Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

A Three-Way Partnership for Learning

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

A Three-Way Partnership for Learning

Article excerpt

THIS ARTICLE DESCRIBES AN ONGOING educational partnership between Fireman's Fund Insurance Company (FFIC) and California State University-Chico (CSUC). The core of the partnership is an on-campus internship program that: allows the university to defer expenses; allows FFIC to gain an on-campus presence; and lets students obtain real world experiences. The paper reports the partnership by positioning experiences with the partnership within key indicators of a student learning environment.

At the heart of the model is a learning partnership whereby the teacher identifies what needs to be learned and the student helps identify the means by which their learning occurs. Significantly, both sides of this union must recognize their obligations to the partnership. For example, the teacher creates a learning environment in which the student participates.

Earlier proponents of the model, Chickering and Gamson (1987), propose guidelines for introducing student learning into undergraduate education as "seven principles." The American Association of Higher Education (AAHE 1996) extended this list by adding five more "principles." They then divided all twelve into three groupings based around organizational culture, curriculum and instruction. Table 1 represents a subset of these principles that serve both as the objectives of the learning environment and as a means to evaluate our environment in a later section of this paper.

TABLE 1

Tasks for a Learning Centered Classroom

* Re-conceptualize Education as Driven by Learning

* Provide Opportunities for Self-Directed Learning

* Reshape Authority in the Classroom

* Adopt a Relational Learning Approach

* Pay Attention to Context

* Foster Lifelong Learning

Internships and co-ops represent another area of promise to address the concern of the skill mismatch suggested in the business school curricula. These are programs that move students off-campus and put them in a real-world, business environment for a period of time. Today, these programs are obvious recruiting devices for the sponsor program, but also lend themselves to opportunities for education and learning.

Endorsement of using these programs as a means of education can be found in the Social Work Education Model. Here Calloway and Beckstead (1997) specifically suggest incorporating into the education offered business students, the fundamental idea of internships as prescribed within the Social Work model. Their analysis further identified three main components of the model: philosophical foundation; faculty, student and community involvement; and program structure. The philosophy component provides the underpinning model. In this case, it is the integration of classroom learning and fieldwork. The involvement component describes the roles each of the players undertake; the faculty director as project administrator; the student as an active learner and the sponsoring agency as the enabling agent. Finally; the program structure component describes how the program is implemented.

The Philosophical Component

Corporate partnerships similar to the on-campus internships described here serve three purposes. One, they increase awareness among faculty as to what industry needs from a student upon graduation. Two, they raise awareness on the campus about the sponsor and three, they provide internships, money, a work environment and future employment opportunities for students.

Communication between all parties is vital to the success of any partnership. Clear assignments and communication about these assignments is very important. Additionally, a thorough and sensible system of work and communication should be in place at the beginning of the program from which to build a learning environment and to which modifications may be made as necessary. Without the initial setup, the program may flounder and be ineffective or even fail. …

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