June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Cooperative & Experiential Education
12.408.1 - 12.408.7
Cooperative Education as a Prime Mover and Key Constant in Industry - University Relationships
The Cooperative Education Experience underpins the educational development of the student, provides an opportunity for the student to become familiar with industry and industry practice, allows industry to become familiar with students and creates a comfortable vehicle for interaction between faculty and industry colleagues. It is the critical crucible where strong individual first-impressions are formed, and more importantly an integrator over time which is the foundation of the association between the industry and the university and the basis for their rapport. When correctly developed and administered by industry and university stakeholders, the coop can be not only the beginning of a longer term relationship between student and industry, but the harbinger of a strong and deep relationship between the company and the university. This paper discusses the development of one such successful relationship and the maturation of a relationship initiated in the cooperative education experience which blossomed into project work at the university, participation on advisory boards, sponsored laboratories, distance learning activities, help retaining faculty and the development of a consortium to support student projects and Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) learning outcomes.
All too often the plethora of opportunities presented by cooperative education programs go unrealized. In the minimal case the university perceives the coop program only as a tool to provide students the opportunity to gain professional work experience, and earn money. Again in this minimal case, industry perceives coop only as a “try-out” for potential employees, and as an opportunity to get make temporary hires to accomplish low-level work. In this scenario, neither the university nor the industry invest in an infrastructure to leverage the coop program to maximize outcomes for students and employers. Cooperative education should be much more. It is a low risk vehicle for growth of a relationship between the university and industry, and a device which allows for the evolution of this relationship. Through this device the university and the industry become familiar with each others structures, strengths and limitations.
Cooperative education has inherent educational value. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology implies that engineering education needs to become more holistic in nature. It demands graduates that are integrative as well as analytical. Academia must develop programs that are capable of producing graduates who are adept at functional thinking as well as analytical thinking, alumni as capable of integrating and connecting parts as they are at reductionism. Engineering education must provide exposures that extend a students desire to develop order into an ability to orchestrate chaos, experience which push students beyond a need to create certainty to enable them to develop a tolerance for and an understanding of risk and an attendant ability to embrace ambiguity. It requires engineers to practice problem forming as well as solving. It will stress engineering design and the ability to realize products. To be successful, engineers will need to have facility with intelligent technology to enhance creative opportunity. They will need the ability to manage complexity and uncertainty as members of productive teams rather than
Walsh, D., & Whited, J., & Crockett, R. (2007, June), Cooperative Education As A Prime Mover And Key Constant In Industry ? University Relationships Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2261
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