09/30/14 4:02 PM

Office of Cooperative Education

Cooperative Education @ Spelman

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"Co-op is often the single most important factor in helping our students define their future path, whether they enter the professional world or go on to graduate school." Northeastern University

It has been well documented in numerous circles, notably scholarly journals, the benefits of cooperative education (co-op) for student participants. Depending upon the format of the cooperative education program, a student could garner academic credit, compensation or both, for services rendered. More importantly, the student will be an active participant in "experiential learning;" the act of learning while doing.

"In fact, college students completing a co-op program have been found to have higher grade point averages at graduation (Schuurman, Pangborn, & McClintic, 2008) and higher salaries (e.g., Blair, Millea, 2004, Gardner & Motschenbacher, 1997; Garner, Nixon, & Motschenbacher, 1992) than their non co-op peers."

One of our many goals at Spelman College is to provide qualitative, as well as quantitative experiences for our students. Co-op does both by positioning the student in a quality placement at a for-profit, non-profit or government entity and by ensuring their learning experiences and contributions are measurable and meaningful on a daily basis.

Additionally, students work in an environment which demands accountability, commitment, teamwork and collaboration. Overall, the students have the opportunity to put theory to practice, and exercise their ability to think critically through work experiences.

  1. What is Cooperative Education?

    Cooperative Education (Co-op) is a structured method of combining classroom based education with practical work experience. It is an academic program integrating classroom learning and productive work experiences in a field related to a student's academic and career goals.

  2. Why Cooperative Education?

    Cooperative Education utilizes the workplace as a learning environment in which students test previously learned facts and theories, revise assumptions, and derive new and firsthand knowledge.

  3. What are the benefits?

  • Ability to integrate classroom theory with workplace practice
  • Academic motivation
  • Enhance critical thinking skills
  • Individual maturity: accountability, responsibility, commitment, etc.
  • Improve technical knowledge through use of state of the art equipment
  • Clarity regarding academic and career goals
  • Receive compensation toward future academic costs