Experience More. Explore What’s Next.

Internships are an important part of experiential learning.  Taking what you as a student have learned in the classroom and applying it in a professional setting.  It is also an important step in securing a position after graduation, as more and more employers are seeking students who have had internship experience during their undergraduate studies. At Wartburg, internships, field experiences, and job shadowing are required in some majors and encouraged in all majors. The Center for Careers, Vocation & Purpose offers resources to assist with resume and cover letter development, mock interviewing, and guidance on potential internships in the Cedar Valley.

Jo Dorrance

Associate Director for Internships

All internships that earn academic credit must demonstrate learning objectives and academic goals and performance, including integration of theory and practice.   Just as in the traditional classroom there are learning objectives and learning strategies that differ from class to class and from discipline to discipline, so too different internships in different disciplines and at different internship sites will have distinct learning objectives that may be accomplished through a wide range of learning activities.  Faculty, students, and site supervisors have the freedom to negotiate academic goals and requirements appropriate to the specific internship; what is non-negotiable is that there be specific academic learning goals that require reflection, in some form, upon the work experience.

A carefully- and mutually-designed internship project is often effective in ensuring academic and integrative learning.  While methods of evaluating academic goals may vary, common activities include:  term paper, daily log/journal, portfolio, or summary presentation.

Because internships are learning partnerships, it is important for faculty and site supervisors to share responsibility for teaching and mentoring students.  This means that some regular interaction (through personal visits, email, phone calls, or letters) is important.

At all phases of the internship process, the Internship Coordinator will serve as a resource to students, faculty, and the site supervisor.  Specific facilitation may be useful with student reflection and goal-development; site-identification; learning contract development; internship etiquette training; maintenance of partnership with internship site; evaluation and assessment of internship.

Individual departments have their own policies and procedures for internships, above and beyond those found here.  Each department chair can provide that information.  Most internships are graded P/D/F, however, it is a departmental option to propose to the EPC that their department assign a letter grade.

Internship creation is usually handled by individual faculty members and students, with the help of the internship coordinator.  Internships involve both a site supervisor and a faculty supervisor, so that the student may learn from both.  The faculty supervisor may or may not be the student’s advisor, but should offer appropriate disciplinary and professional expertise.  Departments manage their own supervisory arrangements, however.

  1. The student and faculty supervisor plan an internship by determining what type of experience(s) best suits the student’s educational, personal, and professional goals.  A list of possible sites may result from this initial step; a list of possible learning objectives, hopes, concerns, and other considerations should also result.
  2. The student may work with the internship coordinator to identify opportunities, and she/he may search for leads through the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) by checking appropriate online listings, websites, company files, internship publications, AlumNet, and other opportunities.  Career Services assists the student in developing a resume and cover letter/email.
  3. The student, faculty sponsor or internship coordinator contact potential internship sites to discuss partnership possibilities.  The faculty member and internship coordinator bear responsibility for ensuring that the internship site and partner are safe, effective, and appropriate learning environments.
  4. Students are advised of the risks associated with any off-campus activity and are asked to review and sign the Experiential Learning Waiver.
  5. The student arranges and conducts an interview with the site.
  6. Before accepting a position, the student, faculty supervisor, and site supervisor discuss key issues (see attached questions) and develop a Learning Contract (forms attached here; they will be available online, in the CCE and from the Registrar).
  7. When the internship Learning Contract has been approved, a letter of confirmation from the student or Internship Coordinator to both supervisors may be useful, outlining the process for the semester.
  8. The completed Learning Contract or “registration-only” portion of the learning contract is filed with the Registrar by the internship coordinator, at which point the student is officially registered for the academic internship.
  • Credit-based internships are open to third- and fourth-year students with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher; some departments may have other criteria as well.
  • One full academic credit involves a minimum of 140 contact hours in the term; one half-credit involves 70 hours.  However, academic credit is issued not solely for hours worked but for academic learning demonstrated.
  • No more than 4 internship credits may be awarded toward a student’s graduation.
  • Student interns are limited to 2 credits per internship site.
  • Students are required to fully complete an internship learning contract and submit it to the internship coordinator by the drop/add date each term, or submit a “registration-only” portion (Sections A, D & E) of the learning contract by the same date.  The “registration-only” specifies student intern contact information, faculty sponsor, title of internship position, course number, number of credits, internship start and completion dates. The signatures of the intern, faculty sponsor, faculty advisor, department chair and internship coordinator are also required for this paperwork to enroll them in the course. The learning objectives and job responsibilities sections (Parts B & C) of the learning contract are to be completed by the student and the site supervisor once the internship is active. The site supervisor signature is required at that time.  Students must complete and submit final paperwork to the internship coordinator within 21class days of the start of the term (or 8 class days into the term for .5 credits, 3 class days into the term for May term and 5 class days into the term for Summer).  Full full-term internships, students will receive a warning notice from the internship coordinator at the 14-day mark into the term.  If the completed learning contract is not received by the appropriate day for the term as outlined above, the student will automatically be dropped from the internship and receive a “W” on their transcript. Internships are facilitated by the internship coordinator and evaluated by the sponsoring department and/or faculty.


