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RTE Internship Policies & Procedures

General information

The Recreation, Tourism and Events (RTE) internship is considered to be a full-time academic load (15 credits) for one semester. The internship requires the student to work a minimum 40 hours per week in the agency for a minimum of 12 consecutive weeks during the semester (minimum 480 hours).  Student assignments are viewed as homework and the time spent to complete the assignments is not to be included in the required 40 hours. Successful completion of the internship is required of each student seeking a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation, Tourism and Events.

The primary purpose of the internship is to enable each student to meet his or her educational objectives through participation in a well planned and organized practical experience. Students are encouraged to seek and select an agency that offers diverse leadership, program planning and administrative opportunities.

Objectives

  1. The student will apply classroom concepts and techniques to a real work environment.
  2. The student will develop an understanding of the operations of the host agency.
  3. The student will develop an appreciation for the roles and responsibilities of professionals.
  4. The student will perform meaningful duties and responsibilities that are comparable to those performed by full time employees in entry-level positions.
  5. The student will develop goals & objectives to be accomplished during the internship.
  6. The student will further develop their professional skills through hands on exposure to day-to-day operations.
  7. The student will perform an increased progression of responsibilities for which they will be held accountable.
  8. The student will develop interpersonal relationships with agency staff and customers.
  9. The student will contribute to the agency by performing assigned responsibilities and developing a project that is beneficial to the agency.

What makes a good internship?

Internship is a dynamic partnership with the student, the agency and the university combining forces to create a significant learning experience. Quality internships provide a well-rounded experience exposing students to all areas of the agency and giving them opportunities to learn through observation as well as active participation. Agencies need to provide a logical and structured experience with increased progression of responsibilities and regular feedback on the student’s performance. Work assignments must be meaningful with a payoff in experience and learning for the student and a job well done for the agency. Student reports to the university should be structured to guide the student’s learning and give them opportunities to reflect on the knowledge, skills and abilities they acquire during the internship.

Students should be assigned duties and responsibilities that are comparable to those performed by full-time, entry-level employees. The RTE faculty recognizes the problems of allowing students to accept major responsibilities where failure jeopardizes an agency's status. However, the faculty strongly believes that internship students will work extremely hard to surpass the performance expectations of agency supervisors if assignments are meaningful to an agency's operation and if they receive quality supervision.

Pre-internship requirements

Internships occur during the final semester of the student's academic bachelor’s degree program. Prior to the internship semester, a student must complete all other university and program coursework. Students must receive a C- or better in all LEI required coursework and approved specialization courses and earn a satisfactory grade on two (2) field work experiences. Students must also earn a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 in all college/university coursework and a grade point average of 2.5 in all LEI core coursework. Students must obtain a current First Aid/CPR certificate prior to internship.

The required information for internship policies and procedures will be covered during their LEI 4930, Senior Seminar.

Students who do not complete their internship paperwork by the assigned date in the semester shall postpone their internship until the next semester. Internship policies and procedures, meeting dates, deadlines and forms are available on the RTE Canvas internship site for students.

Internship criteria

In order to earn academic credit from FSU, the Internship must meet these requirements:

  • The student must work for a minimum of twelve (12) consecutive weeks, but may work for a longer period of time to meet specific agency requirements.
  • The student must work full-time based on a 40 hour week (480 minimum total hours). This, however, does not mean that the intern may not work more than 40 hours a week.
  • The student may not enroll in other academic course work during the internship.
  • Students may not intern with an agency for which that he/she has previously been employed or completed an FSU field work. An exception to this criterion may be approved by the Internship Coordinator if the internship will have a significantly broader scope and higher level of responsibility.

