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Nothing becomes real until it is experienced.

It’s no secret that internships are the most effective way for students to gain work experience before graduation. In fact, studies show that 7 out of 10 internships turn into full-time jobs. Most importantly, internships are a great way for students to explore their interests, develop professional skills, and grow their professional network. Create opportunities for our students.




The WOU Community Internship Program (WOU CiP) provides access to academically and career relevant paid on-campus internship opportunities for Western students.


Reduce Internship Inequity

  • Paid Internships: Financial barriers often prevent low-income students from accessing high-quality internships, many of which are unpaid.*
  • On-Campus: Transportation access serves as a barrier for many WOU students who either do not own a vehicle or the cost of transportation is prohibitive to seek internships within our surrounding communities.
  • Access to Professional Networks: Not everyone has a family or friend network that easily refers them to professionals in their industries of interest. Connecting with faculty and staff creates opportunities for students to connect with professionals.

*Mayo, L., & Shethji, P. (2010). Reducing Internship InequityDiversity & Democracy, 13(3).



What are the Benefits of Hosting a WOU CiP intern?


Capacity and Funding: WOU CiP connects students to PAID internships opportunities ON-CAMPUS at NO COST to your department. Funding for up to 200 hours per internship at $11.25 per hour. All internship experiences are two-terms taking place January – June (winter and spring terms).

Without the intern, I would not have been able to maintain our Advisory Board, we would not have held the Careers in Writing event, which meant a ton to our students, and it would not have been as easy to get our new Professional Writing Certificate approved by the Curriculum Committee.


Professional Development: WOU CiP not only supports the professional development of students, we also invest in your growth as a supervisor and mentor.

I really enjoyed the goal setting activities at the start of the internship. It helped me to know what the intern intended to get out of the experience and to be able to structure our communication accordingly.


Student Engagement: Supervising an intern is a rewarding experience.

My intern was a key factor to the success of the alumni program, as well as inner workings of the Foundation as a whole.

Interning with human resources helped me develop professional relationships, which allowed me to deepen my knowledge and expand my opportunities


Expectations of Supervisors


WOU CiP Expectations for Supervisors and Interns

Expectations Framework

Goal Agreement Examples



Awarded Proposals (2019/2020)

2019/2020 Awarded Proposals

Academic Affairs


Campus Recreation

English, Writing, and Linguistics

Program for Undergraduate Research


Service Learning and Career Development

Social Science Division

Student Success and Advising

Strategic Communications and Marketing

University Advancement

University Housing and Campus Dining

Upward Bound (TRiO)


Department Proposal Submission Process


Next proposal submission period – Spring Term 2020

Selected Proposals Announced by May 31, 2020

Student recruitment takes place during Fall Term 2020


Academic Year 2020/2021 Recruitment Cycle Overview

  • Spring Term 2020: Department Proposal Submission Cycle
  • Fall Term 2020: Student Application Cycle
  • Winter Term 2021: Internships start beginning of Winter Term
  • Spring Term 2021: Internships continue through the end of Spring Term


Information Requested in the Proposal

  • Alignment with University Priorities: Please describe how your internship proposal advances the University’s priorities of enrollment, retention, and affordability
  • Quality of Supervision: Include your professional expertise in the subject area of this internship in order to train, educate and develop the student
  • Position Description: Title, Department Description, Learning Objectives, Learning Activities, Required and Preferred Qualifications, and Major(s)/Minor(s) Desired


Review Criteria

  • Alignment with University Priorities enrollment, retention, and affordability
  • Student Interest and Access appeals to students and limited opportunities exist off-campus
  • Upward Mobility students develop professional skills, and grow their professional network
  • Quality of Supervision content expertise to guide projects and commitment to providing meaningful and ongoing feedback
  • Learning Objectives and Activities specific and measurable objectives with clear job duties


Examples of Past Proposals

Example Proposal 1

Example Proposal 2



Advisory Committee Members

10 member committee represented by Service Learning and Career Development staff, previous supervisors (faculty and staff), and 2 previous student interns.







What is an internship?

To ensure that an experience is educational, and thus eligible to be considered a legitimate internship by the National Association of Colleges and Employers definition, all the following criteria must be met:

  1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom: a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  3. The experience has a defined beginning and end, and a job description with desired qualifications.
  4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
  5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor. 
  7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.


Experiences that Typically DO NOT qualify as Internships:

  • Commission-based positions.
  • Internships located in home-based businesses.
  • Situations where 100% of the work is done remotely or virtually.
  • Positions in which the intern displaces a regular employee.
  • Positions that require door-to-door canvassing, cold-calling, or petition gathering.
  • “Independent contractor” relationships that require the intern to set up his/her own business for the purpose of selling products, services, and/or recruiting other individuals to set up their own business.
  • Family-owned businesses or positions supervised by a family member.
  • Telemarketing positions.
  • Positions in which the student is required to pay the employer for any part of the experience (fees for training, etc.).

What are the benefits for students?


Internships allow students the opportunity to gain the necessary professional skills that allow them to integrate academic knowledge with real world application. Not only do internships provide students experience to add to their resume, they also allow them to gain a competitive edge in the job market. Employers typically favor recent college graduates that posses internship experience over those that do not. It is common for employers to hire high performing and hard-working interns.

Additionally, internships allow students to practice and develop skills sets that are aligned with their academic and professional goals. This gives them a chance to “try” a career path to better understand which career is right for them.

Key Benefits

  • Gain exposure to real-world problems and issues that perhaps are not found in textbooks.
  • Cultivate adaptability and creativity in a dynamic world.
  • Increase marketability to employers. On average, only 30% of graduating seniors have job offers before graduation; however, after completing an internship, that figure rises to 58%.
  • Evaluate specific companies or specific careers prior to committing to full-time employment—a “try before you buy” type experience.
  • Ease transition from being a student to entering the workforce.
  • Increase opportunities within a company for faster advancement and growth.
  • Increase self-confidence in the workplace while developing an expanded network of associates and professionals.
  • Facilitate a higher starting salary than non-interns. In a recent study interns received, on average, $2,240 more than non-interns for starting salary.
  • Have resume-building experiences while applying academic concepts and principles.
  • Have opportunities to fund college education.
  • Have personal growth experiences and exposure to different job opportunities.
  • Have hands-on opportunities to work with equipment and technology that may not be available on campus.

Why hire an intern?


The WOU Community Internship Program (WOU CiP) connects students to paid internships on-campus at no cost to departments. SLCD provides consultation on establishing an internship, guidelines, and training on the use of internship contracts and evaluations. Interns are professionally minded, they have goals, and they are eager to learn and apply their learning. This opportunity is more than a job; it is the beginning of their career and they will take their work more seriously than a part-time student employee might. An intern does not replace a person on your staff, but can accomplish projects on your to-do list, help design a program, or allow you to offer services differently.

Internship vs. Part-Time Job: What’s the Difference?

What makes internships unique is the focus on student learning. This is an opportunity for the student to apply skills learned in the classroom or elsewhere, that tie to the student’s academic, career or personal goals. While the student might perform some roles that are not for their learning, the goal is for them to explore and practice their professional identity under supervision and with mentoring.

An example could be a student wanting to apply their writing skills and learn professionalism by writing press releases for a department. The expectation is that the student needs some coaching and guidance and not be expected to accomplish the task perfectly on the first try. With gentle feedback, however, the final output will be professional, well written and offer a fresh, student oriented perspective that relates to your audience.



WOU Community Internship Program

503-838-8716 | or e-mail: | Location: WUC 119
Nominated for the
Diversity and Inclusion Award
by the National Association of Colleges and Employers