Co-op Student Resources


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CONTACTS

 

Co-op course enrollment/expectations

Employer engagement events and recruitment

Co-op intranet/registration/paperwork

IMPORTANT: Students need to schedule EGR 289 during the fall semester, prior to the summer targeted for the first co-op semester.  Students who will not complete the foundation coursework, prior to the summer targeted for Engineering Co-op I (EGR 290), should not enroll in EGR 289 until the following year. Note, the EGR 289 offering is limited to the fall semester, and the EGR 290 offerings are limited to the summer and winter semesters. If you are unsure of your readiness for EGR 289 enrollment, please schedule to meet with an academic advisor to discuss. All students will be screened for academic readiness prior to full course enrollment.

HOW TO OBTAIN A CO-OP

 

Step 0:  Consider a non-academic internship to prepare for co-op enrollment

Step 1:  Enroll in EGR 289 engineering professionalism (fall only)

Step 2:  Apply for secondary admission

Step 3:  Secure a co-op position

Step 4:  Complete a co-op confirmation form

Step 5:  Finalize the co-op position and confirm with GVSU

Step 6:  Report any extenuating circumstances

Step 7:  Confirm and attend mandatory co-op start-up meeting

Step 8:  Register for EGR 290 engineering Co-op I course

CO-OP COURSE REQUIREMENTS

 

EGR 290 (Co-op I) - Summer/winter offerings

EGR 390 (Co-op II) - Winter/fall offerings

EGR 490 (Co-op III) - Fall offering

OTHER CO-OP RESOURCES

 

Individual educational assignment plan

EGR work and study abroad experiences

EGR student co-op experiences

List of co-op employers


CONTACTS

For questions, please contact the following faculty/staff:

CO-OP COURSE ENROLLMENT/EXPECTATIONS

Academic or workplace component of the co-op program, including academic requirements/milestones, individualized educational
plan, and on-site co-op visitation and (or) phone/web conference by a faculty co-op advisor, please contact:

Upper-Division Academic Advisor or Designee – After Secondary Admission to Discuss/Update Academic Plan

Assigned EGR 289 Instructor – During EGR 289 Enrollment

Assigned Faculty Advisor – During Co-op Work Semester Enrollment

Otherwise, if additional assistance is necessary, please contact:

Diane LaFreniere
James R. Sebastian Chair
Engineering Educational Development, Assessment/Accreditation and Co-op Education
Email: lafrenid@gvsu.edu

EMPLOYER ENGAGEMENT EVENTS AND RECRUITMENT

Initiating contact with a new internship employer or co-op company, resources needed for employment search process, employer engagement events (practice interviews, employer information sessions, career fairs or other recruitment events).

Chris Babbitt
School of Engineering Liaison, Career Center
Email: babbitc1@gvsu.edu

CO-OP INTRANET/REGISTRATION/PAPERWORK

Assistance with engineering intranet, co-op registration, and co-op paperwork submission inquiries should be addressed to:

HPC Support (HPCsupport@gvsu.edu)

School of Engineering User Support


HOW TO OBTAIN A CO-OP

STEP 0: CONSIDER A NON-ACADEMIC INTERNSHIP TO PREPARE FOR CO-OP ENROLLMENT

Meet with Career Advisor to Discuss Overall Employment Goals/Plan

Schedule a meeting with a career advisor in the Career Center to discuss overall engineering goals and plans for seeking a potential engineering internship that may lead to co-op employment.  Career advisors will be able to assist with resources necessary for securing employment:  interest surveys, application materials, interview skills/process, job search process navigation, Handshake and other job portals to secure employment, and employment contract negotiation, particularly when multiple offers are received.  Virtual career appointments can be scheduled via the following link:  Virtual Career Lab Appointments. Specific questions related to the engineering co-op program recruitment process and employer engagement events should be addressed to the School of Engineering Liaison in the Career Center, Chris Babbitt, babbitc1@gvsu.edu.