Agency eligibility requirements

Agency
The faculty continually seeks quality internship sites and invites interested agencies to complete an New Internship Agency Approval (pdf) and submit materials for approval. The following Agency Eligibility Requirements are used to evaluate agencies applying for internship students:

  1. The agency is willing to commit to the internship as an educational experience for the student.
  2. The agency has qualified staff members to supervise the internship students. (See Agency Supervisor section for internship supervisor's qualifications.)
  3. The agency is capable of designing a 12 week internship to include duties, responsibilities, and authority comparable to that of full-time, entry-level employees.
  4. The agency is professionally recognized and reputable in the field of recreation/parks/ tourism/ special events.
  5. The agency has an extensive, active, and well-balanced program and administrative structure.
  6. The agency is capable of offering the student opportunities for observation and participation in all   appropriate aspects of its program, operation, and administrative procedures.
  7. The agency has adequate resources for the delivery of comprehensive services.
  8. The agency has sound policies and procedures in the areas of administration, fiscal management, personnel management, planning and training.
  9. The agency has submitted the following materials for the RTE internship file (Materials may be submitted electronically or in print.):
    1. Sample outline of duties and responsibilities for a twelve week internship
    2. Agency website, brochure or program literature (if available)
    3. Copies of forms required by the agency for accepting internship students (job application form, etc.)
    4. A resume that includes any appropriate certifications and professional association membership for the person directly supervising interns.
  1. The agency is willing to collaborate with the Internship Coordinator during the student’s internship.

Agency Supervisor
The qualifications for the “Agency Supervisor” who will have primary responsibility for internship students are:

  1. At least one degree in recreation /parks/tourism /special events or related field from a college or university and a minimum of one year of full-time supervisory experience at the designated agency.
  • OR
  •  
  • A minimum of three years of full-time supervisory and/or administrative experience in a specific area such as special events management, outdoor recreation, sports management, recreation programming, tourism etc.
  • *[NOTE: Exception to this policy may be agreed upon between the university's Internship Coordinator and the agency head.]
  1. Active members of their respective professional associations such as NRPA, FRPA, RCRA, IFEA, ISES and other such organizations and preferably certified at the state or national level if applicable.
  2. Strongly committed to professional excellence and ethics and development of students

Financial support of internship students

The RTE program does not require that agencies compensate internship students, however it is permitted. Agencies should not reject the idea of having interns because of their inability to pay. In some way, many students find the money to support themselves for quality internship placements. Some agencies take different approaches to help students defray internship expenses. Examples include: paying stipends, paying minimum wage for internship hours, paying wages for work performed but not for observation/cross training time, furnishing housing and/or meals, paying transportation costs, assisting students with finding part-time work that does not interfere with internship work.

Internship placement

Students may begin researching potential internship agencies at any time, but it is strongly recommended that the search for an internship begins at least two semesters prior to the scheduled internship semester. The placement search is ultimately the student’s responsibility; the program will assist as much as possible. Prior to applying for any internship, the student must complete the Internship Clearance (pdf) form and submit it to the Senior Seminar instructor.   The Senior Seminar instructor will review the information provided by the student and forward it to the Internship Coordinator who will notify the student if they are approved to begin applying for internships or if there are issues which must be addressed. The Senior Seminar instructor may postpone approval if the student has not completed sufficient program courses to determine that their academic performance is on track.

The student must complete the Internship Application Plan (pdf) and turn that in to the Senior Seminar instructor before beginning the interview process.  Students need to realize that finding a quality internship takes time and good planning. Students should look for placements which require initiative and responsibility and which will give them the broadest possible experience. Students must apply for a minimum of two and up to three internships at one time. They must complete either the New Internship Agency Approval (pdf) form or the Approved Internship Agency Interview (pdf) form for each agency. As soon as the student has accepted an internship, they must notify the Internship Coordinator and complete the Internship Acceptance form (pdf) and formally withdraw their applications with all other agencies.

