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Athabasca University

Historical Resources Intern Program Guidelines


The Historical Resources Intern Program (HRIP) is a work and study program jointly offered by Athabasca University (AU) and the Alberta Government's Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women.  The program is designed to provide on-the-job training opportunities as well as formal academic instruction in the field of heritage/historic resources management.

While in the program, interns are employed by AU over a four year period in unique work settings provided by the Government's Department of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women. At the same time, they complete a program of study provided by Athabasca University's Heritage Resources Management (HRM) Program, which provides opportunities for either undergraduate or graduate routes to professional certification for the interns. Students may pursue either the University Certificate in Heritage Resources Management or the Graduate Diploma in Heritage Resources Management.

These programs offer fully accredited university-level courses, and so upon completion of the internship, the coursework may also be applied to degree programs at Athabasca University. For example, the certificate courses may be used toward a Bachelor of Arts degree at AU and the diploma courses may be used toward a Master of Arts - Integrated Studies degree.

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Contact information

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Joining the Historical Resources Intern Program

Internships are created at the request of placement areas such as museums and heritage sites which are part of Alberta Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women. All work done by interns is carried out at the Ministry's places of employment. All internship positions in the Historical Resources Intern Program are posted using the regular AU Career postings process. Current listings are found at the following website: AU Recruit

Historical Resources Intern Program Academic Policies

HRIP Academic Policies:

Unless otherwise noted, HRIP interns' academic studies are governed by the HRM general regulations, policies, and procedures. See the HRM website for details at

  • Courses

    The HRIP course and program requirements for the Undergraduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma are the same as those used for non-intern students.

    Graduate courses (those numbered 500 and higher) are paced courses which are offered online and involve discussion groups, discussion boards, group work and the like. They are done over a 13-15 week period, and usually are offered once a year. Undergraduate courses (those numbered up to 499) are individualized study courses in which students can enrol at any time.

    HRIP interns must complete the necessary coursework to obtain either the University Certificate in Heritage Resources Management or the Graduate Diploma in Heritage Resources Management. Unless an intern presents transfer credit or is able to successfully complete a challenge for credit process for certain courses, it will be necessary for that intern to complete eight courses plus the Practicum over the four years. Thus, interns need to complete two courses per year and leave sufficient time for the Practicum to remain employed by AU.

    Based on the September 2009 fee schedule, the Undergraduate Certificate normally would cost a non-intern, Canadian student residing in Alberta $6298.00, and the Graduate Diploma would cost $9866.00. However, as employees of AU, tuition fees are paid by AU. HRIP Interns’ tuition benefits must be applied to the HRIP courses.

  • Transfer of Credits

    Transfer credit procedures follow the standard HRM program policy (see HRM website for details). Transfer credit fees are not charged to HRIP interns. However, interns requiring assessment through the International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) are personally responsible for paying the necessary fees. See

  • Letters of Permission

    Procedures to draft letters of permission to take courses at other institutions follow the standard HRM program policy (see HRM website for details). However, letter of permission fees are not charged to HRIP interns.

  • Withdrawals

    Course withdrawal procedures follow the standard HRM program policy (see HRM website for details). However, withdrawal fees are not charged to HRIP interns.

  • Extensions and Course Re-Registrations

    Course extension and re-registration procedures follow the standard HRM program policy (see HRM website for details).

    PLEASE NOTE that while the University may grant an extension, this does not constitute an extension of the intern's contract of employment under the HRIP. Moreover, extension fees are NOT covered by the HRIP, and interns ARE responsible for paying their own extension fees. Similarily, should an intern withdraws from a course and re-register at a later date, they ARE then responsible for paying the course re-registrations fees.

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Human Resources Policies

Intern Definition

Interns in the HRIP have a unique and valuable opportunity for personal and professional advancement in both their careers and in their education. However, these achievements are not obtainable without dedication, perseverance and commitment on the part of the interns.

HRIP interns are employees of Athabasca University and are normally hired for a four-year period providing that Alberta continues to fund the position. Intern positions are created at the request of placement areas, such as museums and heritage sites, which are a part of the Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women.

3.2 Intern Employment Orientation

Upon hiring, Interns receive information on their terms of employment and benefits in a detailed orientation package.

Shortly after beginning their internship, they must participate in a new staff orientation, either in person or online. More details may be found here:

Additionally, interns are required to attend a Respectful Workplace seminar held in AU's Athabasca and Edmonton offices. These workshops are held several times through the year and details about the schedules are periodically emailed to interns.

3.3 Intern Supervision

While final authority for hiring and supervision of interns rests with the AU HRM Program Director, daily, on-site supervision is carried out by employees of the Ministry of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women and all work done by interns is carried out at the Ministry's places of employment. As such, interns are responsible for carrying out their employment duties as directed by their Ministry supervisor.

HRIP on-site supervisors should note that the interns' employment is governed by the terms set out in the collective agreements between Athabasca University and either AUFA or AUPE. Consequently, AU procedures MUST be followed for all intern employment management issues. For more information, contact Carrie Potts, by email at or by phone at (780) 675-6142.

3.4 Courses and Study Time

As mentioned previously, interns must complete at least two courses per year and complete the Practicum before the end of their fourth year to meet the requirements of the HRIP. To assist in this regard, AUPE interns are allotted 70 hours per year of paid time and AUFA employees are allotted up to 21 days of paid time for coursework as part of their regular employment. This study time is to be distributed as the schedule of the workplace will allow, but in most cases it is recommended that on-site supervisors allot certain times through the week for study in the place of employment. Interns and on-site supervisors should work together to establish a schedule to facilitate and track this study time allotment.

