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Experiential Learning/Internships

Aug. 21, 2012

Internships, practicums and other forms of experiential learning that carry academic credit are all overseen by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost and require the signature of the university's Provost.

Students may find and enroll in internship courses under the guidance and with the approval of the appropriate professor, department chair or academic dean. Departments are responsible for setting policies regarding eligibility, pre-requisites, credit offered, and academic content. Some departments have one or more internship coordinators who serve as resources for students and as liaisons with the Office of General Counsel (OGC) when an agreement is requested. Students and parents should not individually contact OGC, but should work through the appropriate academic contact person.

OGC recommends a written agreement between Baylor and the agency or entity providing learning experiences for the students whenever the experiences carry academic credit. Some agencies will require an agreement even if no credit is earned.

Internship/Practicum Agreements

1. The OGC has forms for agreements to use in most types of practicums.

2. Agencies sometimes insist on using a form that they commonly use.

3. The agreement, whether an OGC form or agency form, is in writing and signed by the Provost.

4. The OGC must review any outside agreements received from an agency, and the negotiation of acceptable terms in those agreements can take several weeks or months.

5. The agreement needs a clear indication of the responsibilities of all parties to the agreement.

6. It has a provision for ensuring the quality of the programs and courses offered through the internship.

7. The agreement has a provision for evaluating the agreement in relation to the purposes of the university.

8. It should not have any terms that the department cannot perform.

9. Professors should confirm that the student is receiving a practical educational experience as opposed to merely providing free labor for the agency.

10. The Center for International Education must review and approve all agreements for internships outside the United States.

Points to Consider:

• Departments manage the contract by knowing what is being agreed to, keeping a copy of the agreement, assuring Baylor performance, and assuring that the agency performs the tasks that it has agreed to perform.

• Coordinators should never forward OGC e-mails to the agencies, nor to anyone else other than to a Baylor employee who has a need to know the information.

• Allow thirty days minimum review time for a standard contract, more if an outside agreement.

Common Trouble Spots in Agreements:

1. Non-discrimination and indemnity/hold harmless provisions.

2. Background checks and drug screens - if the agency requires these, students must arrange it through the agency.

Contact your department internship coordinator or the Office of General Counsel if you have questions related to internship/practicum agreements.