Page 11 - Best of Co-op 2019-2020
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 “Our co-op employers are like our instructors out in the field...they are teaching a class but in the context of their own day-to-day mission. And the incentive for the employer is that they’re getting someone who
is on the cutting edge of their field.”
Assistant Professor Bill Mongan Steinbright Faculty Advisory Group
“There is a clear difference between the student who has been on their first co-op and the one who hasn’t,” reflects Mongan. “Students are changed: They manage their time better, they ask engaging questions, they’re more proactive and intentional in their learning. Students come back and say, ‘I now think of my classes like meetings and my homework are my projects. I used systems to manage that just like I did while I was on co-op and calendars like I did on co-op.’ That’s what experiential education brings.”
In its search for best practices in experiential education, Drexel established the Center for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning Excellence (CASTLE). The interdisciplinary CASTLE team is building tools to assess study abroad, research, volunteering and service-learning programs at Drexel and other schools to understand how real-world learning opportunities impact students.
“We’re starting to see things that we’ve learned over 100 years of co-op make their way into insights and actions that can be reproduced in other places,” says Adam Fontecchio, director of CASTLE and professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering.
CASTLE: The Drexel professors involved with CASTLE are Adam Fontecchio, professor of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering; Jennifer Stanford, associate professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences; and N. John DiNardo, special advisor to the provost and a CASTLE Faculty Fellow. Not pictured are Jason Silverman, professor of mathematics education in the School of Education; and Eric Brewe, associate professor of physics and science education in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education.
By asking questions and examining extensive co-op data, Drexel is able to create new areas of academic excellence that position graduates for cutting-edge careers, and to train individuals from other institutions about the benefits of experiential education.
The Proof Is in the Outcomes
Drexel Co-op success stories are many.
Michael Britt ’83, ’90 was just 19 years old in 1979 when he started his first co-op at the bridge engineering firm Modjeski and Masters in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, which made its name designing and inspecting iconic bridges such as the I-74 Bridge on the Mississippi River and the world’s busiest George Washington Bridge. Over two decades, he rose to become president in 2017, a preamble to being named CEO last year.
THE BEST OF CO-OP 2019-2020

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