Intern Contract Instructions

Both students and supervisors need clear expectations of what the intern is responsible for and what responsibilities the organization will assume in helping the intern. You and your supervisor(s) should negotiate an internship contract during the first few weeks of the semester at the time of the initial orientation to the organization.  It should describe the rights and responsibilities of both parties. The internship contract also specifies the intern’s learning goals and the tasks s/he will undertake to meet these goals during the term.  In addition, it should describe the following.

Sample Contract

A description of training needs, methods to be used, and times and dates for training sessions

Specific tasks the intern will perform and a schedule. If clerical or other forms of routine work are part of the internship, it should not make up more than 10% of the time spent with the organization. We understand that clerical and routine tasks are necessary, but we expect supervisors to insure that the interns can also participate more broadly in the organization so that interns can learn new skills and have a meaningful and rewarding experience.

Plans and a timetable for supervision. Ongoing supervisor-intern contact is necessary for this course.  Interns should feel comfortable initiating discussions with their supervisors about their concerns, mistakes, observations, questions, and triumphs. It can take time to develop this kind of trust and communication.  We recommend that a regular meeting time be scheduled which will provide an opportunity for you and the supervisor to discuss the overall internship, the tasks and learning objectives, and to provide mutual feedback.  Informal and “ad hoc” contact can supplement this scheduled, in depth, conversation.

The hours and time commitment required by your setting.  Interns are required to work a minimum number of hours per week depending upon their course requirement. The actual schedule and hours involved should be based on the needs and timetable of the organization. Interns/supervisors may want to agree to a regular schedule of hours for the semester or contract on a more flexible, week by week, basis. If a specific, ongoing, schedule is not agreed to, we suggest that interns  and the supervisor develop a system for keeping track of the hours worked so that the time commitment is not exceeded before major tasks are accomplished.

Establish a date to review and possibly revise the internship contract. We recommend that some time be scheduled in the beginning of November/March to evaluate the contract and make revisions if necessary.

Set a policy for vacation and sick days. The intern is responsible for letting supervisor(s) know about school vacation days and make arrangements for compensating for the lost time. S/he should also learn the appropriate procedure to follow when she is sick or for some other reason is unable to make it to the organization when expected. Also, the organization must keep the interns informed of organizational vacations, time-offs, or program cancellation so that they do not have to make the trip in vain.