strengthening career opportunities

strengthening career opportunities

Integration, Coordination and Reflection

“Johnson & Wales is breaking new ground with InCoRe,” says Rick Porter, PhD, program director of the Institute on Global and Experiential Education, part of the World Association for Cooperative Education (WACE). InCoRe, an acronym for Integration, Coordination and Reflection is JWU’s pioneering approach to undergraduate student learning. The program strategically integrates experiential education (ex ed); coordinates student advisers from among faculty, administrators and staff managing and supporting ex ed; and guides students to reflect on fulfilling learning goals.

In June 2008, JWU administrators including dean of experiential education, Gregory Lorenz, Associate Provost James Griffin, EdD, ’88, ’92 MS and David Mitchell, PhD, dean of the College of Business (CoB) at the Providence Campus, participated in the Northeastern University/WACE Summer Institute on Experiential Education. Their goal was to devise an operational plan to integrate ex ed into each JWU undergraduate program. InCoRe, an evolutionary model built on the work of academic theorists, was the result. JWU’s commitment to employing the model to guide interdisciplinary work as a means for student transformation, is distinctive. Their work received favorable feedback.

In June 2009, they presented the model at the WACE world conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, to enthusiastic response. The paper has been submitted to the International Journal of Cooperative Education. The outcome was the culmination of 18 months of exhaustive work by presenters, JWU’s Experiential Education Committee, Tom Monahan, creative advertising director, who steered the multi-media presentation, and student focus groups whose involvement kept the InCoRe concept in-synch with what works.

Porter, former vice president of the Division of Cooperative Education at Northeastern University, and a known authority in the ex ed world, says every school offering co-ops or internships hopes students will leverage and connect their in-and-out-of-class learning. “Where JWU is breaking new ground is in taking it seriously.” Others aren’t mapping curriculum, overlaying optimal points for work experience and relating it to students’ future goals. There may be “fuzzy versions of the reflection component” but nowhere is it being incorporated with such seriousness. “There are no successful models at the level JWU is trying to achieve,” Porter says.

The affirmation is significant, admits Lorenz. “It’s strategically cementing JWU as a leader in experiential education within a peer group of content experts.

“We’re focusing on quality. Work experiences have great academic, financial and professional significance, and must be meaningful, valuable and relevant to what students learn in class, prior to going out and after they return,” says Lorenz. “It involves Academics, Experiential Education & Career Services and students, working together purposefully, coordinating efforts and keeping the students’ goals at the center of everything.”

Victoria Deetz, a marketing communications senior in Providence, was involved in the development of a new Spectrum Portfolio Education Center (SPEC) in the CoB and tested the InCoRe model. “Before this project I had a certain level of confidence, skills and knowledge. SPEC has put me at a different level. Next time, I’ll start at that heightened level,” Deetz says.

“The support from my team, Professor Monahan and Dean Mitchell was amazing,” she adds. “It all contributed to my success on the project, with the Ad Team, on my internship … I know it’ll impact my future. It’s more than traditional learning and courses or even experiential learning, it’s exponential learning.”

Deetz’s reflection shows InCoRe at work, Porter notes. “It’s about better experiences for students, better academic outcomes, better learning overall.”