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Frequently Asked Questions

about Mentoring

Which students are served by the program?

Students who take the course EXPRL 191, 192, or 193  (Academic Internship Experience) are paired with a Faculty Mentor. They receive 1-5 credits, depending on the total number of hours they work at their internship. You can view the course syllabus for further information about course requirements.

Several departments, such as Digital Media Arts and Interior Design, offer course credit for internships, but those students register for credit within their respective department and are therefore not paired with a mentor through our program. However, the Academic Internship Program does help these students in finding and applying for internships.

How are students and mentors paired?

We encourage EXPRL 191 students to select their own mentor. It works best if the student and instructor already know each other, so we recommend that they approach a current or past instructor. If the student can’t find an instructor with time to commit, we will find a mentor for him or her.

How can I become a mentor?

We’re always looking for faculty members who are interested in supporting our student interns. If you are interested in being a Faculty Mentor, please contact the Internship Coordinator at

What does a mentor provide?

Mentors help student interns by:

  • Giving feedback on internship assignments
  • Helping make connections between the internship experience and academic learning
  • Answering industry-specific questions
  • Providing professional advice on career pathways and other career-related issues

What is the time commitment?

The overall time commitment of a Faculty Mentor is approximately three hours over the course of one academic quarter.

What specifically does a mentor do?

The mentor meets with the student about once a month:

  1. Shortly after the internship begins, the mentor meets with the student to review or help establish his/her Learning Objectives. The mentor and student can use this time to discuss any other internship- or career–related topics.
  2. Mid-way through the internship, the mentor reviews the student’s mid-internship reflection essay, and the mentor and student discuss the progress of the internship.
  3. When the internship is over, the mentor offers feedback on the student's Final Paper and attends the Final Meeting with the Internship Coordinator and the student. The student presents a summary of his/her internship and explains how he/she met the 3 learning objectives. The Internship Coordinator and Faculty Mentor ask the student questions related to the internship experience and the student’s career pathway.

It is the student's responsibility to set up these meeting times, but you should notify the Internship Coordinator and seek to reschedule if the student misses an appointment.

What does a mentor gain?

Faculty members who have participated in the past have offered glowing reviews of the experience.

  • Mentors connect with students on a personal and professional level, and they get satisfaction from helping a student succeed in their transition from school to work.
  • They also gain valuable insight on the relevance of their course content to the work world.
  • We also offer faculty members a $100 stipend for their participation in the program.

What are the Internship Coordinator’s role and responsibilities?

The Internship Coordinator is the primary contact at Bellevue College for students and employers – both before the internship has been secured and after the student has registered for credit. The Coordinator is responsible for:

  • Helping students finding a Faculty Mentor
  • Monitoring the student's progress throughout the internship
  • Being available to the student, employer, and faculty mentor in case any issues arise
  • Grading assignments

How long do internships last?

The length of an internship can vary greatly depending on the employer’s needs. EXPRL 191 offers continuous registration, so a student can register at just about any point during the year. Students are given two quarters to complete their assignments.

For example, if a student starts in the middle of spring quarter, they have until the end of summer quarter to complete the assignments. Because internships are independent of the quarter system, it is the responsibility of the student to inform the Faculty Mentor of the timeframe of their internship.

Why are the Learning Objectives so important?

A Learning Objective is a written statement describing specific measurable achievements that the student plans to accomplish during the internship.

The Learning Objectives should relate to the job functions and duties, assist in professional growth and development, and relate to the student’s course of study or major. They need to be realistic enough to be attainable during the internship.

Preparing Learning Objectives will provide a number of benefits; they will:

  • Show the employer that the student is goal-oriented and interested in learning during the internship
  • Ensure that the student and the employer have similar expectations
  • Give direction to what the student learns
  • Help the student get more out of the internship and allow an opportunity to focus on career goals
  • Provide the student with documentation of learning outcomes resulting from the work

Once the objectives have been formed, the Overall Goal Statement brings the information together to provide the "big picture" of the student’s internship. Furthermore, at the end of this assignment, the student specifies whether he/she intends to write a reflective paper or design their own topic for their Final Paper.

How can I help a student develop Learning Objectives?

Learning Objectives should be as specific as possible so that they can be evaluated at the end of the experience. They should be:

  • Specific: It is difficult to know what someone should be doing if they are pursuing the objective of "working harder." It is easier to recognize needed tasks when one sets at to "develop an Access database."
  • Measurable: Make sure to define the scope of "developing an Access database" so that everyone is clear about what the objective means and when it has been met. It is easier to gauge the effort needed to "develop a simple Access database to track customer orders and shipments."
  • Realistic: Some goals may not be realistic within the time frame of the internship. An Access database that only includes customer orders and shipments might be realistic. But if it also includes all customer purchases, contact information, complaints, payments and billing – that might be too much.
  • Rewarding: The Learning Objectives should help the reach his/her Overall Goal and grow academically and professionally.

To see examples of some Learning Objectives, see the course handbook.

If you are working with top-notch students, you should encourage them to consider seriously the option of designing their own final paper option.

How can I learn more about the logistics of the program or about assignment guidelines?

The internship syllabus describes the course logistics and summarizes all of the assignments.

The course handbook has all assignment guidelines along with examples of successful student work.