins the second week in May and runs through the second week in August.
2. The internship is a part-time position and should not exceed 20 hours per week. Normally, the internships should be equal to 8 to 12 hours of on-task activity each week of the semester. Actual schedules, however, are determined by mutual agreement between the supervisor and intern.
3. Normally, a SLIS student completes no more than one internship during his or her graduate study at Indiana University. The internship is optional and is not required in order to complete the requirements for the master's degree from SLIS. Students in a dual master's degree program may complete up to six credits. Students in the Specialist degree program may complete up to six credits. Normally, an internship placement should be for three credits during a given semester.
4. Normally, an institution does not employ the same intern for more than one semester. This allows a greater number of students to gain the experience and does not commit the institution to long-range employment obligations. Institutions are encouraged to provide internships on an ongoing basis.
5. Interns should be interviewed by prospective employers at least one month prior to the start of the internship. Placements will be determined no less than one week prior to the beginning of the semester of the experience.
B. Compensation -- a salary for the intern is not required (but encouraged)
1. The paid intern should be compensated for his or her work at least 25% above the minimum wage level. Interns are not expected to receive benefits.
2. Normally, the intern is paid on a bi-weekly basis.
3. Individuals who agree to supervise an intern will not receive any form of compensation for such service from Indiana University or the School of Library and Information Science.
C. Intern Job Descriptions
1. Institutions interested in providing an internship on a regular basis should negotiate a written job description with SLIS (through the office of the Director of Admissions or the Coordinator). This description should include specific tasks to be performed, expected entry level skills, normal scheduled hours, supervisor's name and position, and location of the internship.
2. Job descriptions may be revised to meet various skills of individual interns and demands of the institution, but specific tasks must be agreed on before an intern is placed.
3. Interns are expected to meet reasonable dress code and time schedule requirements as determined by the institution.
4. Institutions may release an intern before the end of a semester's experience, or an intern may terminate the position with an institution before the end of the semester. In either case, due process will include first establishing a conference among the intern, the supervisor, and the coordinator of internships for SLIS. Resolution of problems should come from this meeting, but should the problems continue in the opinion of any of the parties involved, the internship can be terminated.
5. Typical areas of responsibility for interns include (under the guidance of an on-site supervisor):
1. The employing institution is expected to provide a supervisor for the intern. Supervisors normally hold an advanced degree and have several years of successful experience in their professional positions.
2. The supervisor is expected to determine the role of the intern and the specific tasks to be accomplished. The supervisor is expected to furnish a written evaluation of the intern at the end of the semester. The supervisor should contact the SLIS coordinator of internships if problems arise with the intern's placement.
Any internship, salaried or non-salaried, may be completed for academic credit provided the student is engaged in a variety of high-level tasks. In no case should the student complete an internship under the supervision of an individual who is employed at the same institution as the student. For example, if a student is employed as a teacher in an Indiana school corporation, that student is to complete the internship experience in an environment outside that in which he or she is employed. It is considered a conflict of interest for the supervisor to be a co-employee with the intern.
The opportunity to complete an internship for credit is not required for the master's degree. SLIS does not guarantee placement, but each student is encouraged to seek an internship if this experience is potentially valuable in meeting the student's career goals.
School Library Media Center Certification Requirements. A student who seeks certification in the minor for school library services or the major in media services is required to complete an internship experience. These placements are handled by Marilyn Irwin at the SLIS-IUPUI campus. See more details.
Academic credit is granted for those internships that include the opportunity for the student to experience, as nearly as possible, the professional role of the supervisor. The student should take an active part in such activities as program planning, task analysis, program implementation, direct contact information users, attending meetings or training sessions, recommending options, and evaluating decisions. It is expected that the student will work independently or with minimal supervision during a substantial portion of the internship.
The student intern will document the experience in a written journal. As a part of the journal, the intern will select and annotate one relevant document for every 20 hours of on-site work. Documents may include research or trade/professional journal articles, policy manuals, and electronic sources. Supervisors may assign or guide interns in selection of documents.
B. Role of the Student
The student should raise the potential for an internship with his or her academic adviser early in the planning stages for the graduate program of courses leading to the master's degree or certification. Although the internship comes at the final stages of the student's academic program, course work which will best prepare the student for an internship should be determined and completed in the academic program.
A student may explore the potential for internship placement at a specific site and discuss the possibilities with a potential supervisor. There should be no commitments made however until the internship has been negotiated by the coordinator.
During the first few weeks of the semester prior to the internship the student should contact the coordinator to discuss options for the placement. Application should be completed before mid-term of the semester prior to the expected internship experience. In most cases, supervisors will require that the student make an appointment to interview for the internship. Just as the coordinator may deny placement, a supervisor has the right to decline serving as a mentor for a student and the student may decline an offered internship placement. The goal is to secure an environment that will provide a quality internship experience for all parties involved.
C. Role of the Student's Adviser
It is important for the student's adviser to give guidance and recommendation as to when and where the internship should take place. The adviser is expected to help judge the adequacy of the student's academic and skill background for the internship. Normally, at least 18 credits should be completed prior to the internship. Those courses which are core or required for the masters degree should be completed at a grade point average of B or better. Courses which are directly relevant to the internship should also be completed. Thus, it is normal that the student enroll in the internship experience during his or her final semester.
The internship is intended to provide some practical application of skills, and also for students to come as close as possible to "entry level" experiences for positions similar to that held by the supervisor. The internship should involve a wide variety of tasks, problems, opportunities, observations, and challenges. It is never to be a clerical or a routine experience. A special project may be established by the supervisor which may consume a great deal of the student's time, but this one project should not comprise the entire internship experience.
In most cases, the student will be expected to have completed at least 18 graduate hours toward either the MLS or the MIS prior to entering an internship. Students may be expected to have completed several specific courses relevant to the internship prior to beginning their duties.
D. Role of the Internship Coordinator
The coordinator makes final placement and confirmation. The coordinator may visit any intern on site and is responsible for gathering information (student journal and supervisor's evaluation) for granting credit. The coordinator convenes meeting(s) of all interns at the end of the semester to report on their experiences.
E. Role of the On-site Supervisor
The supervisor assigns, monitors and evaluates tasks and projects. Following completion of the internship, the supervisor completes an evaluation and recommends whether the intern deserves credit for the course.