Approved agencies

The program provides an internship opportunity file and an internship opportunity list which contains approved agencies. Students may proceed with applying to those agencies two semesters prior to their scheduled internship semester, once they have received clearance from the Senior Seminar instructor. If an agency has earlier application deadline dates, the student should notify the Senior Seminar instructor and request approval to proceed with the application process. Students should first phone or email the agency contact person (listed in the internship files) to ensure that an internship is available for the specific semester in which the student will intern. Next, the student will submit a cover letter, resume, a list of three references, and any additional materials required by the agency (see internship file or agency website) to the agency contact person. If the student is not contacted by the agency within ten working days, the student should telephone the agency contact person to ensure that the application materials were received and ask when interviews will be scheduled.

Procedure for approving new agencies

All internships at new agencies must meet the criteria under Agency Eligibility Requirements (above). If a student wishes to apply for an agency that has not yet been approved, they must submit a New Internship Agency Approval (pdf) form to the Senior Seminar instructor. The request must be submitted at least one month prior to the official start date of the semester in which the student plans to intern (earlier if necessary to meet the agencies application deadline). Within ten working days of receipt of the request, the Internship Coordinator will contact the student with a determination or a request for additional information.

Once the student is notified that a new agency has been approved, the student may proceed with applying for that internship. The student will submit a cover letter, resume, a list of three references, two letter of recommendation and any additional materials required by the agency to the agency contact person. If the student is not contacted by the agency within ten working days, the student should telephone the agency contact person to ensure that the application materials were received and ask when interviews will be scheduled.

Internship responsibilities

Student responsibilities during internship are as follows:

  1. Complete all required reports posted on the internship Canvas site.
  2. Meet with the Agency Supervisor the first week of the internship to:
    1. Determine dress code requirements.
    2. Obtain information for the Internship Acceptance (pdf) form which specifies how to contact the student and Agency Supervisor.
    3. Decide which dates the student will turn in time sheets for approval.
    4. Arrange for a day to have a weekly conference with the Agency Supervisor.
    5. Discuss the duties and responsibilities associated with the internship experience.
    6. Request exposure to various sections/departments to get a broad understanding of the agency when applicable.
    7. Provide the Agency Supervisor with copies of the Midterm Evaluation (pdf) and Final Evaluation (pdf) with a schedule of the due dates.
    8. Complete the Intern Special Project Evaluation (pdf) form and turn in at the end of the semester. 
  1. Meet with the Agency Supervisor no later than the second week to negotiate a special project or program responsibility to be completed during the internship.
  2. One week prior to the due date for the evaluation (midterm and final), request a meeting with the Agency Supervisor to review and discuss the evaluation.
  3. Complete a minimum of 12 consecutive weeks AND 480 hours during the prescribed dates, or longer if the agency requested additional time. NOTE: During the internship, the agency’s holidays and/or times off will be observed, not FSU’s holidays. (No spring break)
  4. Students will conduct themselves professionally at all times. Students will dress conservatively and appropriately for the internship. It is expected that students will maintain the FSU and RTE image of students who are self-motivated and conduct themselves in a professional manner.
  5. Students should take time for their own leisure. It is important to make new friends and get to know the community where the student is living.
  6. Students are expected to check their FSU email account regularly along with the internship Canvas sites for announcements and information.

Agency Supervisor
The responsibilities of the internship agency supervisors will be as follows:

