Co-operative Education at the University of Waterloo operates the largest post secondary school co-op program of its kind in the world with more than 14,000 students enrolled over three semesters. It is a model of co-operative education which has spread to more than 100 colleges and universities across Canada. Co-operative Education administers the co-operative education system and career-related services for the University of Waterloo. Co-operative Education & Career Action (CECA) staff function as a liaison between students, employers, alumni, and the different faculties and departments within the University of Waterloo to help to determine and facilitate employment opportunities.
Centre for Teaching Excellence
The Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) provides leadership in the promotion, development, and advancement of excellence in teaching and learning at the University of Waterloo. Using a model of continuous improvement, the CTE:
- provides research-based resources to enhance teaching and learning practices, course design, and curriculum renewal;
- contributes to the development of teaching excellence by undertaking, fostering, and disseminating research on teaching and learning, including learning technologies; and
- promotes the development of discipline-specific learning communities regarding teaching and learning issues.
Experiential Learning Group
This working group, within CTE, was established in response to the importance placed on experiential learning in the University of Waterloo's Sixth Decade Report, where it is affirmed that in order to achieve the university's goal of academic excellence, "each academic program is expected to...reflect University of Waterloo distinctiveness, including experiential learning, and be technologically current (in application or through critical perspective), creative and innovative in its curriculum content and delivery, entrepreneurial and interdisciplinary in perspective" (Pursuing Excellence: Seizing Opportunities for Canada; The Sixth Decade Plan 2007-2017). The group currently manages the monthly speaker seminar or "Integrative Experiential Learning". The working group members include Ted McGee (chair), Katherine Lithgow, Trevor Holmes, Bob Sproule, Gary Waller, and Rober Ryan (retired).
Integrating Experiential Learning monthly series
The Teaching Excellence Council (TEC), through the Experiential Learning Group, offers a series of monthly seminars focused on Integrating Experiential Learning which is defined as "intentional and reflective learning from experience with different degrees of integration into courses and programs." The goals of the seminars are:
- to raise awareness about opportunities available to students to participate in experiential learning;
- to share how students are making connections between learning in the classroom and learning that takes place outside the academic environment;
- to highlight best practices outlining what instructors can do in the classroom to help foster students' abilities to make these connections; and
- to encourage new ideas about how experiential learning might more often and effectively integrated into teaching and learning.
Professional Development program
The Professional Development program (WatPD) expands on the experiential learning experience of Waterloo's co-op students with online courses for academic credit. The courses provide students with the opportunity to develop skills to improve their employability and their workplace productivity. In addition, these courses encourage students to reflect on connections between the workplace, their academic courses and their career path. The WatPD program is another example of Waterloo's commitment to innovation in teaching, technology and co-operative education.
Canadian Association for Co-operative Education
The Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE), through partnership with universities, colleges, and the business sector, actively promotes understanding, and the benefits of co-op education. CAFCE is proactive in advancing the position of educational institutions, governments, and employers involved in co-op education. It is a prominent advocate in promoting co-op education initiatives.
Cooperative Education & Internship Association
The Cooperative Education & Internship Association (CEIA), based in the U.S.A., serves professionals who promote the educational strategy of co-operative education on a world-wide basis. As an organization, CEIA seeks to advocate work study integration, to be an important resource of technical information and assistance to schools, employing organizations, and government agencies who endeavour to establish, strengthen, or maintain their programmes. As well, CEIA offers a forum for support, learning opportunities and exposure to multiple models, concerns, and techniques for integrating work and study between members and experts throughout the field.
World Association for Co-operative Education
The World Association for Co-operative Education (WACE) is designed to foster co-operative education throughout the world. It advocates co-op and provides information and assistance to schools, employers, and governments. Its main objectives include promoting and advancing work-integrated learning at an international level; building a global alliance of education, industry, and government; advocating and advancing international work-integrated learning as a human resource development strategy; providing value-added services, information and products; and sponsoring a biennial world conference and regional forums for association members. WACE offers an opportunity to strengthen ties between education and the workplace, and to enhance individual development and national productivity.
Education at Work Ontario
Education at Work Ontario (EWO), representing the merger between College Co-operative Educators of Ontario and University Co-operative Educators of Ontario is organized to function as a cohesive body of post-secondary Co-operative Education Educators in Ontario. It aims to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information through workshops and seminars and to gather and share information, such as statistics, survey results, etc., about Ontario co-operative education programmes. As well, goals include identifying provincial issues and needs; developing plans and strategies as necessary; promoting co-operative education to students, educators, employers, and the government; and maintaining a liaison with CAFCE and an involvement in other co-operative education associations.