Guidelines for Religion 397:
Internships in Religion

These guidelines are based on the procedures and requirements of the IWU Career Center and Registrar, with special stipulations added by the Religion Department.

Internship offers a unique learning experience outside the usual academic setting. Normally undertaken with business, public service and church-affiliated organizations, it may be paid or unpaid. This opportunity is, of course, expected to meet the learning objectives established jointly by the faculty, the sponsoring organization and you, the student. Since you will be granted academic credit for the internship, it must be designed as an intellectual experience--not just a job!

Preparing for an Internship

Eligibility
To be eligible for enrollment, you must have completed 2 course units in the Religion Department. While registration in Religion 397 is open to any IWU student, we will give priority to our majors and minors.

It is expected that the internship will be undertaken in the junior or senior year. Registration also requires prior consent of one of the Religion Department faculty who will oversee the internship. You are urged to complete CE 300Y, the non-credit Career Planning course offered by the Career Center. In certain cases, your faculty supervisor may require that you enroll in CE 300Y as part of your preparations, or add other special requirements.

The internship will be evaluated on a credit/no credit basis, and may only be taken by students whose academic record in the major merits such independent work-with a grade point average in departmental courses of 2.5 or better.

Planning

Talk with your Religion Department advisor, or the faculty member you hope to have as your faculty supervisor, about the possibility of undertaking an internship as part of your program of study. Plan ahead! Begin developing an internship plan one semester in advance: if you hope to have a fall internship, begin in April, and if you wish to set up a spring internship, start planning in October. Information about internships is available in the IWU Career Center and the Internship Coordinator there can help you at any point along the way. In the Center you will find information on currently available internships; the programs listed in the categories of "Religious and Theological Studies," "Government and Public Service," and "Not-for-Profit" are especially appropriate for our field. You may, of course, also use your own initiative in securing an internship in an organization with which you are already familiar, or whose activities are of interest to you. Any of these options must meet the approval of one of the Religion Department faculty in advance of registration. Please do not expect your prospective faculty supervisor to create a new internship program for you-he or she will be working with you once you've identified your interests.

Once you find the internship program, the following procedures apply:

1. Complete an "Intent to Participate in an Academic Internship" form, available from the Career Center. STEP 1 is your portion--fill it out without your signature [reading the directions carefully] before meeting with the faculty member you hope to have as your supervisor. Once he or she has signed approval, and the Internship Coordinator has signed it, you may sign the form and submit it to the Registrar. And then you may begin in earnest.

2. Identify the internship programs that interest you and are suitable for Religion 397. You may make an appointment with the Internship Coordinator or one of the internship peer counselors in the Career Center.

Consult with your advisor to determine if the sponsor and the program you like best can indeed provide the environment that will be conducive to a credit-worthy learning experience. The Religion Department faculty member will make the final decision for approval.

3. Apply for the internship program through the Career Center, or interview directly with the prospective employer. Since you will be pursuing academic credit, be sure to keep the academic side of the internship program in mind.

4. If you receive an offer, discuss the internship with your faculty supervisor and arrange a meeting or phone conference with the faculty and the prospective employer. During the meeting, be sure that you understand the expectations of all parties-this precaution can be invaluable!

5. Once you have accepted the offer, complete the "Internship Learning Contract" available from the Career Center; that form spells out all of your responsibilities connected with the internship. You must fill out the portion concerning your "Learning Objectives" (as well as the section on medical insurance). Together with your faculty supervisor, create a work plan that includes the following:

  • the schedule for the internship, and for additional meetings with the advisor
  • your duties and responsibility with the sponsoring organization
  • additional academic work to be completed in conjunction with the internship, including reports, journals or papers

Once the contract is filled out and signed by the employing supervisor as well as by your faculty supervisor, you may sign it and submit it to the Registrar.

6. Register for Religion 397.

Internship Requirements

1. All interns in the Religion department are required to write a paper at the beginning of the internship; that paper will summarize the background and history of the sponsoring organization [including its religious affiliation] and the objectives to be achieved through the internship. Explicit connections to learning about religion are to be part of this assessment.

2. Upon completion of the internship, you will submit a report analyzing the experience in terms of your expectations (contained in the earlier paper) and of the appropriate dimension of religious studies.

3. You will be expected to meet regularly with your advisor, and may have additional requirements set by your advisor or the department.

All interns must work a total of 140 hours during the Internship. During the Fall and Spring semesters, the work should not exceed 15 hours per week. While routine activities may be part of your internship--as they are part of all jobs--such tasks may not be more than 30% of your work load.

Evaluation

The faculty supervisor will contact the sponsoring agency at least twice during the Internship to be sure that expectations are being met and to address any concerns that may arise; except where impossible, he or she will make those contacts as on-site visits.

At the end of the Internship, the employing supervisor will submit to the faculty advisor an evaluation of your efforts during your work.

This, together with the preliminary paper, final report and any other required work, will be the basis for assigning academic credit. Failure to submit any work or to meet any deadline agreed to in the contracts will eliminate the possibility of receiving academic credit for your internship work.