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Introduction to Cooperative Education-The Course

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Cooperative & Experiential Education Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.816.1 - 24.816.10



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Paper Authors


Joy Watson University of Cincinnati

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Joy Watson is an assistant professor in the University of Cincinnati’s Division of Professional Practice and Experiential Learning where she is the co-op adviser for chemical and environmental engineering students. She completed her Ph.D. in the College of Engineering at the University of South Carolina in August 2011. Her doctoral work focused on preparing engineering Ph.D. students for careers in industry. She obtained her B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with her master’s research focusing on the rheology of ionic liquids and cellulose solutions. While at the University of Tennessee, she participated in the co-op program and was appointed a co-op ambassador, mentoring undergraduate students pursuing industrial internships. Most recently she collaborated with B3 Solutions, Temple University, and the U.S. Navy to develop a logistics/IT course for low-income, high potential middle and high school students. Some of her other experiences include working as a processing engineer in the pulp and paper industry, a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and a NSF GK-12 Fellow at the University of South Carolina.

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Maureen G. Schomaker University of Cincinnati

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Maureen Schomaker is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Professional Practice and Experiential Learning (ProPEL) at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Ohio. Professor Schomaker holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Instructional Design and Technology and has been teaching in higher education since 1999. Professor Schomaker has been advising cooperative education students since 2008 and currently advises Civil Engineering co-op students at the University of Cincinnati.

Professor Schomaker is an official site reviewer for the Accreditation Council for Cooperative Education. In addition Maureen is Co- Chair of ProPEL’s Program Assessment Committee and a member of the Curriculum Committee.

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Introduction to Cooperative Education-The CourseThe preparation engineering students receive prior to their first co-op experience is vital to theirexperiential education. This papers’ intent is to document the preparation engineering studentsreceive prior to starting their first co-op rotation at two universities in the Mid-West. Bothuniversities have mandatory cooperative education preparation classes. These classes informstudents on the key concepts of co-operative education including defining, apply and analyzingthe integration of classroom theory and workplace practice. Additionally, these classes helpprepare students for a successful co-op job search followed by an interactive work term in aprofessional environment. These classes include activities designed to help students create aneffective resume through self-assessment exercises and peer reviews of their resumes. Studentsalso develop an understanding of career fair dynamics, create effective strategies to implementwhen attending career fairs, and develop and understanding of basic interview strategies. Duringthe courses, students are introduced to ethical responsibilities required as a professional and gainan understanding of corporate structure, diversity and globalization in the work force.Additionally the courses give the co-op programs forums to encourage students to adhere to thepolicies and procedures of the programs. These preparation classes are seen as a best practicewith both universities having their placement employment rate around 94% or above during thetough economic times of the last five years. After completing their required prerequisite co-oppreparation class, students work in a professional setting between three to five semesters. Thepurpose of this paper is to focus on the common challenges of students and their co-opcoordinators and to identify effective strategies for meet those challenges.

Watson, J., & Schomaker, M. G. (2014, June), Introduction to Cooperative Education-The Course Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20708

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