STEP 1: ENROLL IN EGR 289 ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALISM (FALL ONLY)

Engineering Professionalism (EGR 289)

The course content in EGR 289 Engineering Professionalism covers the secondary admission application process for entrance into an engineering major. Professional development, engineering career prep/awareness, and employer engagement events are coordinated through the Engineering Professionalism course (EGR 289). EGR 289 introduces potential engineering cooperative education students to the industrial environment and the basic principles of leadership, as well as the pillars of the GVSU co-op program (accountability, professionalism, mindfulness/mindset). The course content helps students to develop self-awareness through self-assessment and career development theory and prepares students for the development of application materials, professional etiquette, and the engineering interview process. The student is exposed to interviews with industry/corporate employers, as well as practice interviews with corporate employers. This process helps to build confidence and preparedness for the job search process.


IMPORTANT: Students need to schedule EGR 289 in the fall semester, prior to the summer targeted for the first co-op semester.  Students who will not complete the foundation coursework, prior to the summer targeted for Engineering Co-op I (EGR 290), should not enroll in EGR 289 until the following year. Note, the EGR 289 offering is limited to the fall semester, and the EGR 290 offerings are limited to the summer and winter semesters. If you are unsure of your readiness for EGR 289 enrollment, please schedule to meet with an academic advisor to discuss.  All students will be screened for academic readiness prior to full course enrollment.

STEP 2: APPLY FOR SECONDARY ADMISSION

Secondary Admission Application

Prior to participating in the co-op program, students must successfully pass the course (‘C’ or better) and earn credit for EGR 289.  Prior to the end of the course, students will be advised to apply for secondary admission into one of the six engineering majors offered within the GVSU School of Engineering. The secondary admission process requires an online application form. In addition to the online application review, the final component of the application decision involves a review of the practice interview feedback from corporate/industrial employers to assess the student’s preparedness for the co-op job search and interview process.

Note: A student must have an overall grade point average of 2.70 or above and a 'C' or better in all foundation courses (with only one repeat) in order to gain secondary admission to the School of Engineering.  Learn more about secondary admission

 

Schedule and Attend a Mandatory Practice Interview

Practice interviews are conducted by industry volunteers and are an academic requirement in EGR 289. Each student completes a final resume and an engineering career development research project to determine desired industries, culture, career paths, etc. to prepare for industry/corporate interviews and co-op employment. The student participates in a mandatory practice interview with corporate/industry employers. The instructor and corporate representatives provide feedback and constructive criticism regarding the interview responses, etiquette, attire, and overall process. The professional input received from the course instructor and corporate representative provides the student with the opportunity to gain valuable improvement feedback, before scheduling co-op interviews and moving forward with the job search process. During the practice interviews, the engineering liaison and Career Center staff provide the corporate interviewers with a feedback form for each student participant. The forms are maintained in the student's co-op file and made available to the faculty for reference during the secondary admission process. The aim of the practice interview process is to assist the student in developing the necessary confidence and assertiveness to be successful in the co-op job search and interview process.

STEP 3: SECURE A CO-OP POSITION

Navigating the Job Search Process and Securing Employment

A commitment to owning the co-op job search is a critical component of securing co-employment.  Once a student is admitted into the School of Engineering, the corporate search begins for co-op employment. The Career Center engineering liaison, Chris Babbitt, will assist the students with the necessary resources to find co-op employment, but the student is ultimately responsible for securing the co-op position. The student must take the initiative to lead the job search and locate a co-op position. A student is required to secure a co-op position prior to being granted full secondary admission status, which allows the student to take Upper Division (junior and senior-level) undergraduate courses.

If the student desires to co-op for a company that is currently not on the co-op employer pre-approved list, it is the student’s responsibility to contact Chris Babbitt (babbitc1@gvsu.edu) at the Career Center to discuss. He will initiate correspondence with the employer regarding the co-op program guidelines and requirements and submit to Diane LaFreniere (lafrenid@gvsu.edu) for final approval.

STEP 4: COMPLETE A CO-OP CONFIRMATION FORM

Confirming the Secured Employment and Registering for Co-op

An online co-op confirmation form must be completed when employment is secured, or by the end of the first week of the academic semester, at the latest.  To complete, go to the Co-op website.

Login using GVSU login credentials (same login credentials used for Blackboard, outlook, laptop login, etc.).

This form will require information about the workplace, including the supervisor's contact information, so be sure to have this information when completing the form.  Note, if the supervisor’s contact information is not available at the time of registration, please indicate as TBD (to be determined), until the information has been confirmed. Note, if the supervisor contact changes during the co-op rotation, please contact Diane LaFreniere, Sebastian Chair, at lafrenid@gvsu.edu to update.

