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University seeks money for internships and co-ops

Students may be offered an increased number of internship and co-op opportunities beginning next year if the University succeeds in attaining grant monies from the Choose Ohio First Co-op/Internship Program. The University will be sending a Request for a Proposal (RFP) to the state May 8 in order to apply for an Experiential Learning Impact Grant of approximately $3 million for the 2009-2010 academic year, according to Barry Piersol, assistant to the dean and director of co-ops in the College of Technology who helped write the RFP and served on the University’s Co-op/Internship Task Force. ‘Through this grant, we are going to touch more students in making them aware of the opportunities that lay outside of the classroom that will assist them in their selection of their careers and full time employment after graduation,’ Piersol said. ‘Our goal is to double the number of internships and co-ops in the next five years.’ Prior to the completion of the RFP, a Co-op/Internship Task Force was appointed in November to review co-op and internship programs at the University and develop ‘recommendations for the vision and administration of the co-op/internship component of academic programs,’ according to the Task Force’s Final Report, which was sent March 25 to Mark Gromko, interim vice president for academic affairs and provost, and Edward Whipple, vice president for student affairs. Recommendations were offered by the Task Force ‘to support future growth of [co-op and internship] experiences, better tracking, more training, greater external engagement, and a clear and defined role for faculty,’ according to the report. ‘[Members of the task force] looked, and we inventoried every single program on campus very, very thoroughly,’ Piersol said. Piersol said the committee realized that the College of Technology has ‘the only ‘pure’ co-op program on campus.’ ‘Others were pretty wowed about what our standards are and what’s expected,’ he said. ‘ Piersol said the College of Technology’s cooperative education program is one of 10 other schools’ programs in the nation to be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Cooperative Education. All majors in the college are required to participate in three co-ops. ‘We’re going to use our college we hope … as the model that others can follow,’ Piersol said. ‘If we’re awarded funds … we’re going to work hard at getting other programs and departments to instead of making [co-op and internship programs] optional, to make [them] required.’ Piersol said the University administrators and faculty involved in the grant application process ‘want to make people aware of what potential this has to an undergraduate’s success.’ ‘We would like to be able to explain and train and make other programs that aren’t doing co-ops aware of the process in which to do that to integrate that into their curricula,’ he said. The Cooperative Education and Internship Program, which is run by staff in the University’s Career Center, ‘places about the same number of students per year that we do,’ Piersol said. He explained that in 2008 the CEIP and the College of Technology’s co-op program each placed about 750 students in internships and co-ops. ‘ JoAnn Kroll, executive director of the Career Center, said being able to offer more internship and co-op opportunities would be ‘wonderful news for Bowling Green students in many ways.’ She said students would have more opportunities to apply their classroom learning, ‘develop valuable relationships and connections with employers that could lead to full-time employment opportunities,’ and earn additional money, among other benefits.’ Piersol said the state is supposed to notify the Office of the Provost about whether the University will receive the grant by July 1.

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