Co-op student experience

Co-op Student Experience Project

We’ve been doing co-op at Waterloo for over 60 years and have built a strong reputation for excellence with our students, faculty and employers. Our goal is to provide you with a robust co-op student experience to prepare you for a dynamic labour market during both your time in co-op as well as after graduation. We’re committed to continuous improvement of the co-op student experience in order to achieve that goal.

To help with that, we launched the Co-op Student Experience Project in fall 2018. This project seeks to discover and learn from your experience to establish a feedback process that will allow us to create conditions that support student thriving in co-op.

 The primary goals for this project are to:

  • Create an ongoing feedback process and mechanisms to assess the student experience
  • Understand the evolving needs of students within a dynamic labour market
  • Learn from the lived experiences of students participating in co-operative education
  • Foster an environment that supports the successful integration of co-operative education with the academic curriculum
  • Lead and support change to enhance and improve the co-op student experience.

 As a University of Waterloo project, the Basic Principles and Principles of Inclusivity form the framework of our core values as well as the purpose of co-op at the University of Waterloo, co-op program requirements established by CEWIL Canada, and the Okanagan Charter.

The project core team will seek to:

  • Prioritize the student experience from a holistic learner-centred perspective
  • Be open to progressively adapt processes/policies based on findings throughout the project
  • Engage stakeholders in all steps of the project: discovery, analysis, conclusions, and recommendations
  • Ensure transparency and accountability in decision making
  • Utilize data, both qualitative and quantitative, to explore the co-op student experience and support the project charter
  • Respect varied co-op student experiences and pay close attention to populations that may be under-represented in co-op programs as well as those students who are no longer participating in co-op
  • Facilitate learning and growth through ongoing quality assessment practices


Co-operative education council connecting with CEE executives, co-operative education leadership team. Co-op student experience advisory group connecting with co-op student experience core team and stakeholder engagement and project teams

Co-op student experience project structure

Project updates 

Next steps:

We still have more to do, we know that. Watch this space as we update you on our progress.

toolkit iconAction #1Develop Phase I of the Co-op Student Experience toolkit for a fall term launch
checklist iconAction #2Develop an action plan to address priority improvements in the fall term

Interested in getting involved?

Student engagement is key to this project’s success and we want to hear from you! Make sure your voice is heard by providing your feedback using the link below. Additionally, you can contact the project core team about joining the advisory group or any other questions you may have.