  1. Design and coordinate a 12-week (480-hour minimum) internship experience that:
    1. Exposes students to all appropriate divisions or aspects of the agency.
    2. Provides students with meaningful duties and responsibilities that are comparable to those performed by full-time employees in entry-level positions.
    3. Allows students to gain in-depth exposure in areas of particular interest if they desire.
    4. Assigns students to other departmental supervisors to gain exposure in other areas/programs.
    5. Encourages students to visit other related agencies in the neighboring area.
    6. Encourages students to become actively involved in professional associations.
  1. Meet with internship students the first week and discuss:
    1. Duties and responsibilities including a written outline detailing the types of meetings they will be attending, specific assignments and a tentative schedule to follow.
    2. Days and times of the week for weekly conferences.
    3. Dress codes and agencies' expectations of internship students.
    4. Due dates for the bi-weekly internship report.
  1. Coordinate a thorough orientation to the agency during the first week.
  2. Meet with internship students during the second week to negotiate a special project or major program responsibility for the semester. The special project or major program should be the type that will challenge a student and yet make a meaningful contribution to an agency. The student will be required to submit a preliminary report (below for details) on this project no later than the fourth week of the internship. The report must include a detailed description, the project’s purpose for the agency and a list of major tasks required for successful completion with a timeline. The supervisor must review and approve this information.
    1. Examples:
    2. Develop and implement a new program or service
    3. Plan, manage and evaluate a special event (or portion of large event)
    4. Develop and implement a survey/questionnaire and report results
    5. Develop a DVD/Power Point for in-service training
    6. Research potential venues for events and report on results
    7. Develop a promotional DVD / Power Point
    8. Design a recreation trail or other feature for a park
    9. Develop a procedures manual for a particular area (volunteers, interns, safety)
  1. Supervise students as if they were full-time, entry-level employees. Students will typically want to please their supervisor and surpass any performance expectations the supervisor may have. However, the students will need guidance from supervisors, including praise, feedback and correction.
  2. Hold weekly meetings with students to give feedback on experiences.
  3. Make available the documents and information needed for students to complete required reports.
  4. Review and sign bi-weekly time sheets and make a comment on the student’s performance for that time period.
  5. Evaluate internship students' performances at mid-term and at the end of the internship semester, and hold conferences with students to discuss the evaluations.
  6. Communicate with the Internship Coordinator as needed to discuss the progress of the student and/or any concerns regarding the internship.

internship coordinator
The Internship Coordinator has overall responsibility for the Internship Program. The primary duties are as follow:

  1. Coordinate program information, policies and procedures for internship.
  2. Provide advice and guidance to students regarding internship opportunities.
  3. Serve as a liaison between the agencies and the University.
  4. Monitor the student’s experience and be available for consultation with students and the agency supervisors.
  5. Evaluate the student’s assignments and providing feedback.
  6. Visit students and agency supervisors (as funding and time permit) or arrange conference calls.
  7. Research potential internship sites and maintain a list of approved agencies.
  8. Continuously monitor and evaluate student experiences with agencies.

Reassignment, Withdrawal, Termination

Once a student has enrolled in and begun an Internship experience he/she  has entered into a professional contract with the university and the internship site. Thus, students will be reassigned, withdrawn, or terminated from Internship only under the most extreme circumstances.

Reassignment
Students may be reassigned to a new Internship only if circumstances exist which are beyond their control. Examples of such situations include: (1) the organization ceases to conduct business; or (2) the only individual qualified to supervise the intern leaves the organization. If such a situation should arise, the student should immediately notify the Internship Coordinator of the circumstances and actions will be taken to secure a new internship. All attempts will be made to assist the student in completing the internship at a different site. However, due to some certification requirements, students may be required to begin a completely new internship.

Withdrawal
The conditions under which a student would be allowed to withdraw from an internship are if: (1) a medical diagnosis recommends that s/he not continue in Internship; or (2) the student withdraws from the university. If such a situation were to arise, students should first seek advice from the Internship Coordinator and then initiate the medical or university withdrawal process. A student will be eligible to reapply when medical approval has been provided to the Internship Coordinator; or when s/he re-applies for admission to the university. A written notification of withdrawal will be sent to the Agency Supervisor by the Internship Coordinator. The student will also write a letter to the Agency Supervisor thanking them for the opportunity and express regret for any inconvenience.

