Managing Interns

Finding time in an already busy schedule to manage an Intern can be a challenge, but appropriate supervision is critical to the success of the process for both the host institution and the Intern. Here are some tips for creating an experience that will be beneficial to both the host and the Intern.

  • Prepare for the Intern's arrival.  Identify potential projects and tasks before the Intern arrives.
  • The Intern should be assigned to report to one specific person, and this person should be enthusiastic about having an Intern.
  • While the Intern may assist with many tasks, s/he should be assigned to one primary project at a time. It may be a good idea to start with a small project to assess the Intern's capabilities, and then a larger project that requires less close supervision may be assigned.
  • Be clear about goals for assigned projects. Specify how progress will be measured.
  • Set a schedule and process for checking in on project progress.
  • Let the intern know that it is okay to ask questions.  If there are times when the supervisor should not be interrupted, make this clear.
  • Create an evaluation rubric for the intern and supervisor to complete together at regular intervals.
  • Look for opportunities outside of the daily duties that could help the Intern build skills towards his or her interests.
  • Set aside some time to chat with the Intern and make sure things are going smoothly.
  • Make sure the Intern feels included in office/department events. Have him or her participate in office meetings, when appropriate.
  • Give the Intern adequate warning if there are events that could or should be attended outside normal working hours.
  • Let the Intern know if certain people will be out of the office during the internship and how that may affect his or her duties.
  • Apply theories/approaches to the work the student is doing. Open up a discussion.