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5 Cooperative Education and Engineering Technology Although cooperative education began over 75 years ago in the Col- lege of Engineering at the University of Cincinnati, only about 2 per- cent of the nation's 9 million college students participate in co- operative education programs. Approximately 220,000 students and 30,000 employers are involved in cooperative education of many types in virtually all disciplines. National Commission for Cooperative Education statistics show that cooperative education programs operate in one-third of the col- leges and universities in the United States. Colleges offering co-op programs range from junior and community colleges with enrollments of 1,000 or fewer students to large private and s Ate-supported universi- ties with enrollments of 40,000 students or more. Programs vary from school to school: some alternate co-op periods with terms of classes, some operate simultaneous with classes Parallel; some alternate lib- eral arts with technical subjects; some are credit, some noncredit. Despite their differences, however, all postsecondary cooperative edu- cation programs in the United States have a strong common thread: they integrate classroom learning with on-the-job experience related to a student's academic major. Federal Assistance Federal grants have been awarded to college cooperative education programs since 1970 when Title IV-D of the Higher Education Act of 22

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COOPERATIVE EDUCATION AND ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY 23 1965 was amended to include co-op learning. Programs are now funded under Title VIII. The types of grants awarded include the following:; 1 ) administrative, given to schools to help start a co-op program or help a smaller program expand; t2) training, distributed geographically to give area schools access to a center for professional training; t3J research; and t4J comprehensive demonstration. Between 1970 and 1978, $75 million was awarded to 845 institutions. During that same period, the number of institutions offering co-op programs increased from 195 to approximately 1,000. The federal government's support of cooperative education is evi- dent in the 1980 appropriation: in a year of budgetary cutbacks, cooper- ative education was allotted $15 million. In return for this support, the Carter administration proposed new directions for the program to increase student participation dramatically. Under the fourth type of grant noted above, the Federal Comprehen- sive Demonstration Grant, as much as $1 million is given for up to three years to support the nonrecurring costs of making a co-op pro- gram comprehensive. That is, colleges either offer cooperative educa- tion in all programs of study or they offer it to a majority of eligible students, thus integrating co-op more deeply into their operations and developing innovative programs. The return for the government's investment is a number of models for other colleges across the nation to learn from as they plan their own programs. To date, 36 comprehensive grants have been awarded: 3 in 1980, 11 in 1981, 10 in 1982, and 12 in 1983. Future Federal Funding Federal support of cooperative education has added significantly to the quality and expansion of programs across the nation. The co-op program currently operates with a ceiling of $20 million. The amount appropriated each year under this $20 million ceiling is designated by Congress, which authorized $14.4 million for 1984 grants. However, current legislation authorizing federal funding of cooperative educa- tion runs out September 30, 1985, with the expiration of the Higher Education Act of 1965. To prevent the interruption or demise of the program, supporters of cooperative education in the United States are working to ensure that it is included in the new Higher Education Act. They are also requesting that the ceiling for cooperative grants start at $50 million in 1985 and increase to $100 million in 1989. A legislative committee of the Cooperative Education Association, together with the National Commission for Cooperative Education,

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24 ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION has outlined recommended guidelines for reauthorization of Title VIII. In addition to a request to raise the ceiling for annual funding, the two groups have recommended that Title VIII support strengthening, plan- ning, implementation, and expansion of co-op programs through administrative grants, with substantial funding for a small number of high-quality demonstration projects. The recommendations include special consideration for programs that are involved in unique develop- ment efforts with industry and for additional funding that is designed to allow cooperative education to keep pace with technical advances fat present, no equipment purchases are allowed with federal Co-op grantsJ. Congressional decisions on federal support will be deciding factors in the potential impact of cooperative education in America. Co-op Programs in Engineering Technology Education Co-op programs have long been important in technical colleges. Work experience carefully planned to relate to a student's curriculum can be a valuable part of any technical academic learning experience. Several colleges E.g., Northeastern, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Wentworth InstituteJ require co-op experiences for all of their stu- dents at the bachelor's level. Co-op experiences may be alternating or parallel. The alternating model requires that the student alternate academic terms of work and college; the parallel models involve doing both for a part of each term. The typical alternating program requires about five years of full-time enrollment to complete the baccalaureate degree. Many programs view the co-op experience as being academic, and they grant varying amounts of credit for it. Others view it simply as a beneficial, related experience and grant no credit Some award a certificate J. Co-op agreements are carefully negotiated between the college and the employer to ensure a meaningful sequence of experiences for the student. Onsite visits and interviews are common among the designated faculty, the student, and his employer during the work period. Also, the student usually writes a report summarizing the industrial experiences after each work term. Generally, students stay with the same employer through several for even allJ Co-op terms, not only continuity but also a meaningful sequence of increasing . . responsi ~i. sties. Co-op education appears to be beneficial to both students and employers. A two-way screening for employment can occur with no long-term commitment being required of either party. In addition, it can offer a recruiting mechanism as co-op graduates frequently con-

