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Factors Associated with Student Participation in Cooperative Education Programs (Co-Ops)

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

7

Page Numbers

26.757.1 - 26.757.7

DOI

10.18260/p.24094

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24094

Download Count

72

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Paper Authors

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Joyce B. Main Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Joyce B. Main is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She holds a Ph.D. in Learning, Teaching, and Social Policy from Cornell University, and an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Matthew W. Ohland Purdue University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4052-1452

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Matthew W. Ohland is Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He has degrees from Swarthmore College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Florida. His research on the longitudinal study of engineering students, team assignment, peer evaluation, and active and collaborative teaching methods has been supported by over $14.5 million from the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation and his team received Best Paper awards from the Journal of Engineering Education in 2008 and 2011 and from the IEEE Transactions on Education in 2011. Dr. Ohland is Chair of the IEEE Curriculum and Pedagogy Committee and an ABET Program Evaluator for ASEE. He was the 2002–2006 President of Tau Beta Pi and is a Fellow of the ASEE and IEEE.

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Nichole Ramirez Purdue University

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Nichole Ramirez is a graduate student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She received her B.S. in aerospace engineering from The University of Alabama and her M.S. in aviation and aerospace management from Purdue University. She is a former recipient of the Purdue Doctoral Fellowship. In addition to cooperative education research, she is also interested in studying student choice and migration engineering and technology.

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Trina L. Fletcher Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0002-1765-5957

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Trina Fletcher is an Engineering Education doctoral student at Purdue University. Her research focus includes process excellence and total quality management (TQM) methodologies as a way to improve engineering related activities within industry and education. She is also interested in research around recruiting and retaining underrepresented minorities and women in STEM. Prior to Purdue, she spent time in industry holding technical and operations-based roles and has experience with informal STEM community and outreach projects. She holds a BS degree in Industrial Technology and a MS degree in Engineering Management.

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Jake Davis Purdue University

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Jake Davis is an undergraduate student studying Accounting and Management in the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. He is also a research assistant in the Social Policy and Higher Education Research in Engineering (SPHERE) laboratory.

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Abstract

Factors that Influence Student Participation in Co-OpsA cooperative education program (co-op) in engineering is a partnership between an academicinstitution and an employer designed to engage students in practical engineering experiencethrough rotations of full-time employment and course study. Co-op employment providesstudents with discipline-relevant professional experience, financial support, and early entry intothe engineering labor force while serving as a recruitment tool for co-op companies. Using asequential mixed-methods approach, this research aims to identify factors that influence studentaccess to and participation in cooperative education programs.The quantitative analysis of co-op participation uses comprehensive, longitudinal academicstudent records from six partner institutions that comprise the Multiple-Institution Database forInvestigating Engineering Longitudinal Development (MIDFIELD). MIDFIELD includes 23years of student demographic and transcript data from 1987 through 2009. The qualitativeexamination focuses on individual student interviews from a research-intensive MIDFIELDinstitution. Across MIDFIELD institutions and years, an average of 23% of engineering studentsin the population participated in a co-op experience; however, the fraction of studentsparticipating in co-ops differed by engineering discipline and matriculation year.The logistic regression analysis shows that there is no difference in co-op participation bygender, except in Aerospace engineering where women are 20% more likely than men toparticipate. Meanwhile, Asian, black, and international students are less likely to engage in co-ops than their counterparts. Preliminary findings from the individual student interviews exploringwhy students decided not to pursue co-ops despite an initial interest fall into four broad themes:1) interest in other extracurricular activities and internship options, 2) concerns regarding thelengthy time commitment, 3) uncertainty or not well-developed plans regarding major andemployment goals, and 4) minimum eligibility requirements not met. Research findings have thepotential to be applied toward the development of strategies to further enhance co-op recruitmentand engagement of engineering students from a broader range of backgrounds, interests, andexperiences as a pathway to potentially increase the overall diversity of the professionalengineering labor force.  

Main, J. B., & Ohland, M. W., & Ramirez, N., & Fletcher, T. L., & Davis, J. (2015, June), Factors Associated with Student Participation in Cooperative Education Programs (Co-Ops) Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24094

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