Termination
Termination of an internship is an extremely serious matter and may be initiated by either the Agency Supervisor or Internship Coordinator. Students may be terminated from an internship experience under the following conditions: (1) they are not meeting the expectations and/or standards of the organization; or (2) they are not meeting the requirements, policies, and/or standards of the program or university such as unsatisfactory completion of academic assignments and work hour requirements.  In most cases, prior to termination, a conference will be held between the student and university and organization supervisors where all attempts will be made to rectify the situation. If the situation cannot be corrected, students will be terminated and receive a Failing grade for the course. A student who has been terminated from an internship will have an opportunity to reapply no sooner than one semester from the semester of termination. To initiate re-application students will need to: (1) submit an application letter to the Internship Coordinator which addresses the steps taken to rectify the problems encountered and (2) in that letter, indicate how new circumstances will lead to successful completion. In addition, a formal hearing with RTE faculty is required.

Internship assignments

All internship assignments will be graded based on timeliness, professional presentation, attention to detail, content and thoroughness. It is expected that each assignment will be received on or prior to the due date. Assignments that do not adhere to these criteria will be graded down accordingly.  Specific dates for all assignments will be identified on the student’s course schedule. If there is an assignment that requires the signature of the Agency Supervisor, and that signature cannot be obtained by the due date, the student must submit the unsigned document by the due date with an explanation regarding the lack of signature.  A signed copy should be submitted within two weeks.

First day attendance quiz (10 points)

You must complete the First Day Attendance Quiz to fulfill the University's mandated First Day Attendance policy.  The quiz can be found on Canvas and covers the course requirements which are all listed in the syllabus and the Canvas site.

Goals and Objectives (10 points)

The student, in cooperation with the agency supervisor, will develop 6  to 8 goals for the internship. The goals must cover the following areas of the internship: administration, supervision, program planning, facility management and marketing/public relations (as outlined in the internship description). There must be at least one (1) goal for each area and additional goals for areas where the student will be spending the majority of time. For each goal a minimum of two (2) objectives will be developed.

Note: The intern's hours will not count toward the 480 minimum until the Goals and Objectives are approved by the Agency Supervisor and the Internship Coordinator.

Special Project Plan - Initial Report (20 points)

Using the program plan format from the Program Design class, students will submit a Special Project  - Initial Reportfor a program that they developed and conducted during the internship. A mutually agreed upon assignment may be substituted in unique circumstances.  If the project is not a program, then the Internship Coordinator and the student will agree on an alternate format.

Special Project - Final Report (35 points)

The student will complete the Special Project Final Report. The purpose of this report is to describe what the student has accomplished, to review the process for completing the project, and the benefits of the project to their professional development and the benefit the agency.  This should include pictures, findings, and copies of any documentation, i.e. new training manual.

Special Project Evaluation (20 points)

The Agency Supervisor will complete the Intern Special Project Plan Evaluation (pdf) form based upon the Agency Supervisor’s evaluation of the project quality and usefulness to the organization.

Contact with university advisor (10 points)

Regardless of the internship location, students must maintain adequate communication with their university advisor.  Telephone contacts are mandatory for the first and last day of the internship. Other scheduled contacts may be either via telephone or email. The purpose of these contacts is to provide the university advisor with an update on successes, problems or needs.

Bi-Weekly Reports (5 points x 6 reports = 30 points)

Bi-weekly students are required to complete a RTE Bi-Weekly form. This will confirm the day, date, times, and total hours worked within that time period. In addition, students will write a weekly summary that describes how you spent your time this week including the most significant contribution you made to the agency and your most memorable learning experience. In addition, the Intern must address at least two of the “Bi-Weekly report questions” that are provided to the students during Senior Seminar. Each week should reflect 40 hours or more of internship work.  Each student is responsible to assure that a total of 480 hours are completed. Students must average 40 hours per week to achieve this total.  No less than 30 and no more than 60 hours per week will be counted toward the total hours. Time sheets are due according to your individual internship schedule.

