Unique among cooperative programs, the Multiple Engineering Cooperative Program and the Civil Engineering Cooperative Program (MECOP and CECOP) at Oregon State University, Portland State University, Oregon Tech and The University of Portland demonstrate the power of an effective business/education partnership. The source of strength for these programs is the imaginative ideas they are founded upon: support by a voluntary annual assessment on member companies; insisting upon a high order of industry interaction with the university and its students; and continual improvement as the University adjusts its curriculum on recommendations made by the industry partners.
The multiple Engineering Cooperative Program is a program available to students in disciplines related to the engineering industry. These include:
- Chemical Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Computer Engineering
- Computer Science
- Construction Engineering Management
- Electrical Engineering
- Energy Systems Engineering
- Environmental Engineering
Many programs currently exist with university-industry cooperation. Few, however, have blended as many of the elements found in the MECOP. The program provides Oregon State, Oregon Tech, Portland State and University of Portland students with a uniqueand in many waysinnovative program of education.
Five-Year Degree / Two Six-Month Internships
Much discussion has evolved around the inability of major universities to provide an adequate education in engineering in a four-year program. Economic limitations hinder their ability to keep up with state-of-the-art technology. With this in mind, we feel we are providing the best of both worldsthe University for the technical/theoretical background, and selected industries for the practical, state-of-the-art applications. Our goal is to supply the Northwest with the best engineers with the necessary tools to be true contributors in their chosen fields.
Students are selected into the program through two screening processes. First, they are screened academically in their sophomore year. This is primarily an effort to ensure that students are academically qualified to take upper-division courses. A second screening takes place through an interview process during which all members of the MECOP Board interview the students applying for the program. The goal of this screening is to make every effort to ensure that the students are qualified and ready for future internship placement.
MECOP's objective is to develop students through a variety of high quality companies and firms that employ a wide range of engineering disciplines. To insure this, the students are required to intern at two different companies. This allows both the University and the students a more representative view of today's diverse engineering opportunities.
Representatives from each company offering internships for students in the program are required to participate in placing the students into internships. The process consists of an informal social gathering introducing students and representatives, followed by interviews. Each student is interviewed by a group of company representatives to ask questions and clarify students' needs and expectations in an internship. The purpose is to match students and companies, achieving mutual benefits to all parties.
Industry and University Member Representation
Each participating company and university appoints a representative to attend member meetings. This board of representatives serves a vital role for the program. These members develop, help manage, and actively participate in all program activities. These activities include but are not limited to curriculum development, financial support, student selection, development of internship sites, placement of students into internships, and the promotion of MECOP.
The Board of Directors
MECOP administration is overseen by a Board of Directors. Directors are elected by the industry member representatives for staggered three year terms at the end of each year. Each Director may also head a specific committee (e.g. Finance, Student Support, Operations). Directors collectively work with the Executive Director to carry out the MECOP mission.
The Executive Director
MECOP's Executive Director is responsible for the implementation and administration of the program. It is a full-time position supported by the MECOP Board of Representatives and the MECOP Office. This method insures accountability to both industry and the University, and promotes a balance between the two interests.
The MECOP Office
The MECOP Office runs the day-to-day operations of the program. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Managing program related records and materials.
- Planning and administering MECOP events (e.g. Internship Placement Interviews).
- Facilitating communications among the three parts of MECOP (students, industry and universities) through the MECOP website and email/phone communications.
- Assisting the Executive Director and the Board of Directors with program administration.
- Handling the day-to-day finances of the program.
Each member company pays a fee to the program. If a member company is in CECOP, this fee is based on the size of the company. If they are in MECOP, it is a base fee plus a fee per student. The exact amounts for the fees are determined by the Board of Directors and annually voted for approval by industry representatives. The funds raised are used to support the administrative end of the program (The MECOP Office), along with other administrative overhead incurred through the operation of the program.