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Title: Division of Cooperative Education records
Dates:n.d., 1914-2007
Call Number:A16

Historical Note

Northeastern University has been a leader in national and international cooperative education from the inception of its cooperative education program in 1909. Northeastern administrators have testified before Congress regarding the program, and have been officers of both the National Commission of Cooperative Education and the Cooperative Education Association. In addition, President Kenneth Ryder was the founding chair of the World Council on Cooperative Education (1975-89). The records of the Division of Cooperative Education document the myriad activities of Northeastern faculty, staff and students in relation to cooperative education.

The concept of cooperative education was first articulated in 1900 by professor Herman Schneider (1872-1939), then on the faculty of Lehigh University (Bethlehem, Penn.). In 1903 Schneider was appointed to the faculty of the University of Cincinnati and in 1906 began an experimental program of cooperative education. Northeastern University, then known as the Association Day School of the Boston Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA), was the second college in the United States to adopt such a plan. In 1909 the Boston YMCA opened the Day School of the Polytechnic Institute which offered a cooperative engineering program. Advantages to this program were the ability to earn one's way through college, the opportunity to gain practical experience along with theoretical knowledge, and a chance for students to become acquainted with their chosen field.

Initially, the program was confined to the college of engineering and administered by the Dean of Engineering. In 1919, however, the school hired a Director of Engineering Practice, Philip C. Nash, who assumed responsibility for the cooperative engineering program. The concept expanded to other departments and the Day School of Business initiated a cooperative program in 1924, and new colleges such as Liberal Arts (1935) and Education (1953) were founded with a cooperative component. By 1928 a separate Department of Cooperative Work had been established with Winthrop E. Nightingale as director.

In 1959 the department was renamed the Department of Cooperative Education, and by 1965 it was transformed into the Division of Cooperative Education. The Division was comprised of three units: the Department of Cooperative Education, which maintained Northeastern's cooperative program; the Department of Graduate Placement, which provided placement services for seniors and alumni; and the Center for Cooperative Education, which was responsible for outreach. The Center provided consulting services to outside organizations that wished to create, improve, or expand cooperative education programs.

In the 1970s, other units were added to the Division. The Cooperative Education Research Center, directed by James Wilson, was created in 1973. In addition to undertaking statistical and analytical research concerning cooperative education and its effectiveness, the Research Center maintained an Information Clearinghouse of cooperative education publications. The Institute for Off-Campus Experience and Cooperative Education was also initiated in 1973, with the Center for Secondary School Work Experience Programs following in 1976. The first unit arranged cooperative experiences for students from other colleges, the second for secondary school students. The Division occupied its own building in 1976 when the Russell B. Stearns Center for Cooperative Education was completed.

The Department of Cooperative Education also expanded its services during these years. The Life Career Planning Program was designed to assist Northeastern students with career planning. The Office of International Cooperative Education also existed as a unit of the department at this time. Under the direction of Professor Stephen Kane, the department had placed students in Israel since 1971. By 1982, the Office of International Cooperative Education had initiated exchanges with Austria, Germany, France, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. The Office of International Cooperative Education operated independently for many years but officially became a unit of the Division in 1994.

The Division of Cooperative Education was dissolved in 2007 and replaced by an organizational structure in which Cooperative Education placements are handled by each of the individual Colleges with some functions carried on by Central Cooperative Education Services (Central Co-op). Central Co-op acts as the university-wide focal point for activities and initiatives related to cooperative education and providing support and services, focusing on employer relations, data collection and analysis, marketing, and communications between the co-op programs now located within each of the University's colleges. The Office of International Co-op also operates from within Central Co-op.
1909Co-operative Engineering Courses launched at the Polytechnic School of the YMCA Evening Institute.
1920Northeastern University begins granting degrees in the Co-operative School of Engineering.
1928Department of Cooperative Work established.
1959Department of Cooperative Work renamed Department of Cooperative Education.
1965Center for Cooperative Education established.
1965-1967Division of Cooperative Education created to oversee the operations of the Department of Cooperative Education, the Department of Graduate Placement Services, and the Center for Cooperative Education.
1973Institute for Experiential Education (later re-named the Institute for Off Campus Experience and Cooperative Education) incorporated.
1975Asa Smallidge Knowles Professorship of Cooperative Education (endowed Chair) created by the Board of Trustees.
1976Center for Secondary School Work Experience Education created.
1976Russell B. Stearns Center for Cooperative Education completed.
1994Office of International Cooperative Education joins the Division of Cooperative Education.
2007Division of Cooperative Education dissolved.
2007Central Cooperative Education Services (Central Co-op) created as focal point for college-based co-op programs.
Deans, Department of Cooperative Education
1959-1973Roy L. Wooldridge, Dean, 1959-1970; Vice President and Dean, 1970-1973
1965-1970Thomas McMahon, Director, 1965-1968; Associate Dean, 1968-70
1970-1992Paul Pratt, Assistant Dean and Director, 1970-1973; Acting Dean, 1973-1975; Dean,1975-1992
1992-1995Robert Vozzella, Interim Dean, 1992-1993; Dean, 1993-1995
1996-1997Theresa A. Harrigan, Interim Associate Dean
1997-1999Kristin R. Woolever, Interim Dean
1999-2003Robert Tillman, Acting Dean
2003-2007Doreen L. Hodgkin, Senior Associate Dean
Vice-Presidents, Division of Cooperative Education
1970-1989Roy Wooldridge, Vice President and Dean, 1970-1973; Vice President
1989-1991Karl Weiss, Interim Vice President
1991-1995Jane Scarborough
1995-1999Robert Vozzella
1999-2003Richard D. Porter, Acting Vice President
2003-2007Lynn Wachtel Lyford

Barbeau, Joseph E.Second to None: Seventy-five Years of Leadership in the Cooperative Education Movement. Boston:Northeastern University Custom Book Program, 1985.

Frederick, Antionette.Northeastern University: An Emerging Giant: 1959-1975. Boston: Northeastern University Custom Book Program, 1982.

Frederick, Antoinette. Northeastern University, Coming of Age: The Ryder Years, 1975-89. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1995.

Marston, Everett C. Origin and Development of Northeastern University, 1898-1960. Boston: Northeastern UniversityPress, 1961.

Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Northeastern University Bulletin (1965-2008).

Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Central Cooperative Education Services. Accessed 16 September 2010.