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ULN Partner Experiential Learning Guide

ULN Partners provide academic and/or professional growth for second-, third-, and fourth-year University Leadership Network (ULN) students through experiential learning opportunities. The resources below are designed to help you in all aspects of recruiting and hosting ULN students.

For more information or questions, please contact our Experiential Learning team at ulninternships@austin.utexas.edu.

ULN Partner Experiential Learning Process Guide

We want to thank the many partners who are adapting their experiential learning opportunities into high-quality remote experiences for our students. We know that this can be a challenging task and want to ensure that we are here to support you if you have any challenges, questions, or concerns. Take a look at this list of potential project ideas created by The University of Texas at Austin’s Experiential Learning Task Force, and contact ulninternships@austin.utexas.edu to schedule a Zoom chat or phone call to discuss your specific questions and concerns.

If you already hired students but are unsure if you can continue with the experience as planned, we highly encourage you to consider multiple options before canceling the opportunity, as ULN students are still required to complete an opportunity. ULN is providing maximum flexibility for students and partners to reimagine what these opportunities could look like. We recommend speaking with the student to see if there are any projects they might complete for your organization throughout the year. We would rather a student stay engaged with your site by completing a project even if it does not meet our typical hourly requirements than cancel the experience.

If you plan to cancel your experience, please contact ulninternships@austin.utexas.edu so we can work with any impacted ULN students to help them secure an experiential learning opportunity.

We recognize that some opportunities may continue to operate in person, and we do not want to limit or restrict ULN Partners from offering in-person opportunities that adhere to the health and safety precautions outlined by the CDC’s guidance to employers about how to decide whether it is safe to reopen. ULN Partners who want to post in-person opportunities must provide answers to the following questions prior to position approval:

  • Is the organization promoting healthy hygiene practices, such as regular hand-washing?
  • Has the organization intensified cleaning and disinfection of spaces and high-touch surfaces? Is there good ventilation in the space?
  • Are face masks required while in any buildings or working with people?
  • Are employees and clients (if applicable) asked to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from one another? Has the physical space been set up to accommodate social distancing in workspaces, meeting areas, and communal areas? Has the organization limited any events happening where social distancing would be difficult to maintain?
  • Is the organization promoting telework when feasible?
  • Are all employees being trained on health and safety protocols?
  • Are employees being screened for COVID-19 signs and symptoms each day?
  • Is the organization encouraging anyone who is sick to stay home? Is it offering flexible leave policies in order to ensure that people stay home if they are sick?
  • What other steps are being taken to ensure your health and the health of those you’re in contact with during the experience?

Hosting a ULN Student

ULN follows the campus recruitment policies outlined by Texas Career Engagement. It is vital to ULN that partners provide high-impact, high-quality experiential learning opportunities, particularly if students are in unpaid roles. Therefore, all unpaid experiential learning opportunities must meet the following guidelines, adapted from the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE)’s Seven Criteria for Internships:

  1. The experience must be an extension of the classroom — a learning experience that provides for applying the knowledge gained in the classroom. It must not be simply to advance the operations of the employer or be the work that a regular employee would routinely perform.
  2. The skills or knowledge learned must be transferable to other employment settings.
  3. The experience has a defined beginning and end and a job description with desired qualifications.
  4. There are clearly defined learning objectives/goals related to the professional goals of the student’s academic coursework.
  5. There is supervision by a professional with expertise and educational and/or professional background in the field of the experience.
  6. There is routine feedback by the experienced supervisor.
  7. There are resources, equipment, and facilities provided by the host employer that support learning objectives/goals.

ULN staff utilize these guidelines when reviewing and approving postings actively recruiting ULN students. ULN will contact you directly if your position is not approved and will provide suggestions for re-submission. Partners are encouraged to provide paid opportunities for ULN students whenever possible.

ULN’s Definition of Internship

An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships give students the opportunity to gain valuable applied experience and make connections in professional fields they are considering for career paths, and internships give employers the opportunity to guide and evaluate talent. Internships can be:

  • Paid or unpaid
  • For credit or not for credit
  • On or off campus
  • Between 1 and 12 months (120 to 160 hours for one semester is typical)

Summer 2021 Recruitment

Summer 2020 recruitment on HireUTexas is now active. We do not require specific start and end dates for summer positions. Please follow our guide for posting a position on HireUTexas. The deadline to submit a posting is July 5, 2021.

Fall 2021 – Spring 2022 Recruitment

You may still recruit ULN students for the upcoming academic year. All roles must be posted on HireUTexas by August 30, 2021. Please follow our guide for posting a position on HireUTexas. If you are offering an unpaid position, ULN students may work from August 25 – December 6 excluding breaks and holidays.