  • Basilica of St. Mary
  • Evangelical Church in America
  • First Lutheran Church
  • St. Paul’s Lutheran Church & School
  • Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Sugar Creek Bible Camp


  • Benchmarking Partners
  • Cargill
  • CUNA Mutual Insurance Group
  • H & R Block
  • MED Alliance Group
  • Merrill Lynch
  • The Principal Financial Group
  • VGM Financial Services


  • Black Hawk Country YMCA
  • Cedar Falls Rec
  • Covenant Wellness Center
  • Roc Fit Gym
  • Waterloo Black Hawks 
  • Waterloo Bucks

Media & Marketing

  • Amperage
  • Archives of Iowa Broadcasting
  • College Humor Media
  • Cumulus Broadcasting
  • Digital Office Solutions
  • Infinite Image Design
  • KWAY Radio
  • Mudd Advertising
  • On Media
  • Passport Magazine
  • Photography by Christine
  • Quad City Broadcasting
  • River Falls Journal
  • Strictly Social Media


  • Algonguin Animal Clinic
  • Kerby Family Dental
  • Mercy Medical Center
  • Northern Iowa Therapy
  • Spencer Municipal Hospital
  • Taylor Physical Therapy
  • Waverly Health Center

Social Services

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Cedar Valley United Way
  • Friends of the Family
  • Heal One World
  • Heal the Family Inc
  • Lutheran Services in Iowa
  • North Iowa Juvenile Detention Center
  • Self-Help International

Waverly Area

  • Bartels Lutheran Home
  • Duos Coffee and Ice Cream
  • First National Bank
  • Kaiser Corson Funeral Homes
  • Miller’s True Value
  • Nestle
  • Rada Manufacturing
  • Sasquatch Jacks
  • Waverly Area Development
  • Waverly Bowl Inn
  • Waverly Chamber of Commerce
  • Waverly Golf and Country Club
  • Waverly Light and Power
  • Waverly Newspapers
  • Waverly Police Department
  • Waverly Shell Rock Area United Way

Other Area Businesses

  • Century 21 Real Estate
  • Cheyenne Mt. Zoo
  • Grout Museum District
  • Hartman Reserve Nature Center
  • John Deere
  • Mercy Housing Human Resources
  • Readlyn Telephone Company
  • Target Distribution
  • Waterloo Conventions and Visitors Bureau

Responsibilities of the Student

  1. Reflect upon, identify and discuss interests and possible internship sites with appropriate faculty members and/or internship coordinator.
  2. Complete resume/cover letter with the help of Career Services.
  3. Return to CCE to pursue site selection as appropriate, in consultation with faculty supervisor and Internship Coordinator.
  4. Work with site supervisor and faculty supervisor to create meaningful learning objectives and ways to achieve and evaluate them.
  5. Understand and adhere to host organization’s policies, including those regarding confidentiality.
  6. Carry out all designated responsibilities with the organization and the faculty supervisor, including all assignments and projects articulated in the learning contract.
  7. Write a final report and/or assessment of the internship experience in accordance with faculty and site supervisor expectations.
  8. Be creative, flexible, professional, inquisitive, responsive, and responsible.
  9. Be aware of the contributions of those around you to your own learning.
  10. Seek opportunities for learning, growth and challenge.
  11. Bring any questions or concerns promptly to the site supervisor, faculty supervisor, and/or Internship Coordinator.

