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The Transition From School To Work

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

ASEE Multimedia Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1177.1 - 8.1177.7

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Paper Authors

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Gary Martin

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Professional Practice Seminar A successful course for preparing students for their Cooperative Education Experiences (or the work place in general)

Gary R. Martin, Ed.D. September 23 2002


The School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of the Pacific requires all their engineering students to complete 12 months of full-time Cooperative Education. The program has included a mandatory orientation class since its inception in 1970. This paper presents and outline of the class with corresponding details of the content and rationale when appropriate. The primary topics comprise: Co-op Program Requirements and Logistics, How to Get a Job, Making the Transition, Professionalism. A literature review revealed a dearth of articles even related to the subject; nothing was found regarding content recommendations. The authors’ experience confirms literature suggestions that such a course facilitates a smoother placement process, and fosters an enhanced experience.


Cooperative Education programs take all shapes and sizes across the country. The extent of elaboration varies from a simple “Jobs Announcements” bulletin board maintained by a clerical staff member, to requiring 12-18 months of full-time participation carefully integrated into the curriculum. The more elaborate programs have professional staff interfacing between the students and the employers. The students typically alternate semesters of full-time coursework with full-time semesters on their Cooperative Education assignments (Co-op). The level of development yields substantially greater value, ensuring that all graduates of the program acquire the practical experience necessary to help them relate the theory to applications. The required practicum component enhances curriculum respect, emulating such respected professionals as Medical doctors, with their residency requirement; teachers, with their student teaching requirement; and certified public accountants, with their two-year practicum requirement.

Twenty years ago, many schools were at the low end of the above continuum. Since then, most programs have enhanced their programs. The School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of the Pacific (Pacific) implemented a 12-month mandatory Co-op component in 1970. The program is credited for saving the Engineering School. The school’s enrollment increased 100% the year after its inception, from 50 to 100, and continued to increase substantially the next ten years.


Martin, G. (2003, June), The Transition From School To Work Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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