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 Keywords
Date of Defense 1997-04-16 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe 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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