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Southern Oregon University

Practicum Employer

1.  What is a practicum/internship?

2.  What is the academic background of students who apply for practicum placements?

3.  What can the student do for a business or organization?

4.  When can a student begin an internship and how long can he or she work?

5.  How many hours do students typically work?

6.  What are the responsibilities of the employer?

7.  What are the student's responsibilities?

8.  Does the student receive pay for his or her work?

9.  Are students provided with liability and workers' compensation coverage?

10.  Will interested businesses and organizations have to sign a formal practicum contract with the university?

11.  How does an employer post an internship opportunity?


Q1.  What is a practicum/internship?

A practicum/internship is a work experience in an on- or off-campus setting for which a student receives academic credit. Supervision is provided for the student at the place of assignment by a designated on-site supervisor. An academic coordinator on campus further supervises and evaluates the student's progress and serves in a liaison capacity between the experience site and the university.

Q2. What is the academic background of students who apply for practicum placements?

Juniors, seniors, and graduate students are eligible for practicum placements. Juniors would have completed most of the general education requirements and all of the lower-division courses in the business core, including courses in basic computing, accounting, communication, and statistics. Seniors would have completed at least a year of upper-division courses in business administration, much of which would be in their specialty areas. Graduate (MBA or MiM) students hold a baccalaureate degree, in business or non-business areas.

Q3. What can the student do for a business or organization?

In addition to the normal duties performed by others in your business or organization, students might perform one or more of the following:

  • Assist in developing a business plan
  • Research and report on assigned topics
  • Conduct a survey
  • Prepare a personnel policy manual
  • Research tax matters
  • Install computer software packages
  • Devise an inventory control system
  • Conduct a financial analysis of your business
  • Assist in marketing/promotion efforts
  • Ideally, the work plan for the student should show an increase in knowledge and skill required and in the variety of tasks performed.

Q4. When can a student begin an internship and how long can he or she work?

Normally, the student will enroll in a practicum at the beginning of a 10-week term and finish at the end of the term; however, the practicum may begin and end at any time that is mutually agreed upon by the academic department, the site supervisor, and the student.

Q5. How many hours do students typically work?

The student must work at least 30 hours for every one credit earned. Most students enroll for three or four credit hours, and, thus, would work from 90-120 hours during the term. Additional credit hours may be granted under special circumstances. Students may earn a maximum of 15 credits in BA 409 Practicum toward their bachelor's degree; however, students must work closely with their advisor to determine the applicability of these credits toward their business degree.

Q6. What are the employer’s responsibilities?

The employer provides opportunities to apply theory to everyday business challenges, to further develop skills, and to network with professionals in the industry. The employer is expected to spend sufficient time supervising the student to ensure that the objectives of the practicum agreement are met. The supervisor is expected to periodically evaluate the student and to meet and coordinate with the campus Internship Coordinator (Coordinator) when planned or called upon to do so. 

There is no obligation on the part of the business to pay the student. Traditionally, practica are paid in some industries; in others, they are not. Applications to list an internship should indicate whether or not there is intent to pay. If the issue of pay is not addressed in the internship description, questions may be directed to the Coordinator. Because many students must work in order to afford tuition and living costs, paid experiences tend to be highly appealing.

It has been established that students who are earning practicum credit(s) are NOT employees of the university. The university is prohibited from accepting any liability for the acts, omissions, and conduct of the students and is prohibited from providing coverage with State Accident Insurance, liability insurance, or workers' compensation insurance. Because this is a legal issue, no definitive answer can be provided; however, prudence would argue that the employer should at least provide workers' compensation coverage.

Q7.  What are the student's responsibilities?

Students are expected to apply for an internship just as if they were applying for an actual job.  They should supply a resume and transcripts if requested.  They are expected to arrive to the work site on time based on a predetermined schedule and to perform to the best of their ability.  Whether the internship is paid or not, the students are expected to display the upmost professionalism and to communicate to the employer if they feel the internship goals are not being met for any reason.  Students must establish specific goals for their internship at the beginning of the term and will report on their ability to meet those goals by the end of the term. 

During the Internship, the student must obtain from the employer:

  • Work Site Agreement
  • Agreement of Work Objectives
  • Midterm Evaluation
  • Final Evaluation
  • Final Verified Time Sheet

The evaluation of the student is an important part of the learning process.  Candid, constructive, and immediate performance feedback is an important part of the student's professional development.  We greatly appreciate your involvement in the students' learning process.  (More information is available in the student handbook on the internship student information page.)

Q8. Does the student receive pay for his or her work?

There is no obligation on the part of the business to pay the student. Traditionally, practica are paid in some industries, in others they are not. Applications to list an internship should indicate whether or not there is an intent to offer pay for the internship. If the issue of pay is not addressed in the internship description, questions may be directed to the School of Business or to the Director of Business Services. Because many students must work in order to afford tuition and living costs, paid experiences tend to be highly appealing.

Q9. Are students provided with liability and workers' compensation coverage?

It has been established that students who are earning practicum credit(s) are NOT employees of the university. The university is prohibited from accepting any liability for the acts, omissions, and conduct of the students, and is prohibited from providing coverage with State Accident Insurance, liability insurance, or workers' compensation insurance. Because this is a legal issue, no definitive answer can be provided, however, prudence would argue that you should provide for coverage, at least for workers' compensation.

Q10. Will interested businesses and organizations have to sign a formal practicum contract with the university?

A signed "Work-Site/University Agreement" form should be signed and on file with the Director of Business Services at Southern Oregon University for any organization offering practicum experience.

Q11. How does an employer post an internship opportunity?

Employers may post internship and job opportunities on the University website at:  www.sou.edu/careers

You will be asked to set up an account on CareerLink,which is very fast and easy to do.  Then you can manage your own postings.  If you would like your posting to show on the bulletin board in the School of Business, please also send a copy of the internship description to the Internship Coordinator, Jane C. Picknell.  

Contact Jane C. Picknell in the School of Business Internship Office for assistance in setting up a practicum: picknelj@sou.edu   541-552-8018