Responsibilities of Community Partner/Site Supervisor

  1. Provide the intern with a safe work environment and with meaningful, progressively-responsible work that meets the mutually-defined needs and expectations of the partnership.
  2. Communicate with the faculty supervisor and intern regarding development, oversight, and evaluation of the internship.
  3. Share wisdom and experience with the intern: tips; meaning-making strategies; books or articles; perspectives.
  4. State clearly and concretely expectations of the intern and the faculty supervisor, including issues of oversight and autonomy.
  5. Develop reasonable and mutually beneficial evaluation and oversight mechanisms.
  6. Work with the intern and faculty supervisor to connect the internship and its project to the specific goals and projects of the organization, and to connect the professional field to the academic field.
  7. Meet with the intern periodically to evaluate progress, plan future work, and discuss potential or actual problems.
  8. Confer with the faculty supervisor or internship coordinator for mid-term review and final evaluation of the intern and the internship as partnership.

Responsibilities of the Faculty Supervisor and/or Internship Coordinator
(Balance and collaboration to be determined by those parties, except as noted.)

  1. Work with student to explore his/her goals and desires and to consider possible sites for appropriate projects.
  2. Help student understand and explore the relationships between academic learning and experiential or professional learning.
  3. Support student in locating and developing the partnership with the organization.
  4. Represent the college in building and sustaining collaborative partnerships with community organization.
  5. Be alert to challenges or problems at the site; ensure that any problems are promptly and appropriately addressed.
  6. FACULTY: Clarify learning outcomes and steps to achieve and evaluate them, with attention to academic learning as well as workplace learning.  This will likely include assigning appropriate reading and writing.
  7. FACULTY: Read and respond to assignments (logs, journals, analysis, final projects); discuss with the intern and site supervisor as appropriate. 
  8. FACULTY: Assign a grade (usually P/D/F) to the student based on reasonable and collaborative evaluation of student performance.
  9. INTERNSHIP COORDINATOR: serve as primary consultant for risk management and liability issues.

Internships are one kind of experiential learning, which means they are a method of learning through experience.  Experiential education is based on research that shows students learn better when they are engaged in experiencing that which they are studying.  Experiential education also hinges on the integration of theory with practice, experience with reflection.  Many disciplines and professions have used internships for much of their history, and many more are adopting them now as a way to enhance academic learning, enrich integrative and reflective opportunities, and promote work/career development.  Because internships are also community partnerships, they can serve as vehicles for greater campus-community engagement.  Thus, internships provide students with a unique opportunity to integrate academic learning with professional preparation and grounded, community-based experience as part of their vocational discernment and participation.

Email and Social Media Etiquette

Dress for Success

Elevator Speech and Interviewing

  1. Summer internships
    Many students do internships over the summer, for academic credit or not.  The same requirements apply to academic internships over the summer as during the school year, including that regarding appropriate disciplinary/professional supervision.
  2. Special internship programs
    Wartburg West and other programs still under development are all “special” internship opportunities.  They have their own purposes, processes and procedures; students, faculty, and community members are advised to speak to the leaders of those programs or the Internship Coordinator directly for more information.
  3. Paid and unpaid internships
    Some internship opportunities are paid by the host organization; others are not.  Payment may be made in either stipend or hourly-wage form, but in both cases must conform to minimum-wage laws.  Compensation details are between the intern and the site, but care should be taken to preserve the educational integrity of the internship (as opposed to employment) relationship.