Carol Ann Boyles
As the students attending UNF have become progressively younger, Carol Ann Boyles' job has grown progressively more challenging.
Boyles, director for the Center for Experiential Learning and Institutional Testing, recalls that when she first started the cooperative education program at UNF most of the student body was composed of non-traditional students who already had work experience. With the admission of freshmen in 1984, the average age of students has steadily declined. "In the early years, we had many non-traditional students who were busy with work and their families and couldn't take advantage of all of the opportunities UNF had to offer. Today, we are suddenly coming of age. Many more students are interested in the work experience as well as the degree," she says.
In her 25 years at UNF, Boyles has watched more than 3,000 students go through cooperative education programs to successful careers. The success of the program can be judged from the first student who entered the program -- Larry Pelton who is now president of the Palm Beach County Business Development Board.
Boyles has had a long history of working in education even before she came to UNF in 1972. A graduate of Keuka College in Keuka Park, N.Y., Boyles worked in the admissions office there before enrolling in a master's degree program at the University of Florida where her father was a professor of mathematics. After she earned her master's, she went to work at Florida State University as a residence hall counselor. After two years there, she became the founding director of the guidance and counseling program and the academic advisement program at Central Florida Community College in Ocala where after a few years, she became associate dean of student affairs. As an assistant dean of student organizations and activities at Florida State, Boyles was responsible for sororities, fraternities and 300 student organizations.
Boyles moved to Jacksonville in 1968 and became the director of guidance in the adult education program at Florida Community College. In 1972, through a contact with Bill Wharton, a former colleague from the University of Florida, she applied for a position at UNF. She started as director of Cooperative Education and Placement and progressively held a number of positions all associated with career planning or cooperative education.
In that time, Boyles has found that one of the most rewarding experiences has been witnessing former UNF co-op students hire currently enrolled students. In 25 years, Boyles has developed a valuable network of connections throughout the Jacksonville business community. The connections have made it possible for many UNF students to get their first job experience.
"Cooperative education as an experiential, academic program continues to provide students with an individualized career education program that is built on their academic achievements and career goals. Over the years, I have seen students reaffirm their majors and make wiser career choices based upon their co-op experiences," she says.