June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Cooperative & Experiential Education
26.1017.1 - 26.1017.11
Internships, Other Employment and AcademicsInternships play an important role in helping students support the cost of their education, gainexperience, self-confidence and self-esteem and significantly improve their prospects in the jobmarket; they often motivate students to complete their degree thus acting to improve retentionand graduation rates. On the other hand, balancing the demands of work and study in ademanding engineering program can be difficult for a young student; trying to do too much is acommon trap that often leads to academic difficulties causing students to switch to a lessdemanding major or withdraw from the university altogether; here working acts to reduceretention and graduation rates.We use the data collected on yearly exit surveys for graduating seniors, a survey of studentsenrolled in the capstone senior design classes, placement data from the internship program andacademic performance data to form a fairly complete map of the work-study issue in a largeEngineering School. Official participation in the internship program for Engineeringundergraduates is about 10%, well below the rates of top experiential education programs.However, our study documents that the majority of undergraduate student job placements do notdirectly involve the university services dedicated to support such activities and that holds even ifwe only consider placements that are related to Engineering and Computing. The senior designsurvey gathered work histories of 175 students (over 60% of the enrollment in these classes)which we contrast with academic performance semester by semester and report correlationsbetween work load, type of work and combined work and study load with academicperformance.We consider issues arising from attempting to actively manage the total workload for students.We look at the role of industry who desires access to undergraduate talent on one hand (93% ofemployers report in Recruiting Trends that they plan to hire students into pre-professionalprograms and 74% of them site benefiting the profession as their goal) but laments the shortageof degreed professionals in the job market on the other (a shortage that pre-professional hiringpractices partially cause). We also discuss the role of internships in the curriculum and contrastwhy the School of Engineering and the School of Management take different approaches to thisissue with one moving towards requiring work experience for its students while the otherseverely limits the use of experiential credit.
Ntafos, S., & Hasenhuttl, M. (2015, June), Internships, Other Employment, and Academics Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24354
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