COMM 410 INTERNSHIP
Dept of Speech
The Communication Internship (COMM 410) provides students with an opportunity
to earn academic credits via a meaningful work experience. Through
an internship students can experience possible career situations and work
in organizations commensurate with their interests. More importantly,
internships allow students the chance to draw upon what they have learned
about communication in classroom settings.
An intern is like a ethnographic or naturalistic researcher. He or
she participates in a work experience or organization as he or she observes
it. Interns study the organization through their experience and interaction
with others and via performing their internship tasks.
To be eligible for the COMM 410 Internship program, students must:
1. Be a Communication (COMM) major.
2. Be a Liberal Studies major with Communication
as a primary part of the Liberal Studies program.
3. Have completed 21 credits in the
Communication (COMM) major.
4. Have an overall GPA of 2.3 or higher
5. Have a COMM GPA of 2.7 or higher
Determining Credit Hours
12 hours of credit: 40 hours per week
9 hours of credit: 30 hours per week
6 hours of credit: 20 hours per week
3 hours of credit: 10 hours per week
1. Students must submit a typed COMM 410 internship proposal
to a COMM faculty member who participates in the program. The proposal
a. Detail the nature of the internship
work (the work the intern will do).
b. Indicate the hours per week worked and the length
of the internship (number of weeks). Based on that, calculate the number
of credits you hope to receive. The general credit hour formula
is as follows: 1 credit for each 30 to 40 hours of internship work time.
Consequently, a 12 credit internship requires about 40 hours of work weekly for ten weeks.
JUSTIFY Communication (COMM) credit for the proposed work. A
good internship allows the student to observe or participate in a variety of significant communication
events, situations, etc. This justification should feature possible
communication theories and concepts that could be applied to communication activity
the student anticipates in the internship.
d. Explain how the internship
fits into the student's overall COMM or Liberal Studies program and relates
to career aspirations.
e. Specify the date by which all written
internship material will be submitted to the faculty sponsor.
f. Include a current transcript.
2. Internship proposals should be submitted to potential
faculty sponsors at least three weeks before preregistration for the term
in which the internship will take place.
The faculty member to whom the student has submitted the internship proposal
will review that proposal to determine approval status. If the internship
is not approved, the student may revise and resubmit the proposal or seek
an internship that is appropriate for academic communication (COMM) credit.
Upon approval, the student must:
1. Turn in a variable credit form, signed
by both the student and the faculty sponsor. Variable credit forms
are available in the Speech Communication Department Central Office and should
be turned in there. Students who do not turn in a variable credit form
will be "no show-dropped."
2. OPTIONAL; At the discretion of the
faculty sponsor: Complete an internship contract, signed by the on-site
supervisor, student, and sponsoring faculty member.
Completing the Internship
In order to earn academic credit for the internship, students must submit
the following materials for evaluation:
1. Periodic written work, such as:
(per forty hours of internship) communication activity reports (Dr. Walker
2. A final analytical paper, term length.
3. A letter of evaluation from the student's
on-site supervisor, sent directly to the faculty sponsor.
4. All internship materials should be
turned in no later than the second day of finals week, unless another due
date has been arranged with the faculty sponsor.
Internship Deadlines and Incomplete Policy
Internships should be completed within the academic term. Incompletes
will not be assigned without prior approval.
1. Unless arranged otherwise and with prior approval of
the faculty sponsor, internships should end by the last day of classes prior
to final exam week.
2. All internship materials should be submitted to the
faculty sponsor within the subsequent four day period (for example, by Tuesday
of finals week of a regular term). If not, students may receive a "No
3. Students whose internships extend beyond the last regular
class day of the term and/or cannot submit their work within the four following
days must request receiving an incomplete from the faculty sponsor.
4. Ideally, incompletes should be anticipated and arranged
prior to the beginning of the internship, but no later than three weeks prior
to the end of the term.
5. Faculty will not assign incompletes ("I") without prior
arrangement. Students whose work is not submitted by the confirmed
due date will receive "No Pass" or "N." Under normal circumstances,
"N" grades will not be later changed.
6. Students should consult specific deadlines that may
apply to particular terms, such as Summer Session.
(As required by Dr. Walker)
Part of internship work involves the preparation of "Communication Activity
Reports" (CAR). These reports should be prepared and submitted weekly
or for every 40 hours of internship. A 20 hour per week internship,
for example, warrants a community activity report every other week.
Any alternate schedule must be arranged ahead of time. By submitting
CARs weekly or regularly, the student can receive instructor evaluation for
her or his work. That evaluation should help the student as she or
he develops the final internship paper.
Each Communication Activity Report should include three parts: (1) description
of internship activity, (2) personal reflections on or reactions to that
activity (some commentary), and (3) analysis of a significant communication
experience, activity, or event that occurred during that week. The
latter is particularly important and too frequently overlooked by interns.
Description of Internship Activity (Approximately 1 to 2 pages)
Each CAR should begin with a descriptive account of intern work for that
week. Interns should indicate what kinds of tasks they performed.
What was the nature of one's work activity for the week?