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COOPERATIVE EDUCATION AND ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY 25 tinue with their co-op employer after graduation. As a result, these graduates often enter a firm with a head start in company seniority and fringe benefits, as well as first-hand experience on the job. Concerns for the Future Several issues of concern seem to surface frequently in any discus- sion of co-op programs: the merits of granting academic credit and how to determine the amount; how much experience warrants the awarding of a credential; evaluation of a student's co-op performance by a faculty member or a nonfaculty co-op specialist; selection and training of faculty and/or administrative advisors; keeping faculty actively supportive and involved; advising students concerning the pros and cons of the co-op experience; serving nontraditional students Minorities, women, handi- capped, foreign; whether the alternating or the parallel model is more advanta- geous to the student; how to describe living accommodations and help co-op students find ways to minimize getting "out of sync" with peers; whether or not special student fees should be charged; whether admission to co-op programs should be selective; how the college can identify appropriate resources to support a quality co-op program; identification and involvement of new employers; how employers can be encouraged to be more supportive of co-op education, and make long-term, meaningful commitments to it; how to communicate the advantages of co-op to the various pub- lics; and the building of a comprehensive data base to support research on . . . . issues in cooperative ec .ucatlon. A national assessment of cooperative education was initiated in 1975 at the request of the Office of Planning, Budgeting, and Evaluation of the U.S. Office of Education. Completed in 1977, the study involved 8,185 respondents affiliated with more than 100 two- and four-year colleges in the United States. The findingsi3 of the study include the following:

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26 ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION Those who participate in cooperative education support it. Insti- tutions with cooperative education programs and employers who hire co-op students expressed strong support and indicated their intention to increase the number of students who would participate. Cooperative education contributes significantly to the career preparation of students. More students who enrolled in cooperative education programs, as compared to those who did not, perceived their job skills advancing through their undergraduate program. The find- ings showed that cooperative education contributes to employment after graduation, with a more direct relationship between college major and full-time, aftergraduation employment and a more direct relation- ship between current job and career plans. Cooperative education is a mechanism for student financial assistance. Cooperative education is cost-effective for students. Cooperative education is cost-effective for employers. Cooperative education constitutes a program cost for institutions of higher education. The study showed that the most important rea- sons for supporting cooperative education were its potential for inte- grating academic and career development and for developing student motivation. Title IV-D of the Higher Education Act has made a significant contribution to the national expansion of cooperative education. As of 1977, approximately 700 programs had been planned, implemented, strengthened, or expanded as a direct result of Title IV-D Now Title VIII) grants. It was a sound legislative decision to support cooperative educa- tion through direct grants to institutions rather than as additional scholarship or loan monies to students or as subsidies to cooperative education employers. The federal investment of Title IV-D Now Title VIII) is more cost- effective than the federal student loan program. The future prospects for the national expansion of cooperative education are good. The saturation point of student, institution, or employer participation in cooperative education has not been reached. Two percent of students enrolled in higher education, about one-third of the nation's higher education institutions, and approximately 30,000 employers are involved in cooperative education. The incen- tives of expansion are far greater than its deterrents, though more ade- quate and persuasive information about cooperative education is needed.

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COOPERATIVE EDUCATION AND ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY 27 The Endicott Report, published each year by Northwestern Univer- sity's Placement Office, asked employers what they might change to improve technical college programs. Their responses, in order of fre- quency, were as follows: (1) a hands-on approach with more co-op and work experiences, (2) improved communication skills, t3) less empha- sis on research and design, t4) closer ties to industry, and t5J more faculty with industrial experience. These preferences relate strongly to the purpose of engineering technology education, but in addition, items 1 and 4 support the merits of cooperative education. Recommendations 1. Cooperative education in all of its forms should be expanded through greater industrial, institutional, and governmental support. 2. Faculty-industry linkages should be encouraged.