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Center for Pathway Experiences

Best Practices for Internships, Fieldwork and Other Pathway Experiences

The Center of Pathway Experiences encourages faculty coordinating internships, fieldwork or other pathway experiences for credit to consider the following:

Internship/Fieldwork/Pathway Experience Position Guidelines:

  • Tied to Academic Studies: Internships, Fieldwork, Pathway experiences should be directly to tied to academic programs/majors at the University of Southern Mississippi and provide a hands-on learning opportunity for students directly linked to their post-graduation career or academic goals. The Center advocates that 80% of the student's work time should be focused on activities that support this post-graduation goal, and are in line with preparing students for entry level positions within the field.
  • Supervision: Does the student report to a specific supervisor on site?  We encourage setting up a Learning Agreement between the faculty sponsor, student and site supervisor to insure that adequate supervision will be provided and identified learning outcomes are achieved.
  • Orientation/Training: Does the internship site provide the student with an overall orientation and training regarding the Company/Organization and position? Asking for clarifying details from the site to insure what sort of on-boarding or training will be provided
  • Reflection and Evaluation: We encourage you to collect evaluation feedback from both the site supervisor and the student to insure that the learning goals are met and in line with SACSCOC measures. Sites that provide ongoing feedback to students will be viewed as employers of choice by their peers.
  • Paid or Unpaid:Internships, Fieldwork or Pathways may be paid or unpaid but careful consideration should be taken to insure that the position does not displace a regular employee. For more information, please consult the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the National Assocation of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Position on Unpaid Internships.
  • Verify the Legitimacy of the Company/Organization: Unfortunately due to scams and fraudulent schemes, we encourage you to verify the legitimacy of the company/organization and position on behalf of a student.  In general, things to consider include: 
  • Does the organization/company have a verifiable physical work address? The Center will not approve internships, fieldwork or pathways that are located in-home based environments or that are 100% virtual or remote.
  • Does the business have a verifiable URL address?  Please note not all businesses or non-profits will have a website but will still be legitimate.  So utilizing other methods to check on the status of the company are recommended.
  • Does the employer/organization have an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Affirmative Action (AA) statement and agree to abide by any applicable Local, State or Federal laws?
  • Does the employer require the student to be an "independent contractor" for the purposes of setting up their own business or require that the student pay a fee or provide funds to work at the organization? This DOES NOT include professional licensure fees that may need to be covered by the employee (e.g., insurance licensing fees to sell insurance, etc.).
  • When in doubt, we encourage students to conduct a search of the company on the Better Business Bureau website or a search engine such as Google to see if any complaints filed against the organization warrant concern.
  • For international internships/pathways, we recommend that you ask students to verify that the site is not located in countries on the Government Sanctioned List or the U.S. State Department Travel Warning List.  For questions or concerns about legal issues regarding international opportunities, please consult with the University of Southern Mississippi's Office of General Council or the Office of Study Abroad.

International Students (F-1 and J-1 visa holding students):

Contact Us

Center for Pathway Experiences
McLemore Hall, First Floor

Hattiesburg Campus

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Email
pathwaysFREEMississippi

Phone
601.266.4976