Reflections/Reactions (Approximately 1 to 2 pages)
Following the descriptive material, CARs should feature discussion of "personal
reactions" or "reflections" concerning that week's work activity. Interns
might discuss what they learned about the profession, the organization, themselves,
etc. What particular experiences were particularly educational or enlightening?
Interns might discuss what they thought and felt about their work activity:
were they pleased, satisfied, frustrated, etc.?
Analysis of Communication Activity (Approximately 2 to 3 pages)
Lastly, interns should analyze a particular communication event, incident,
experience, etc. The episode should involve significant communication
activity, such as a planning meeting, client conference, conflict interchange,
compliance-gaining situation, symbolic event, etc. The analysis should
include a summary description of the event, i.e., who, when, how, what happened.
Following that, the discussion should introduce communication concepts
appropriate for analyzing the event and then apply those concepts.
For example, a communication incident might be meaningfully understood via
small group concepts (groupthink, coalitions), interpersonal concepts (compliance-gaining,
self-disclosure), conflict concepts (trained incapacity, face), organizational
concepts (culture, climate), rhetorical concepts (identification, myth),
and so on. This analysis should be specific (rather than generic),
thereby demonstrating the intern's ability to interpret communication activity
in terms of pertinent communication theories and concepts.
Interns should not wait until the end of their internships experience to
submit their CARs. Doing so does not allow for any instructor feedback.
FINAL PAPER GUIDELINES
by Dr. Walker)
The final internship paper is a critical part of the internship experience.
Your paper should display a thoughtful, significant academic effort. The
paper should be term length (12-25 pages with references), well organized
and argued, and exhibit college-level academic writing style.
The paper should assess communication variables that are significant features
of the internship experience. The discussion should address what the
internship has revealed about communication. More precisely, the paper
should present an analytical comparison of the internship and your academic
experience in communication. This paper is a type of term or research
paper, with the internship experience representing empirical research.
During your internship you will function, to a degree, like a "participant
observer." Your classroom experiences (readings, writing, lectures,
discussion) should provide the theories and concepts needed to analyze your
internship experience. Consequently, your analysis might consider the
following (and related) issues:
1. What has the internship revealed (or what have you learned
from the internship) about communication in contexts?
a. About interpersonal communication?
b. About group and organizational communication?
c. About public communication?
2. What has the internship revealed about communication
processes and theories?
a. About conflict management?
b. About intercultural communication?
c. About person perception and information
d. About communication research?
3. What has the internship revealed about rhetorical processes
a. About persuasion, social influence,
and public discourse?
b. About argumentation, critical thinking,
analysis, and problem-solving?
4. What have you learned from your internship about communication
5. How does what you have learned about communication via
the internship compare with what you have learned about communication via
a. What in the internship reinforces
b. What in the internship contradicts
c. What in the internship has not been
(and should be addressed) in the communication curriculum?
6. Overall, has the internship been a constructive communication
learning experience? How might it be improved?
These questions offer suggested areas of exploration. If you identify
topical areas that are more meaningful to the task at hand, pursue them.
Regardless of the questions and issues you address, you should, where appropriate,
cite specific course notes and reading materials.
SUPERVISOR LETTER OF EVALUATION
In addition to written papers (Communication Activity Reports, logs, the
final paper, etc.), students should solicit a letter of evaluation from their
onsite supervisor. This letter should be written at or near the end
of the internship and sent directly to the appropriate faculty sponsor.
The letter of evaluation should discuss and assess the student intern's contribution
to the sponsoring organization. Possible evaluation areas include:
1. Knowledge of the job. Consider the extent of the
intern's knowledge of her or his job. Does the intern know what to
do and why? Is the intern alert to increasing her or his knowledge?
2. Quality of work. Consider the intern's ability
to produce work that meets standards of quality, including accuracy and neatness
3. Quantity of work. Consider the amount of work
the intern has handled under normal circumstances. Has the work performed
met quantity standards?
4. Attitude. Consider the intern's attitude toward
work, the organization, and colleagues. Does the intern work well with
others, including peers, supervisors, and subordinates?
5. Reliability and responsibility. Consider the intern's
ability to handle responsibility, work under pressure, and follow job assignments
through to completion. Is the intern dependable? Does the intern
act ethically, in a manner consistent with the expectations of the organization?
6. Judgment and decision making. Consider the intern's
ability to make appropriate decisions and use work time productively.
Does the intern allocate time adequately and display self-discipline?
Does the intern engage in sufficient planning and preparation? Does
the intern know when to consult others?
7. Flexibility and adaptability. Consider the intern's
ability to learn quickly and adapt to changing conditions. Can the
intern handle crisis situations?
8. Communication and competence. Consider the intern's
ability to communicate appropriately and effectively, both orally and in
written work. Does the intern communicate well in different settings,
such as in groups and with the public?
9. Personal characteristics. Consider the intern's
disposition, integrity, character, appearance, and other relevant personal
factors. Does the intern represent the organization well?
10. Professional growth. Consider the intern's maturation
or growth during the work experience. Does the intern respond well
to constructive criticism? Has the intern exhibited professional improvement?
The letter should be sent to the appropriate faculty sponsor, Department
of Speech Communication, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-6199.
OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY
CORVALLIS OR 97331-6199