All ULN experiential learning opportunities are posted on HireUTexas powered by Handshake. If you have any challenges creating an account, please contact hireutexas@austin.utexas.edu.

First, please consult our guide and this step-by-step video to learn how to post a ULN position on HireUTexas powered by Handshake. When naming your position, please use “ULN EL: Your Job Title” as a template to ensure your position is reviewed in a timely fashion.

All positions must also include a description of the student’s activities and the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) career readiness competencies the student can expect to gain during the experience. These career competencies are essential for providing a rewarding experience for the student and ensuring the experience will provide valuable skills that can benefit the student upon graduation. If you would like additional support in developing your position descriptions, contact the Experiential Learning team at ulninternships@austin.utexas.edu.

All submitted positions are subject to ULN’s approval to ensure the experience will provide key skills for ULN students. ULN utilizes NACE’s Seven Criteria for Internships to evaluate experiential learning opportunities. You may submit multiple internship proposals for different positions or one proposal for multiple students in the same position.

Once a proposal is received and reviewed, you will receive approval from ULN’s Experiential Learning team.

ULN offers expectation guidelines for both ULN students and ULN Partners. We encourage all ULN Partners to meet with their ULN students at the beginning of their experiential learning opportunity to discuss overall expectations, share what the student can expect from your supervision, and explore the student’s expectations and goals for the experience. You are encouraged to review, incorporate, and build upon ULN’s expectation guidelines as you prepare for your initial meeting. These guidelines also detail how to address unmet expectations and potential conflicts at your site and how the ULN Experiential Learning team can support you throughout the process.

ULN Student Expectations ULN Partner Expectations

Best practices to consider:

All ULN Partners supervising ULN students in unpaid roles are required to attend a ULN Partner training. This session will provide all of the information you need to effectively supervise a ULN student, including appropriate onboarding and evaluation information. If you attended a ULN Partner training prior to May 3, 2019, you are required to attend the latest version of the training, which discusses programmatic and policy changes in greater depth.

Contact ulninternships@austin.utexas.edu to schedule a 30-minute training on Zoom or over the phone.

All on-campus ULN Partners should proceed with their typical departmental onboarding process for new student staff. ULN students in on-campus positions are required to have a Workday assignment.

Using Workday for ULN Assignments

All off-campus ULN Partners should proceed with their typical onboarding process for new staff. ULN does not require any specific paperwork from off-campus partners.

  • Communication:
    • Practice and foster open communication. Supervision is a weekly time that your ULN student has your full attention.
    • Incorporate active listening skills into your supervision.
    • Open supervision sessions with open-ended statements like “What would you like to discuss today?” or “How can I help support you this week?”
  • Growth and Development:
    • Focus on your student’s personal growth and development. Because these are developmental experiences, provide space to discuss your ULN student’s future career goals. Previous supervisors have reviewed resumes and discussed ideas for future experiential learning opportunities with their ULN students.
    • Discuss learning agreement progress and ways you can support your student in attaining their goals.
    • Explore potential professional development opportunities for students at your site. Incorporate ULN students as much as possible into your staff’s professional development opportunities.
  • Projects and Assignments:
    • Consider working with your student to develop a long-term project they can complete at your site. This ensures the student leaves with meaningful, marketable skills and benefits your site.
    • Assign and/or brainstorm potential tasks or projects. Discuss ongoing project development and progress.
    • Brainstorm ways the student can utilize downtime at your site.

The ULN Experiential Learning team is here to support you if you see performance concerns with a ULN student. ULN provides a three-step process for addressing performance concerns, outlined in our expectation guidelines for ULN students and ULN Partners. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact ulninterships@austin.utexas.edu.

 

Ongoing feedback is a vital part of supervising ULN students. You are encouraged to utilize weekly supervision sessions for you and your ULN student to share feedback with one another. This open communication often quickly addresses potential performance concerns. Revisit and revise your expectations as necessary with your ULN student.

In addition to ongoing feedback, ULN requires site supervisors to provide end-of-semester evaluations to their ULN students. These evaluations recognize ULN students’ growth and opportunities for additional development. If you completed an initial learning agreement, evaluations should be tied to the goals outlined in the agreement.

ULN’s student self-evaluation and partner evaluation templates are provided as a potential tool for these end-of-semester evaluations. ULN recommends that you provide the self-evaluation form to your student prior to your evaluation meeting so together you can discuss their progress and growth. The information you collect is designed to be utilized internally at your site and does not need to be shared with ULN.