Over and over, Drexel graduates tell us they look back on their co-op experience as a watershed event of their university years: the invaluable interviewing process, the unparalleled chance to explore possibilities in their field, and the confidence-building that proves as worthwhile as the critical learning insights which inform their classroom work. Hearing such encouraging feedback reinforces my vision of Drexel as a modern urban research university whose students have as much to gain by stepping out into the real world as they do by hitting the books.
And, so, what could be better than blending those two realms? As you will read in this issue, the University has developed a remarkable and growing set of courses that fall under the rubric of “inside-out” learning. In teaching courses like these, faculty creatively guide undergraduates in applying classroom learning to real-life situations. Like managing a multimillion-dollar investment portfolio, helping prison inmates write memoirs, untangling difficult legal issues for community members, organizing a major entertainment event, and so much more.
In our 125th anniversary celebration, we were reminded how our long tradition of experiential learning still inspires everything we do. As much as the Drexel Co-op has been a pivotal part of Drexel’s origins, I am pleased to report that it continues to thrive.
More than 5,700 students participated in co-op this past academic year. They worked with nearly 1,700 employers, ranging from small entrepreneurial organizations to medium-sized businesses and major corporations. In fact, co-op opportunities know no bounds. This year, 743 students went on a co-op outside the region. And between 2011 and 2016, international co-ops rose by 88 percent. To support these experiences, our professional staff at the Steinbright Career Development Center work tirelessly to secure scholarship funding.
In today’s competitive job market, the experience gained and networks built by our students on co-op is more important than ever. For their part, employers consistently tell us they are satisfied with their co-op experience, with 86.6 percent saying they would consider hiring their student for a future co-op or full- time position. And nearly half of last year’s graduates received job offers from a former co-op employer.
Fifty years ago this year, the rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter Jimi Hendrix asked the question in song: “Are You Experienced?” For nearly a half-century before that — and ever since — Drexel graduates have confidently answered that question in the affirmative.
John A. Fry / President