Feasibility Study

Co-operative Education & Career Action (CECA)

Purpose

In order to support Waterloo’s Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP), CECA Feasibility Studies are conducted to assess the employability of those students who will be admitted to the proposed program or plan as well as the employment demand, expected changes in the supply of students in a program or plan, or the potential for shifts in demand for students with the skills being taught by the proposed program/plan. The Feasibility Study also allows CECA to assess the lead time anticipated to develop appropriate job opportunities for the projected supply of students as well as what, if any, additional resources may be needed to undertake and maintain the necessary job development.

Protocol

  • Feasibility Studies are conducted in conjunction with the development of new or evolving co-op plans or programs as well as when significant changes in curriculum or any course realignments that may affect the employability of co-op students.
  • An initial discussion between the faculty/department sponsor and CECA representative determines the necessary extent, depending on the nature of the proposal, of the Feasibility Study. Engagement with CECA should be undertaken as early in the proposal development process as possible, to ensure ample opportunity for discussion and analysis.
  • A CECA representative manages the overall feasibility study process including establishing the lead times necessary to complete the study.
  • The Feasibility Study is a collaboration between the proposal sponsor and CECA - the interests of each party are considered equally.

Guiding principles

  • Feasibility Studies are conducted to ensure the viability and longevity of co-op plans for all stakeholders: students, employers, faculty and CECA.
  • A Feasibility Study will only be conducted when the need has been confirmed by the proposal sponsor and CECA.
  • Feasibility Studies are not intended to be an obstacle or onerous to complete, but will involve due diligence commensurate with the scope of the initiative being proposed.
  • Feasibility Studies are completed in a timely fashion and regular updates on the status of the study are to be provided to all applicable stakeholders.

Steps and deliverables

  1. Initial meeting, early in the program development or amendment process, between faculty/department sponsor and CECA to determine the necessary components of this Feasibility Study.
  2. CECA representative completes and submits a memo to the proposal sponsor, outlining study timeline and all stakeholder expectations.
  3. Proposal sponsor and CECA complete their respective components concurrently with the development of the proposal itself. 
  4. CECA delivers a Draft Feasibility Study to sponsor for discussion.
  5. CECA delivers a Final Feasibility Study to sponsor for inclusion in the proposal.

​Proposed / Amended Program Name

Please indicate the type of proposal for which the Feasibility Study has been completed:

  • New Co-op Program / Plan
  • Amended Co-op Program / Plan

Former name of Program / Plan: (Renamed Programs / Plans Only)

Faculty / Department Sponsor:

CECA Representative:

Anticipated Effective Date of Proposed Program / Plan:

Executive Summary

This summary can provide an outline of why the program is being created and how co-op would be supported.

1.0 Proposal Overview

1.1 Proposal objective and rationale

  • Provide a brief description of the proposed program (i.e., name and length of degree, mandatory or optional co-op, etc.).
  • What is the rationale for the proposed program? 
  • How does co-op contribute to the educational goals of the proposed program?
  • What is the societal need for students/graduates (e.g., socio-cultural, economic, scientific, technological, etc.)?
  • What is the geographic scope of the societal need (e.g., local, regional, provincial, national)?
  • What is the short-term and long-term outlook for co-op and graduate employment (i.e., industry / labour analysis)?
  • Is the proposed/plan congruent with current regulatory requirements of the profession (as appropriate) as well as the current accreditation requirements of the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education [CAFCE]?

2.0 Proposal Data and Logistics

2.1 Enrolment and admission

  • What are the requirements for admission and how do they differ from other related programs (e.g., grades, special courses, certain academic level, etc.)?
  • What is the enrolment target and how will enrolment change over time (e.g., incremental increases over time and rate of increase, enrolment at steady state, etc.)?
  • What is the projected enrolment composition (e.g., ratio of domestic to international students, ratio of in-class versus online/distance learners, students requiring accommodation, etc.)?

2.2 Co-op sequence

  • How many work terms are proposed?
  • What is the preferred work/study sequence, and are have other alternatives been considered / explored (sample work/study sequence shown)?
Entering cohort  F W S F W S F W S F W S F W S
Year 1 1A 1B Off 2A WT1 2B WT2 3A WT3 3B WT4 4A WT5 4B  
Year 2       1A 1B Off 2A WT1 2B WT2 3A WT3 3B WT4 4A
Year 3             1A 1B Off 2A WT1 2B WT2 3A WT3
Year 4                    1A 1B Off 2A WT1 2B
Year 5                         1A 1B Off
Co-op participation          WT1   WT2 WT1 WT3 WT2

WT1

WT4

WT3

WT2

WT5

WT1

WT4

WT3

2.3 ​Current employment data for students in the program/plan (for new programs/plans, reference employment data from existing similar and/or competing programs/plans)

  • What is the co-op employment rate of students during the last six terms?
  • What types of co-op jobs have been secured by students (e.g., job categories, methods by which employment was secured, geographic distribution of employment, etc.)?
  • What is the projected impact of existing Waterloo programs on co-op employment for the proposed program (e.g., identify areas of overlap, levels of jobs impacted, appropriateness of overlapping jobs, etc.)?
  • Please include any other relevant employment-related data.

2.4 Survey and other data (as applicable and available)

  • What types of co-op positions are expected to be available / targeted to students in the proposed program?
  • What is the response of surveyed employers to the proposed program (note number of employers with confirmed interest in employing students, size of employer, domestic versus international employer, etc.)? 
  • How many existing employers have been identified as potential employers of students in the proposed program, and how many new employers will be required?
  • Are employers in support of the proposed program structure and work term length?
  • What is the response of surveyed alumni to the proposed program (note number of alumni working in relevant fields)?
  • What is the response of surveyed students to the proposed program?

3.0 Timelines / Resources

3.1 Timelines

  • How much time will be needed to complete the study (to be included in initial memo to proposal sponsor)? 
  • How much time does CECA anticipate will be necessary to develop the number of jobs needed to maintain the proposal at steady state (e.g. impact of alumni network, existence of current/relevant co-op jobs, etc.)?

3.2 Resource implications for CECA

  • Will CECA need to recruit additional staff (e.g. student advisors, hiring process support, etc.) to implement and manage the proposal at steady state? 
  • What, if any, projected increase in budget allotment results from the proposal?
 

4.0 CECA Recommendation

  • Supportable as proposed
  • Supportable with conditions (see below)
  • Not supportable

Recommendation Rationale

Endorsements