Faculty Senate’s co-op program designed with student careers in mind

Kristen Kobe

Kent State’s Faculty Senate approved a proposal to establish a Cooperative Education Program during its monthly meeting on Monday, July 21. The program, set to begin in fall 2014, would give undergraduate students the chance to enhance their academic study at Kent State with a semester of full-time, career-related employment while still remaining a full-time student.

The idea behind bringing a co-op experience to the university level is that most of the programs require Kent State students to have some experience in those fields prior to graduation, said Melody Tankersley, the Provost’s Fellow. The establishment of this is in response to an alumni request, she said.    

“Students will find the opportunity to engage in a supervised semester long work program through the School of Undergraduate Studies in the Student Success Area,” Tankersley said. “A lot of students choose work and often have to drop out for a semester, which could put them in danger, especially in financial aid if they’re out too long.”  

David Smeltzer, a faculty senate member and an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, voiced his support for the co-op program.

“This would be great for our college because we require an internship and they all happen in the summer,” Smeltzer said. “To put in all the hours is really almost impossible with class; it would allow students to have opportunities in other semesters than just summer.”

The real benefit of a co-op is the experience itself, Tankersley said. Students will be able to work full-time during the semester but remain a Kent State student. The use of this program would be at the student’s request.

“I was excited to see this, as a parent of a child who was looking at engineering programs last year at Akron. It is great from a financial perspective,” said Kathryn Kerns, a Kent State psychology professor. “This is a really good thing for students, they get paid working in their field, and they get to save that money and can take out fewer loans.”

Contact Kristen Kobe at [email protected].