 

STEP 5: FINALIZE THE CO-OP POSITION AND CONFIRM WITH GVSU

Submit the Finalized Student and Co-op Agreements

Once a student secures a co-op position, a student and employer co-op agreement form must be filled out prior to the first co-op work semester. The co-op agreement form can be found by clicking the link below.

NOTE: The overall submission process for the student and employer agreement forms has recently changed to accommodate submission through an online form system.  Please enter the forms using the following links:

 

Co-op Student Agreement Form

Co-op Employer Agreement Form

 

All students enrolled in a fall EGR 289 offering will be required to submit the student agreement as a final course deliverable.  All students that are not currently enrolled in EGR 289 must submit the form via the link above to ensure that it is on file prior to seeking approved co-op employment.  In both cases, students should direct the secured employer to the link provided above for completion of the online employer agreement.  This form must be on file prior to the start date of the planned co-op work semester.

Please be sure to review the student form for typographical and other errors prior to submission.  Note, the student and employer forms will not need to be resubmitted for the second (EGR 390) and third rotation (EGR 490), provided that the employment plan is consistent with the initial employer agreement submission.

The online form system should mail a copy of the form to the student and employer for reference.

STEP 6: REPORT ANY EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES

Determine the Need for an Alternative Work Agreement and Report an Extenuating Circumstance

All students are expected to complete 500 hours of work during the academic semester and should expect to begin/end the work assignment in alignment with the GVSU academic calendar for the designated work semester. Note, work that does not coincide with the timeline for the academic semester may not be applied toward the 500-hour requirement, unless approved. Course time conflicts or other extenuating circumstances (i.e. medical leave of absence) that interfere with the Banner course hours (8:00 to 3:50 p.m.) or the approved plan of study will not be approved, unless an extenuating circumstance warrants such enrollment.  In such cases, the following protocol (order for approval) applies for obtaining the signatures necessary for consideration for an academic time conflict:

  1. Academic Advisor
  2. Sebastian Chair/Co-op Administrator
  3. Faculty Member of Conflicting Course
  4. Employer (*)

(*) Note:  Academic time conflicts are rarely approved by the Academic Advisor and Sebastian Chair. Further note, time conflicts and other extenuating circumstances will not be approved in cases where the goal is to shorten the time to graduation (i.e. enroll in dual major, minor or repeat courses) or when the employer is contacted regarding the conflict, prior to receiving the necessary academic signatures.
 
Before signing a time conflict form, the academic advisor will confirm that there are no available alternatives that will eliminate an interference with the scheduled co-op work hours, and the Sebastian Chair will confirm that the supervisor approves of the proposed time conflict.

Because an extenuating circumstance presents a unique situation for each student, there is no template.  Please outline a brief statement of the extenuating circumstance, as well as a detailed plan of the weekly work hours to meet the 500 hours required to earn course credit.  The following signatures must be included:  student, supervisor, Sebastian Chair, Diane LaFreniere (lafrenid@gvsu.edu). This form should be submitted along with the student and employer agreements.

STEP 7: CONFIRM AND ATTEND MANDATORY CO-OP START-UP MEETING

Confirm Attendance at Mandatory Co-op Meeting to Discuss Academic and Professional Requirements

All students are expected to attend the mandatory co-op start-up meeting, prior to enrollment in EGR 290.  This meeting is generally held in late March or early April to discuss the academic and professional components of the online co-op course.  A meeting invitation will be received from the Sebastian Chair, Diane LaFreniere, lafrenid@gvsu.edu, to notify regarding the date/time of the meeting.

Note, the academic requirements include downloadable modules and online quizzes, as well as the submission of the student/employer agreement, student/employer assessment, and Experience Matters summary.  The professional component requires students to complete 500 hours of work during the academic semester.  Any work outside the semester of academic enrollment is not considered toward the 500-hour requirement, unless an approved extenuating agreement is on file in the student records.

