Creating quality internships: a guide for employers
Internships may be:
- Two to nine months in duration
- A part- or full-time commitment
- Paid or unpaid opportunities
- Connected or not connected to an educational program with academic credit
What are the requirements to be an “approved” internship site?
Very few colleges or universities have an institution-wide set of requirements for internships, such as the number of hours required, location, type of work, paid vs. unpaid, etc. At VCU, organizations are welcome to post an internship position to get the ball rolling to find potential candidates who will find a mutually beneficial experience at your organization.
An increasing number of college students do seek academic credit for internships during their time in school, but the individual requirements for internships-for-credit are typically program- or major-based and can vary widely.
Main internship contacts
VCU Career Services
Joslyn Bedell, Associated Director of Employer & Experiential Development, (804) 828-1645, firstname.lastname@example.org
VCU School of Business Career Services
Mike Eisenman, Director, (804) 827-1801, email@example.com
VCU School of Engineering Career Services
Anita Taylor, Director, (804) 827-7028, firstname.lastname@example.org
Program-specific internship contacts
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internship focusing on K-12 classroom experience, nonprofit public education, event planning & programming, and studio/artistry work.
- Contact: Dr. Sara Wilson McKay, Department Chair & Associate Professor, (804) 828-0471, email@example.com
Department of African American Studies
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internships and full-time employment.
- Contact: Dr. Shawn Utsey, Department Chair, (804) 828-1384, firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of English
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internship focusing on writing, editing, research, and teaching. Students prefer internships of up to 150 hours.
- Contact: Dale Smith, Coordinator of Undergraduate Advising, (804) 827-8320, email@example.com
Department of Gender, Sexuality & Women's Studies
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internships.
- Contact: Dr. Janey R. Hutchinson, Department Chair, (804)828-8041, firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of History
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internship focusing on research projects, programs, and events.
- Contact: Dr. John Kneebone, Associate Professor, (804) 828-9706, email@example.com
Department of Graphic Design
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to graphic design students seeking internships focused on print design, branding, typography, web design, and package design.
- Contact: Anne Graves, Assistant Chair, (804) 828-1709, firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Marketing
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to marketing students seeking internships.
- Contact: Dr. David Urban, Department Chair, (804) 828-8884, email@example.com
Department of Photography and Film
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to film and photography students seeking internships focused on photography, multimedia, and video capture and production. Internships require supervision by a professional photographer.
- Contact: John Sheridan, Administrative Director, (804) 828-1695, firstname.lastname@example.org
Department of Psychology
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to psychology students seeking internships.
- Contact: Dr. Linda Zyzniewsk, Undergraduate Director, (804) 828-8254, email@example.com
Robertson School of Media and Culture
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internship focusing on communications, public relations, and strategic communications.
- Contact:Maggie McDearmon, Career Development Advisor, (804) 828-1100, firstname.lastname@example.org
School of Social Work
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internships focusing on clinical and macro practices of social work. Supervision and feedback are required for students in this program.
- Contact: Muthoni Imungi, Ph.D., director of field education, (804) 828-9042, email@example.com
School of World Studies
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to world studies students seeking internships and full-time employment.
- Contact: Jon Waybright, Internship Coordinator, 804-399-8300, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
- Area of Interest: Connecting our community to students seeking internships focused on government agencies, public policy organizations, think tanks, legislative offices, and political campaigns.
- Contact: Shajuana Isom-Payne, Director of Student Success, (804) 827-2417, email@example.com
- Area of Interest: Service learning classes require students to volunteer 20 hours over one semester to help an organization in the community. Service learning classes are required for most undergraduate degrees at VCU.
- Contact: Dr. Lynn Pelco, Program Director, (804)827-8215, firstname.lastname@example.org
VCU Student Organizations
- Area of Interest: Volunteer projects that require large numbers of students or groups to complete.
- Contact: Beth Ward, Volunteer Services Coordinator, (804) 828-3648, email@example.com
How do I enhance my internship position?
If you’d like to make your current internship experience at your organization one that is truly mutually beneficial for your organization and the intern, consider the following steps:
- Write a plan for the internship. Consider what the intern can do for your organization and what your organization can teach the intern.
- Set goals and policies for the internship position/program.
- Spend time recruiting qualified applicants. Consider the institutions where the prospects you are seeking are studying, target those students, post at an appropriate time(s) of the year and allow time for the necessary recruiting steps.
- Openly discuss expectations with applicants/potential interns.
- Manage the intern’s work and development.
- Conduct evaluations to improve your program both during the internship and at the end.
The Greater Richmond Chamber has an excellent guide on starting and enhancing an internship program.
Should I pay my interns?
There has been a lot of media attention about unpaid internships over the past few years and it can be difficult to follow the ins-and-outs of intern compensation. While it is good practice to pay an intern for work if possible, the rules differ between the private and public sectors.
For a full description of the current labor standards, visit the U.S Department of Labor website >>
According to the NACE website, the average hourly wage rate for a bachelor’s degree intern is $16.25. For master’s degree interns, the overall average is $22.58. The specifics of your industry and the student’s experience level will determine the exact amount you offer your intern.
Are there VCU guidelines regarding receiving credit for internships?
Internship guidelines are established by the department from which the student is seeking credit. Some departments award academic credit for internships and others do not. If academic credit is awarded, the student is required to register for the course and to pay the class registration fee. To learn more about internship requirements at VCU, contact Joslyn Bedell at (804) 828-1645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.