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Internships, Other Employment, and Academics

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Cooperative & Experiential Education Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1017.1 - 26.1017.11



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Paper Authors


Simeon Ntafos University of Texas, Dallas

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Dr. Ntafos is Professor of Computer Science, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Director of the Office of Student Services in the School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Texas at Dallas. He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Wilkes College in 1974 , the M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and the Ph.D. Degree in Computer Science from Northwester University in 1977 and 1979 respectively.

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Maria Hasenhuttl University of Texas at Dallas, Jindal School of Management

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Dr. Maria Hasenhuttl received a PhD from the University of Texas at Dallas. She received her Masters Degree from Karl-Franzens University in Graz, Austria.
Dr. Hasenhuttl is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Organizations, Strategy and International Management Department of the Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas at Dallas. Her research interests are in the area of corporate governance, success factors in higher education, and positive organizational scholarship.

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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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