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Utilizing Co Op To Further Liberal Education Within Engineering

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.711.1 - 5.711.5



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Craig Gunn

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

Session 1661

Utilizing Co-op to Further Liberal Education within Engineering

Craig James Gunn Department of Mechanical Engineering Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824


No matter what the subject area studied by students in institutes of higher learning, there is always the need to prepare written documents or create oral presentations. This communication skill preparation is critical for success in the working world. It is an activity that does not stop when a student enters the workforce. Since communication is a tool that finds its way into every area of employment, cooperative education can provide students with not only knowledge of the workplace but concrete experience in the need for good communication skill in the working environment. Classroom instruction can provide a certain amount of practical knowledge, but the forty-hour a week job brings the entire textbook learning into a proper perspective. It is with this information in mind, that a systematic approach to provide a background for dealing with communication issues was begun in the Cooperative Education Division of the College of Engineering at Michigan State University.

1. Introduction

Within many colleges of engineering, students are admitted to their respective departments in their junior year. The contact that these students will have with those respective departments may be fairly sparse. Therefore the tools that these students bring with them can be an unknown quantity. It is always hoped that all the lower division courses provide an adequate basis for the knowledge needed in the areas other than engineering, but this may not always be the case. Areas such as writing, speaking, and a sense of the need for these kinds of skills may not find sufficient skill building practice before the students enter the junior year. It is suggested that schools with cooperative engineering education programs be viewed as vital links between engineering, ABET, and liberal education. ABET requires that certain facets be an integral part of every engineering program; engineering programs want their graduates to function in a real world; and liberal education proponents strive to help educate the rounded engineer who will not only prosper as an engineer but as a complete human being. Cooperative Engineering Education provides many tools that will help facilitate these desires. Ethics, teamwork, and communication are just some of the areas that are addressed within cooperative engineering education programs. Providing students with tools to function within the real world has always been a prime focus of these programs. Communication, one of the critical needs of all

Gunn, C. (2000, June), Utilizing Co Op To Further Liberal Education Within Engineering Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8828

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