STEP 8: REGISTER FOR EGR 290 ENGINEERING CO-OP I COURSE

Register for Required Co-op Course and Review Academic and Professional Components

All students must be granted a pending admittance into one of the six engineering majors to register for EGR 290.  Students are not academically eligible to register for upper-division courses until all foundation coursework is complete, and the program has granted full admittance into the upper-division.  The secondary admittance review/approval process takes place at the end of the semester, following the submission of student grades to the Banner system. Once reviewed/approved a letter of full-admittance or denial is received.  If the letter indicates full admittance, the student has the ability to immediately register for upper-division courses.  Registration should take place as soon as possible to ensure section/course availability.  If a denial letter is received, the student is advised to seek program advising to meet the secondary admittance requirements and reapply for secondary admission when eligible to do so (any semester, prior to final grade submission). 

During a co-op work semester, students are only able to register for a maximum of four EGR or CIS credits during the evening hours (4:00 pm or later).  Note, the engineering-prefixed general education courses, EGR 302, 306, and 406, do not apply to this policy.


CO-OP COURSE REQUIREMENTS

During each co-op semester, the student must be signed up for the corresponding co-op course. The following descriptions contains a brief overview of the academic and professional requirements for each course. All students are expected to complete both components with a satisfactory grade (‘C’ or higher), as there are EAC (Engineering Accreditation Commission) of ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) student learning outcomes associated with course assignments.  Students will need to demonstrate mastery of these outcomes, prior to graduation.

NOTE: Students should consult the course syllabus and Blackboard site for specific academic requirements and due dates associated with each co-op work semester.

EGR 290 (CO-OP I) - SUMMER/WINTER OFFERINGS

The first co-op rotation allows the student to be immersed into an engineering role within a company. The student learns how a company is structured, how the engineering discipline and personnel fit into the company, and how things get done in the "real world". Typical tasks include: entering engineering changes into prints (to learn the product line), working on the floor (to learn how a product is produced), completing a short-term design project (to gain experience in getting things done in a plant).

While working in industry, the student must be concurrently enrolled in EGR 290. The student has academic requirements that include maintaining a work journal with reflections on the workplace experiences (keeping in mind some items are confidential or proprietary to an organization and therefore should not be described in detail).  Note, all students are expected to “own” their role and work toward a mutually satisfactory path forward within the employment setting. If questions or concerns arise, the journal is available to seek faculty advising, prior to meeting with the supervisor/mentor to discuss and resolve. In addition to the required journal entries, the curriculum also includes academic modules/quizzes on professionalism, engineering ethics, project management, and engineering economics, At the end of the semester, the student/employer assessment and Experience Matters summary must be submitted to complete the final culminating experience for the co-op course.  The student is also expected to demonstrate professionalism in assisting with the faculty advisor site visit or web/phone conference logistics. Students must receive a ‘C’ or better in both the academic and professional components to meet the cooperative education graduation requirements.

EGR 390 (CO-OP II) – WINTER/FALL OFFERINGS

During the EGR 390 or Engineering Co-op II rotation, the student has successfully completed one co-op rotation and has worked in an engineering capacity within a co-op company. The student has also taken a full semester of engineering coursework related to their major (Biomedical, Computer, Electrical, Interdisciplinary, Mechanical, or Product Design & Manufacturing). The projects or work assigned should be progressively more challenging and should involve more increased responsibility in alignment with the company's observation of the student's ability to assume that responsibility.

The academic component of Engineering Co-op II concurrently engages the student in academic material with an increasing level of difficulty during the second workplace rotation and prepares the student for the professional knowledge and skills related to engineering technical communications, particularly technical proposals.  During this semester, students are immersed in more challenging experiential learning in an industrial/professional environment, in addition to online academic instruction, specifically developed to meet the needs of engineering professionals. The writing intensive academic content associated with the second co-op semester focuses explicitly on developing written communication in the context of engineering technical communications, preparing students to communicate professionally and effectively in an engineering workplace.

