Overview for Site Supervisors

Field Work Term (FWT) is one of the most exciting aspects of a Bennington College education and has been integral to every student’s experience since the College began over 80 years ago. The purpose of FWT is to turn theory into practice as students explore connections between academic pursuits, personal interests, and the world of work.

Students spend seven weeks off campus each year working in internships that expand their studies and enrich their individual and professional development. Every year, students offer a wide range of capacities to hundreds of organizations across the country and around the world. Bennington students are creative, innovative, and valuable contributors to an organization—more than 97% of participating employers report being satisfied or extremely satisfied with their Bennington intern.

Here’s How FWT Works

Students are required to
  • Register all FWT internships with our office by the due date. For FWT 2018 this is November 10, 2017. FWT positions should connect to a student’s educational Plan at Bennington, and to personal and professional goals.
  • Complete at least 210 total hours of work during the scheduled FWT dates. FWT 2018 runs January 2–February 16.
    • Most students complete the full 210 hours through one internship (30 hours/week).
    • Some students complete 140 hours through their internship (20 hours/week), and 70 hours through a supplemental project or job.
    • Some students split their time between two internships for 105 hours each (15 hours/week).
    • In general, internships of 20-30 hours/week are the most common and encouraged.
  • Work the agreed upon hours, be punctual, perform the internship duties assigned to them, and proactively communicate with their supervisor.
  • Be reachable via email and phone.
  • Submit a reflective project following the completion of FWT. Most commonly this is an essay, although students can also choose a creative format such as a video or blog.
Organizations hosting an FWT student agree to
  • Conduct an interview or phone/Skype/online screening, and notify the student of selection prior to the November 10 registration deadline.
  • Arrange and clarify internship details and expectations with the student.
    • Although a formal internship agreement is not required, some details to communicate include: work schedules, internship duties, supervision structure, and communication protocols (e.g. requesting sick days or schedule changes, how and whom to ask questions).
    • See our Tips for Great Internships for additional guidance.
  • Internship compensation laws vary from state to state. We ask employers to review these along with the Department of Labor’s standards for internship compensation. Above and beyond these requirements, it is helpful for students if some form of compensation can be provided (such as a salary, stipend, and/or housing arrangements), since students are responsible for meeting their own expenses during Field Work Term.
  • Offer supervision and mentorship to the intern.
    • Typically, supervisors arrange a regular check-in with their intern (such as a 30-minute weekly meeting), to discuss tasks and answer questions. Additional on-the-spot feedback throughout the internship is often helpful and appreciated.
    • You are welcome to arrange a supervision structure that makes sense for you. Please also feel free to contact our office for feedback and guidance.
  • While students are not required to keep a timesheet of their hours, we highly encourage them to do so (our office sends students a template), and to ask their supervisors to sign off on it weekly.
  • Complete a brief evaluation of student performance at the end of FWT. This is conducted through SurveyMonkey and emailed to supervisors in mid-January, with submission due February 23.
  • Maintain a work environment that is safe, supportive, inclusive, and respectful of the diversity of our students.

We greatly value our partnerships with more than 500 employers every year. If you wish to offer an FWT position or have already been contacted by a student and would like additional information, please email us at fwt@bennington.edu or call us at 802-440-4321.