Here are some highlights from the internship FAQ document. Click here for the full version.
DO I HAVE TO BE ENROLLED IN PREL 344 OR PREL 444 WHILE I COMPLETE HOURS?
Yes. All the hours for your internship must be completed in the term you are enrolled in the course. Additionally, only hours that are completed after fulfilling both the proposal and the supervisor agreement form will be able to count.
WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO IN THE CLASS?
A core value in our internship program is providing space for not only the internship experience but also the reflection on that experience. Within the class, you will complete several discussion questions, file logs related to the hours you have completed, participate in reviews (both you and your supervisor will be required to provide feedback on the internship experience), and you will turn in portfolio pieces that were developed from your work in your internship experience.
CAN MY INTERNSHIP BE ONLINE OR REMOTE?
Because we focus on the particular experience you have as a primary determining factor in internship approval, we typically find that in-person internships provide the best experience. This is because we expect you to not only perform tasks but to develop collaboration and work-environment competencies that will be needed for successful performance in our industry. However, there are times when these skills may be accomplished in a remote internship. All internships come with the expectation of significant feedback and interaction with your supervisor. You should be having weekly times where you are receiving feedback and discussing responsibilities. If you are proposing a remote location, be sure to identify in what way (phone, video conference, etc.) the communication between you and the supervisor will happen and the frequency of those communications. It is also important for you to outline any other collaborative structures (teams you are working on or people in the organization you will regular interact with) and how you will be able to accomplish that in an online environment.
CAN I INTERN WHERE I WORK?
Yes! You can intern where you work, provided that the opportunity meets two key areas. First, it needs to fully align with the above requirements for internships in terms of hours, supervision, tasks and location. Second, it cannot be the same thing as your current job. Internships are not the same as employment. Thus, you cannot simply count work that you are doing as an employee as an internship experience. For further understanding of the dynamics and distinctions between work and internships, read the report from the Commission on PR Education provided in the resources below or information provided by the Department of Labor. If your organization is large enough that there is a team that is focused on public relations activities, which is housed outside of your current employee role, and they will provide an internship experience for you, that would be a potential fit.
CAN PREL 344 AND PREL 444 BE COMPLETED IN THE SAME LOCATION?
One goal of the internships is to provide you with diverse experiences and opportunities, differing work environments, and different supervisor styles. With that in mind, we typically encourage finding a second internship in a different organization. This will also bolster your resume and experience. However, there are occasions when it may be appropriate to be in the same location for PREL 344 and PREL 444. In the rare situations where this is acceptable, you will likely fit one of the following criteria. First, you may be interning with the same organization but it is so large that you are on a new team and in a new role. For example, you may have interned with Disney in their media relations area and are looking at a second internship with Disney in their community relations team. Second, you may have a significantly different level of expectation in the internship. There have been times when students find that, after PREL 344, the internship location wants them to continue in an advanced capacity. This requires having different tasks, in order to diversify your portfolio. It also usually is highly related to the potential of an internship-to-hire, with the goal of this location being a target for employment once you graduate. It would be important that you clearly identify why interning with the same location meets one of the above standards on your internship proposal.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES
For more information on the value of internships to post-graduate success, you can view the report titled “The impact of undergraduates internships on post-graduate outcomes for the Liberal Arts” from the National Association of Colleges and Educators (NACE) Center for Career Development and Talent Acquisition. The link is https://www.naceweb.org/uploadedfiles/files/2017/publication/report/2017-nace-impact-of-internships-on-liberal-arts-report.pdf.
For more information on the requirements and expectations for public relations internships, you can view the latest report from the Commission on Education in Public Relations titled “Fast Forward: Foundations + Future State. Educators + Professionals,” chapter 13 “Internships: Bridging Public Relations Learning to Life. The link is http://www.commissionpred.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/report6-full.pdf