The University Professional Internship Program (UPIP) was established in Fall 2013 with funding from the Provost’s office as a way to help address the gap between the cost to attend UNC Charlotte and the average financial aid package awarded. The university envisioned a program that would provide undergraduate students academically relevant on-campus work, and financial support, leading to increased campus engagement and improved retention.
Through the joint effort of the University Career Center (UCC) and sponsoring UNC Charlotte departments, students apply for paid internship positions working under the tutelage of a faculty/staff mentor. A large percentage of our students need to work while in school; by providing opportunities on campus, we can ensure that they have strong mentors who connect academics to career goals while also providing support for timely completion of degrees. Many UPIP interns also receive academic credit for their experiential learning, sponsored by their academic college.
Annually, the program receives about 1500 applicants for more than 300 positions. The University has made an investment to fund a portion of these experiences. If the host department can provide a quality internship experience, mentorship of a student, and 50% of the intern’s salary, then there might be a partnership available!
An internship is an academically recognized work experience related to a student’s major or field of interest. The following must be satisfied for participation in this program.
- The internship should be specifically and intentionally beneficial to the educational goals of the student. Learning objectives will be required as part of the posting submission. Note: an internship should not displace a regular university employee or be predominantly clerical/administrative duties.
- UPIP interns must be enrolled full-time (12 credit hours or more), be sophomores – seniors in a first-time bachelor’s program, and in good standing with the university.
All UPIP positions must be submitted for approval and posted in the Hire-A-Niner system and be open to all eligible students.
UPIP internships are meant to be a learning experience for undergraduates. While some projects may be multi-semester, a student cannot be in the same internship for more than one year.
UPIP requires a full-time UNC Charlotte faculty/staff member to serve as a mentor to EACH intern. This is a commitment to our students, please make sure this is realistic for your department.
UPIP interns may not work more than 15 hours per week, during the weeks' university classes are in session. Fall and Spring terms for UPIP internships coincide with the first and last weeks of the semester, excluding university holiday and other days classes are not in session. UPIP interns may not work on Reading Days or during final exams. The host department will reimburse UPIP for any hours beyond the 15 hours per week maximum. Maximum internship hours for each semester are between 150-225 depending on approved application. Any overages will be reimbursed by the UPIP site.
UPIP works in partnership with our mentors. Confirmation of student eligibility for this program is conducted. Host departments who make offers to ineligible students (i.e. graduate students, part-time students, etc.) will have their internship canceled.
UPIP follows all guidelines set forth by UNC Charlotte’s Human Resources. Students may not work more than their approved hours per week, as outlined in the Student Temp Wage form. Hours are tracked weekly and monthly and cannot be “made up” in other months. The host department will reimburse UPIP for any hours beyond this maximum approved by mentors that result in payment by Payroll using the UPIP fund. Also, students are expected to monitor their own eligibility for the program and for University pay. Specifically, students are expected to disclose other employment on campus to UPIP mentors to ensure that they only have one UPIP internship at a time and do not exceed the University maximum of 20 hours per week of total on-campus employment. Also, students seeking academic credit are responsible for contacting their college prior to the start of the internship to discuss requirements.
Secure supervisor’s permission to participate in the program and locate appropriate funding source (50% of student’s salary).
Have an idea for an internship? Create an account in Hire-A-Niner as an “employer”. Once your account is approved, you can submit your UPIP proposal for review and approval.
Recruit, interview, and select a student by the last day of the semester. Applicant materials can be reviewed in your Hire-A-Niner account or you can set up the system to have them emailed directly to you. You can make the offer directly to the student. Inform UPIP of the selection.
Complete all required paperwork to include I-9 and the HR Hiring Packet. Information, along with proof of ID, should be taken to Human Resources in the King Building. Hire department is required to complete the Student Tem Wage form and send directly to UPIP for final signature and processing.
BEGIN WORK! Work with your new hire on a work schedule, mentorship session scheduling, and remind the student to submit hours in the Web Time Entry system at the end of each month. You will need to approve in order for the student to be paid.
Approved departments will pay 50% of the $10/hour intern salary with a cap of 15 hours per week each semester. The UPIP program will contribute the remaining 50% up to the 15 hours per week maximum each semester. The department will be responsible for any salary above this maximum.
Fall/Spring UPIP positions
- Estimated department contribution at 15 hours per week = $1200 max
- Estimated department contribution at 12 hours per week = $960 max
- Estimated department contribution at 10 hours per week = $800 max
- Maximum internship hours for each semester are between 150-225 depending on approved application. Any overages will be reimbursed by the UPIP site.
Summer UPIP positions (subject to funding availability)
Interns may work up to 28 hours maximum during the summer, if not enrolled in Summer classes. Interns enrolled in Summer classes may work up to 20 hours maximum. Note: internships begin June 1 - Last day of summer II classes (10 weeks)
- Summer estimated contribution at 28 hours per week = $1400
- Summer estimated contribution at 15 hours per week = $750
- Summer estimated contribution at 12 hours per week = $600
- Summer estimated contribution at 10 hours per week = $500
The student completes an electronic I-9 and the HR Hiring Packet. Then, he/she brings the completed Hiring Packet along with the required I-9 verification documents to King 222. (Accepted formats include original and unexpired US Passport, student ID, driver’s license, Military ID, Social Security card, or birth certificate.) HR will provide the student with a Verification Card.
International Student New Hires will need to make an appointment with the ISSO to attend an I-9 Session.
Returning student workers who have worked on campus and have not had a year or more break in service will not need to repeat this process.