Bi-Weekly Report 1 - assignment completed on Canvas

Bi-Weekly Report 2 - assignment completed on Canvas

Bi-Weekly Report 3 - assignment completed on Canvas Discussion

Bi-Weekly Report 4 - flyer uploaded to Canvas

Bi-Weekly Report 5 - assignment completed on Canvas Discussion

Bi-Weekly Report 6 - assignment completed on Canvas Discussion

Bi-Weekly Reports Additional Questions

Each of the questions below is to be addressed at some point within the six bi-weekly reports.  The Intern should answer at least two questions per bi-weekly report.  Save #14 for your last report.

  1. Discuss the procedures for recruiting, interviewing and selecting agency employees.  Include the following in your discussion:
    1. What qualities do the interviewer look for in job candidates?
    2. What process is used to make the final selection?
    3. What type of orientation program is offered to new employees?
    4. What type of background investigation and reference check is used for prospective employees?
  1. What type of training and professional development programs is offered to full-time employees to improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities?
  2. Describe the performance appraisal process used by the organization for professional employees. Include the persons involved, frequency of evaluation and whether the appraisal is used for development and /or merit increases.
  3. Ask several staff members to give you the name of the person who they consider to be the best supervisor in the organization. Make an appointment with that supervisor and ask these questions:
    1. What are the most difficult supervisory challenges you have in your career?
    2. What techniques have you found are effective in motivating staff?
    3. What formal or informal system do you have for recognizing and rewarding staff for things that they have done well?
    4. What strategies do you use to multi-task and prioritize your work? What suggestions do you have for me to improve in this area?
    5. What suggestions or advice can you give someone who aspires to your position?
  1. What are the primary revenue sources for the agency? What are the secondary revenue sources? How have these changed in recent years? What strategies are there to improve revenues in the future?
  2. Explain the budget process for the agency. What type of budget is it? How expenses and revenues are monitored each month?
  3. Summarize the marketing plan for the organization. Include what market segments are targeted and how they are reached. What will change in the future?
  4. Is there a long range plan or long term comprehensive plan for the agency? If so, briefly explain it. If not, find out how they plan for the future (next5-10 years).
  5. Explain the agency’s plan for future facility development. How did this plan get developed?
  6. Explain the agency’s plan for facility maintenance & management. Are there established standards, seasonal schedules, task time-lines, and procedures?
  7. Describe the agency’s risk management plan including ways to reduce/manage risks.
  8. How are new programs and services created and developed? How do they respond to changes in the interest of their clients?
  9. Describe how the department internally monitors and evaluates the programs and services that are offered. Include how the agency gets feedback from clients/participants.
  10. What steps have you taken to seek employment once you graduate? What will you do to explore job opportunities?

Midterm and Final Evaluations (Midterm 20 points, Final 70 points)

The student is responsible for ensuring that the agency supervisor has completed and submitted the Midterm Evaluation (pdf) and Final Evaluation or the mutually agreed upon (agreed to by the university advisor and agency) agency performance evaluations. Together, the student and agency supervisor will complete and review the evaluations. The Midterm Evaluation and the Final Evaluation dates will be listed on the schedule.

Student Internship Agency Profile

The student will complete a Student Internship Agency Profile (pdf) to be turned in with the Final Evaluation.

Student Evaluation of Internship (20 points)

Students will complete a Student Evaluation of Internship Experience. The evaluation provides the opportunity for the intern to supply feedback about the agency, agency intern supervisor, and university advisor. The Department welcomes suggestions to improve the individual intern experience at the agency and the university internship program. This evaluation form is not shared with the internship agency.

Digital Scrapbook (30 points)

Students will create a Digital Scrapbook of their internship experience.  Photos should include; pictures of you with your supervisor, pictures of you with participants, special event photos, pictures of facilities, pictures of projects you have created, etc. The intent is to tell the story of your internship.

Time sheets (20 points)

Each week should reflect 40 hours or more of internship work.  Each student is responsible to assure that a total of 480 hours are completed. Students must average 40 hours per week to achieve this total.  No less than 30 and no more than 60 hours per week will be counted toward the total hours. Time sheets are due according to your individual internship schedule, usually every two weeks

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