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The Use Of Employer Surveys To Evaluate Professional Practice Related Skills In An Industrial Experience Program

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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

Perceived Quality Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1181.1 - 8.1181.11



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Paper Authors

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Shelia Barnett

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Joan Burtner

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

Session 2255

The Use of Employer Surveys to Evaluate Professional-Practice Related Skills in an Industrial Experience Program

Shelia Barnett and Joan Burtner

Industrial and Systems Engineering, Mercer University

Abstract Students' non-course activities such as co-ops and internships offer a very good opportunity for students to develop engineering-related professional practice skills (sometimes known as 'soft skills') that are included in the EC 2000 criteria. Employee evaluations have long been an integral part of the Mercer University School of Engineering (MUSE) Industrial Experience Program. Here at Mercer, we have decided to use employer evaluations to investigate all eleven EC2000 a-k outcomes, as they relate to the MUSE 8 Outcomes, to gain an outsider's perspective on our curriculum. The director of the Industrial Experience Program and a member of the Assessment Committee obtained Institutional Review Board approval to conduct a survey to document the effect of co-op experiences on EC2000 outcomes. To facilitate this research, the industrial experience director revised the Employer's Evaluation form to include direct references to the MUSE 8. This revised form was first distributed to employers at the beginning of the Summer 2001 term. Forty-eight students participated in the program during the Summer 2001 term of which thirty-nine employee evaluations were returned to the Industrial Experience Program Office. Data has since been collected for Fall 2001, Spring 2002 and Summer 2002. Seventeen students participated during Fall 2001, twelve during Spring 2002 and thirty-three during Summer 2002. Of these, sixteen, eleven and thirty-one surveys, respectively, were returned. This paper describes preliminary data from the employer survey as it relates to MUSE 8 outcomes.

I. Introduction Cooperative (co-op) education has long been recognized as a win-win situation for both employers and students. Employers benefit by getting high-quality temporary employees who are often given special short-term projects14. Furthermore, employees of cooperative education students use the co-op experience as an opportunity to recruit well-qualified graduates14. In a survey of 68 supervisors, managers, and human resource staff from a total of 55 engineering firms, Duggan9 found that recruiting quality employees is the major reason for using coop students. Another benefit discovered by Hurd and Hendy13 is improved retention. Their research review indicated that employees who had previous coop experience with the company were retained at a higher rate than those who had no previous experience. A recent survey of corporate cooperative education directors12 indicated that new hires who had previous co-op experience exhibited greater maturity and problem solving ability than those who had no co-op experience.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Barnett, S., & Burtner, J. (2003, June), The Use Of Employer Surveys To Evaluate Professional Practice Related Skills In An Industrial Experience Program Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11385

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