Once you see the Verification Card (meaning the student has completed the HR process), the UPIP mentor will start the Student Temporary Wage form (available on the HR site). Scan and email a signed copy of the Temporary Wage Form AND the I-9 Card to UPIPfirstname.lastname@example.org. Our team will add the UPIP fund and sign and then take to HR to process.
The UCC will also check the student’s eligibility at this time (sophomore/junior/senior seeking first Bachelor’s, enrolled full-time, in good standing with University). Students may only have one UPIP internship at a time and must not exceed 20 hours of work total for all on-campus employment.
Each intern is paid monthly on the 15th of the month. Students submit Web time no later than the first day of the month, which is then approved by the supervisor. UNC Charlotte requires all employees to enroll in direct deposit, which can be done under Banner Self-Service. You can learn more about getting paid on the Human Resources' website. Payroll's website offers a how-to guide for Web Time Entry.
Contact your student and let him/her know:
- When you want him/her to begin and settle on a regular weekly schedule as soon as you are able. (You might need to wait for his/her academic schedule to be settled.) UPIP internships run along class schedules, so semester assignments begin the first week of classes and must be completed by the last day of class. No students should work during Reading Day, exams or other days classes are not in session. Hours worked per week may not exceed hours listed on approved student temp wage form.
- Agree on when you will have face-to-face meetings with your intern (weekly? bi-weekly?) so you can review tasks and progress.
- Ask your student if he/she will seek academic credit for the internship so you both know what is expected.
- Let your student know they will log hours on Web Entry at the end of each month. You will receive an email when hours have been submitted so you can approve them. Students are paid via direct deposit on the 15th of each month.
- Remind your intern that he/she needs to attend a mandatory one-hour UPIP orientation and on-going professional development sessions offered throughout the semester. Carrie will contact students via email at the start of the academic year with dates.
- Remember to contact students you did not select.
- Orient your intern to your office culture. Invite him/her to a staff meeting, make introductions, explain office procedures and culture, discuss topics like lunch breaks and office attire, and be sure to let your intern ask you questions!
As you prepare to interview for your UPIP intern, keep in mind:
- Be sure to go into the interviews with a clear understanding of your goals for the UPIP position and what you are looking for in a candidate.
- Recruit colleagues to join you in the interviews.
- This may be the very first interview a sophomore or junior has had. The Career Center offers resources, including mock interviews with feedback, though not everyone takes advantage of our services. At the very least, you should expect your candidate to be professionally dressed and to treat this interview seriously.
- They are checking you out, too, so be sure to outline how working for your department will benefit them as well.
Structuring the interview:
- Start the interview by getting to know the candidate, what they are studying, and building rapport. Include an overview of your department and the role. Be specific about the internship, what they will learn, details of the project, outcomes, who they would report to, and how they will be evaluated.
- Start with a solid list of questions you plan to ask each candidate regarding key dimensions of the projects/internship to ensure some consistency in the information you gathered for each candidate.
- Ask students to provide examples from classes, hobbies, or past jobs/internships. (The Career Center teaches students Behavioral Interviewing skills, which focus on outlining situations, tasks, actions, and results of experiences.)
- Interviews will likely be around 30 minutes. Invite the candidate to ask questions at the end. A candidate should always have something to ask!
Here are some questions you can consider asking:
- Why did you apply for this internship?
- Why do you think you would be a good fit for this role and what do you hope to learn? (Listen to see if the student researched your department and truly wants the position.)
- How do you think this internship will help you further your academic and career goals?
- Why do you think you will be successful in your chosen field of interest?
- Tell me about a time when you had a heavy course load. How did you manage your time? Is there anything you would change if that happened again?
- How do you think your campus involvement relates to skills you can bring to a professional workplace?
- Explain a challenge you had to overcome and how you did it.
- Can you share an example in which you had to manage multiple projects at once?
- What has motivated you to do well in the past?
- What makes you stand out as a candidate?
- Tell me about a time when you had to complete a project and feared failure. How did you complete the project and what did you learn about the experience?
- Describe a time when someone criticized your work. How did you handle the criticism? What would you do differently if presented with a similar situation?
- Tell me about a group project you completed in which teammates were not fulfilling their requirements. How did you handle the situation?
Interns are like other employees in the sense that they will be most successful and productive when they feel like they are a part of the team. Interns should also feel comfortable enough to ask questions and seek clarification. Here are a few tips to help you create a successful, welcoming environment for your intern.
- Notify staff before intern begins. Make sure your team knows you have interns starting, who they are, what they’ll be working on, and who they will report to. This will help everyone feel involved and avoid awkward “who are you?” moments. You can also encourage staff to take the first move and introduce themselves to the students.
- Make introductions. Introduce interns to the rest of the team, preferably on an individual basis. You can follow up with a group “get-acquainted” session that allows interns to ask employees for information on the department and culture and employes to ask interns about their interests. This dialogue helps bridge the gap between interns and employees.
- Consider multiple interns. If it is an option, consider hiring more than one intern at a time to build a culture that embraces student contributions. Students can feel more at ease when they aren’t singled out, too.
- Assign tasks based on intern skills and interests. You might have a student who shines in an area you weren’t anticipating but could really use help in. Don’t be afraid to talk to you students about their interests and what they might like to contribute to the office, even if it means tweaking their job description.
- Balance the mindless work with project work. Part of learning about the “real world” is learning that it isn’t all glamorous. Sometimes we all have to do menial tasks, and it’s okay to ask an intern to help, but be sure to balance these tasks out with the educational project-based tasks for which the intern was hired.