The academic component of the Engineering Co-op II course is centered on a series of technical writing exercises.  Writing assignments include a preliminary and final presentation that provide an overview of a proposed technical project; an engineering pre-proposal memo and two drafts of a final formal technical engineering proposal.  Ideally, the technical proposals will be based on projected engineering projects with a feasible, supervisor-approved workplace implementation.  In addition to the writing skills component of the course, which involves technical proposal development, two learning modules will be reviewed to gain an understanding of the examples and discussion regarding various types of written technical communication, as well as an overview of professional writing requirements (grammar, mechanics, spelling, transitions, etc.).  At the end of the semester, the student/employer assessment and Experience Matters summary must be submitted to complete the final culminating experience for the co-op course. The student is also expected to demonstrate professionalism in assisting with the faculty advisor site visit or web/phone conference logistics. Students must receive a ‘C’ or better in both the academic and professional components to meet the cooperative education graduation requirements.

EGR 490 (CO-OP III) – FALL OFFERING

EGR 490 or Engineering Co-op III is the last co-op semester for the student, which coincides with the beginning of the student's senior year. Increased levels of responsibility should be expected and the student should be working at a level that is commensurate with a junior or apprentice-level engineer by the end of the term.

During this semester, the student has academic requirements that including maintaining a work journal, detailing the student's reflections of workplace experiences (keeping in mind that some items are confidential or proprietary to an organization and therefore should not be described in detail in the journal).  The curriculum also includes reading assignments and academic modules/quizzes related to engineering ethics.  Additionally, the course requires students to review engineering case studies and demonstrate an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts  At the end of the semester, the student/employer assessment and Experience Matters summary must be submitted to complete the final culminating experience for the co-op course. The student is also expected to demonstrate professionalism in assisting with the faculty advisor site visit or web/phone conference logistics. Students must receive a ‘C’ or better in both the academic and professional components to meet the cooperative education graduation requirements.


OTHER CO-OP RESOURCES

The School of Engineering and Career Center work together to provide the necessary resources to support the mandatory co-op program.  The School of Engineering assists with student inquiries related to the academic and professional component of the mandatory work rotations.  The Career Center assists the co-op students with the employer engagement and recruitment process necessary to secure co-op employment, as well as a potential conversion to full-time employment.

INDIVIDUAL EDUATIONAL ASSIGNMENT PLAN

An individual educational assignment plan is developed with each co-op student to match the corporate and departmental needs with the developing needs and capabilities of the student. This information is formulated in the development of the co-op student agreement and is included in the co-op employer agreement, which is approved by the student, employer, and Sebastian Chair, Diane LaFreniere (lafrenid@gvsu.edu). Typically, a new co-op will start with a Level I (EGR 290) assignment to learn engineering basics regarding the company’s processes, materials, products and services. Note, given the uniqueness of each employment setting, each student’s individual educational plan will be unique and dependent upon technical/professional aptitude and experience. Some students will progress quicker than others and build confidence at a quicker pace. Further note, all students are expected to navigate a mutually beneficial path forward. Assigned faculty advisors are helpful for professional guidance and advice.  Level II (EGR 390) assignments will further expose the co-op student to a variety of relevant areas where the developing technical and professional skills can be applied and integrated with an intense professional and academic workload, allowing the student to gain an overall accountability and balance in both areas. The Level III (EGR 490) assignments will typically build upon previous experiences, as the co-op is student works to completing the academic degree. Workplace assignments will expose the co-op to a variety of products, functions and locations, each with a steep learning curve. Typical assignments are commensurate with those of a post-graduate, entry-level engineer and typically include engineering design.

EGR WORK AND STUDY ABROAD EXPERIENCES

For information related to work and study abroad experiences offered at GVSU, please refer to the following link:

Study & Work Abroad Programs

Any student who is interested in a work and study abroad experience should plan early and contact the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, Assistant Dean, Casey Thelenwood, at thelecas@gvsu.edu.

EGR STUDENT CO-OP EXPERIENCES

For examples of typical co-op experiences, refer to the GVSU Experience Matters website. This site documents student intern and co-op experiences the university. Simply identify the desired major, and the site will populate examples for a variety of engineering examples (Biomedical, Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, or Product Design & Manufacturing Engineering). 

Also, the PCEC Employer Media Repository is available under the ‘Organization’ section of Blackboard, and it includes video/image content, as well as brief overviews/literature for approved co-op employers.

LIST OF CO-OP EMPLOYERS

For a complete list of approved co-op employers, please contact:           

Chris Babbitt
School of Engineering Liaison, Career Center
Phone: (616) 331-6708 
Email: babbitc1@gvsu.edu




Page last modified January 11, 2022