Title page for ETD etd-3739163049751491

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Riess, Janet T.
URN etd-3739163049751491
Title Student Satisfaction with the Cooperative Education Program at Virginia Tech
Degree Master of Arts
Department Student Personnel Services
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Malone, James H.
McBride, James L.
Ware, Kimberly
Creamer, Donald G. Committee Chair
  • none
Date of Defense 1997-04-16
Availability unrestricted
The Cooperative Education component of Career

Services at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State

University is undergoing a Business Process

Re-engineering to develop the "Best Cooperative

Education" program. The components considered in

this process are the employers, the students, the

staff, and the University faculty.

To determine what the students think of the present

program and what they might want from an ideal

program, a survey was developed and sent to all

students currently enrolled in the program and the

program participants who graduated in 1996.

Participants were surveyed on three different areas:

conducting a job search, assessing their experience

on the job, and program administration. In addition,

they were given the opportunity to comment on why

they chose to participate in co-op, what the benefits

were for participation, and what changes they would

like to see in the program.

Results of the survey showed that the main reason

for choosing to participate in the program was to

gain experience of all kinds. This experience included

the "real world," the corporate culture, interpersonal

skills, making contacts, having a better sense of

self-worth, verifying choice of a major, and making

links between classroom learning and on the job

experience. Earning money to finance their education

was a distant second choice.

Increases in the mean responses of questions about

the jobs being meaningful, challenging, utilizing skills

and abilities, helping in classroom learning, involving

well-defined projects, providing a variety of tasks

and activities, allowing independent actions, and

helping with classroom learning showed that as the

students completed more work terms, they more

strongly agreed that their job provided these

attributes. They believed their colleagues at work

were concerned about their professional growth and

development and two-thirds would go to work for

the company if given an opportunity.

Telephone interviews are becoming more popular

and should be included in skills-building sessions with

prospective co-op students, according to the

respondents. While most students found their jobs

through Career Services and a co-op job fair,

several departments provided the services in-house

for their own students.

Suggestions for improving the program clearly

revealed that the students expect help and support

through the whole process--finding the job,

preparing to go to the workplace, and throughout

their remaining undergraduate experience whether

they are at school or at work.

The students' preferences for program services may

be difficult to provide within the current department

culture where the goal is to do more with less.

Career Services may need to make some decisions

about how to spend their resources.

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