University of Waterloo’s Anne Fannon recognized with prestigious work-integrated learning award

Thursday, December 17, 2020
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After a few delays, a University of Waterloo staff member is receiving her long-awaited honour for exemplary contributions to work-integrated learning (WIL) in Canada.

Anne-Marie Fannon has been recognized as the 2019 winner of the Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) Volunteer Service Award for her incredible work in the WIL field.

Fannon, who serves as director of WIL Programs at Waterloo, received the award during the summer.

She served as director of Waterloo Professional Development(WatPD) since 2011 before it transitioned into WIL Programs.  

“It means a lot to me personally and professionally, because CEWIL has been so integral to my growth and my development ever since I joined the community 10 years ago,” says Fannon. “It has been a fantastic resource to learn so much more about the work we do at Waterloo simply by virtue of understanding where our programs are situated in the broader landscape. CEWIL as a community of practice is absolutely exceptional.”

Fannon served as president of CEWIL when it was known as the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE). During her term as president from 2016-2017, there was “an unprecedented interest and activity in the space of work-integrated learning,” according to CEWIL. Fannon used her outstanding interpersonal skills to build relationships and expand the association’s mandate from co-op to all forms of WIL.

Currently serving as co-chair of Government and External Relations (GER) for CEWIL, Fannon says relationships developed with various federal government departments and other national associations through the organization are critical.

“Starting in 2016, we very intentionally started to strengthen our relationship with key federal departments and with other national associations,” says Fannon. “Those relationships have proven absolutely critical during COVID-19 in terms of seeing government responsiveness to its challenges.”  

Some of these modifications and flexibility measures include adjustments to Canada’s Student Work Placement Program.

As the first chair of CEWIL’s GER committee, she helped to shape its mandate.

“We at Waterloo benefit substantially from engagement with CEWIL,” she says.

The importance of alternative forms of WIL are also magnified.

“It’s kind of multi-pronged,” says Fannon.  “I would say yes, how can we do work-integrated learning differently in response to the pandemic? But also, in response to diverse learners and their needs, having a spectrum of work-integrated learning opportunities really helps to ensure we can reach those lofty goals of 100 per cent of students engaging in WIL. Not every form of WIL works for every student.”