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Career Education Leader Receives 2005 MacLaren Award

Peter J. Franks, CEO of World Association for Cooperative Education, Christopher L. Pratt, Kettil Cedercreutz, associate Provost and director of University of Cincinnati and chair of MacLaren

Christopher Pratt, dean of career education at Columbia, recently received the Donald MacLaren Award for Professional Achievement in Work-Integrated Learning of 2005 at an event in Boston. The biennial MacLaren Award honors a single career education leader who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to cooperative education and work-integrated learning programs on both domestic and international levels. Pratt has more than 35 years of experience in leading comprehensive work-integrated learning programs, strategic planning, information technology, training and outcome assessment.

Students in work-integrated learning programs have the opportunity to combine periods of professional work experience with classroom study. This work experience includes internships, apprenticeships, study abroad, co-operative education, clinical rotations, community service and student teaching. The MacLaren Award is presented by the World Association for Cooperative Education, Inc. (WACE), an international organization devoted to promoting work-integrated learning programs worldwide. The MacLaren Award acknowledges Pratt's innovations in the application of work-integrated learning techniques and documented history of promoting international work-based education. The award also recognizes his research in the field, leadership in managing/administering a program and his active involvement in related associations for the field of career education.

Pratt was commended for his exceptional contributions to career education, including his foresight of opportunities, as well as his encouragement to students and colleagues alike.

One prominent recent example of opportunity and encouragement is the EDGE program (Encouraging Dynamic Global Entrepreneurs) that connects 48 students from the Columbia, the University of Glasgow and Dunbartonshire high school ( Scotland) to businesses in Scotland. Students are divided into eight teams who work as consultants on real-world problems for their assigned businesses and produce a start-up plan for a new business, based on their EDGE learnings. (See the recent Record article about EDGE at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/news/05/07/edge.html.)

Pratt has been dean of Columbia's career education since September 2001. In addition to launching the EDGE program, Pratt has worked to promote work-integrated learning and WACE among institutions of higher learning, business, industry, social service and government agencies around the world. He has helped to plan, promote and present sessions at a number of WACE functions and other international work-integrated programs. Pratt is frequently visited by international representatives from Asian and European countries and often travels abroad to collaborate on work-integrated learning programs.

Prior to joining Columbia, Pratt directed career education programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Seton Hall University. He has published many articles about the intersection of education and employment. Pratt has provided program consultations to nearly 100 institutions and serves on a number of prestigious non-profit advisory boards. He holds a doctorate from Seton Hall University, a master's degree from Bradley University, and a bachelor's degree from Northeastern University.

Factoid: The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that employers converted 51 percent of their co-op students and 38 percent of their interns into full-time hires during the 2002-2003 academic year. A number of individual university programs report even higher placement rates. To learn more about Columbia’s Career Education programs, see http://www.cce.columbia.edu/.

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Published: Jul 25, 2005
Last modified: Jul 26, 2005

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