3.5 Intern Terms of Employment

Interns are typically hired under the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) or under the Athabasca University Faculty Association (AUFA). As such, the interns’ employment is governed by the respective collective agreement. These collective agreements include matters such as salary and benefits, merit increments, professional development, vacations, moving allowances, special leaves, time off in lieu, illness entitlement, and maternity and parental/adoption leave. General information is available at:

In addition, AU offers its staff a variety of technical training opportunities, with further details available at:

3.6 Academic Performance Requirements

Interns must typically complete eight courses and a practicum during their four-year AU employment period. To accomplish this goal, they must successfully complete at least two courses per year on average. Failure to do so may affect an intern's continuing employment with AU.

This academic requirement for interns is governed by Athabasca University in its collective agreements:

For AUPE staff: AUPE/AUGC Collective Agreement, clause 1.01 (g) (iii) - an Intern Position is defined as a position in which the incumbent is employed for the purpose of achieving the practical portion of an Athabasca University academic program. Their employment is contingent upon successful completion of two (2) courses per year once the courses have begun.

For AUFA staff: AUFA/AUGC Terms and Conditions Agreement, Letter of Agreement - HRIP, clause 3.ii. - the appointment of an intern may be terminated with thirty days notice if the intern has not successfully completed two three-credit courses within the previous twelve months.

April 1, 2008 is the commencement date for meeting the two courses per year employment requirement. For interns already in the program as of April 1 2008, “year” is the period April 1 to March 31 annually. In other words, these interns must complete all of their course work by March 31, 2012. For interns entering the program after April 1, 2008, “year” will be their employment year, commencing with their date of hire.

The onus is on interns to ensure they meet these academic requirements. Interns are expected to outline course progress as part of the annual performance assessment process (see section 3.7 below) and to immediately inform their on-site supervisor and AU's HRM Program Director if they are having difficulty meeting this requirement.

While the academic performance requirements of the HRIP program clearly outline that failing to successfully complete two courses per year of employment will result in the termination of an employee, AU recognizes that there are certain individual circumstances which may warrant further consideration.

If an intern anticipates difficulty in completing two courses per year, they must provide written notice of such difficulty as soon as possible. The notice must include the reason for the difficulty and an indication of when and how they will catch up. This notice should be sent to the AU HRM Program Director and their on-site supervisor. These supervisors will consult on whether the intern should be allowed to continue to participate in the program past the deadline, and for how long. The final decision on the Intern's continuing status will be made by the AU HRM Program Director.

Some circumstances may automatically result in extensions to an intern's period of employment or alternately constitute a partial waiver of the academic requirements.

These circumstances include:

  • Transfer Credit/Challenge for Credit: Should credits be granted to an intern either through successful application for transfer credit, or by successfully challenging the material through the AU challenge-for-credit process, then the intern may use these credits as partial fulfillment of their requirement to complete two courses per year in each of their four years of employment.
  • Maternity/Parental Leaves: The academic requirements of the program will be suspended for the period of the leave, and the intern's employment contract end date will be extended by the same amount of time.

3.7 Performance Assessment

Performance evaluation and monitoring is an ongoing process. However, once per year, a formal performance assessment process takes place. In the case of interns, performance assessment addresses both work accomplishments and academic course requirements. Every May/June, all AUFA and AUPE staff must complete a self assessment and on-site supervisors must schedule and hold performance assessment meetings. For HRIP interns, the purpose of the assessment process is to review work and academic achievements, outline areas for improvement, and discuss work and academic plans for the upcoming year. The AU Human Resources department notifies interns and supervisors when these assessments are due.

In the self-assessment, the intern will report about their work achievements as well as about the required courses taken in the past year and plans for course work in the upcoming year. The intern should provide a cumulative listing of required HRM courses taken to date throughout his or her internship.

Interns who have not taken courses or who have failed courses will have a two month grace period from the concluding date of the Performance Assessment to enrol in a course or to bring their academic work up to date. Failure to do so will result in termination of the intern's contract at the end of the two month grace period.

3.8 Probationary Period

  • a) AUPE Staff Trial Period

    An AUPE Intern's employment with AU commences with a three month trial period. During this period, interns must enrol in a HRM course. Failure to do so will result in an extension of the trial period. A recommendation for extension of a trial period for whatever reason must be discussed beforehand with AU Human Resources. Please contact Carrie Potts at or 780-675-6142.

  • b) AUFA Staff Probation

    AUFA Interns do not have a probationary period. However, it is strongly recommended that AUFA interns enrol or register in a HRM course within three months of their hire date to ensure the two courses per year requirement is met. AUFA interns must report at the end of the first three months of their employment to their site supervisor and the Director, HRM about their plans for course work.

3.9 System Access

New staff must complete a system access form to obtain access to their earning statements and to set up an AU email account. Contact the HRIP administrator for more information.

4.0 Resignation and Termination

a) Resignation - AUPE Interns should provide at least 14 work days and AUFA Interns should provide at least 21 works days notice of resignation to AU and their on-site supervisors.

b) Termination - if termination of employment is contemplated because an Intern did not meet the two courses per year requirement, or for any other reason, AU Human Resources must be consulted in advance. Please contact Carrie Potts at or 780-675-6142.

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Updated June 19 2019 by Student & Academic Services

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