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
Read more: Spring 2019 update
- The project is currently in the “problem identification” phase. During this phase, the project core team (which consists of CEE staff and Feds officials) has been having regular team meetings as well as consultations within Co-operative and Experiential Education and other campus partners.
- The team has also been collecting data through the Co-op Student Satisfaction Survey which was launched in late fall 2018. This confidential survey is completed by students near the end of their work term and as they are employed during their recruiting term. Students are asked to rate their satisfaction with the services provided by Co-operative Education on a scale of 1 to 5. They are also given the opportunity to provide qualitative feedback in the survey.
- Analysis of the fall 2018 data has been completed along with data from the winter 2019 work term. The winter 2019 recruiting term survey data closed on June 17. Surveys for students on a spring work term or recruiting term will begin on June 27, 2019. The project core team has been reviewing student feedback to determine provisional themes in order to help identify core issues to act on.
- Survey results and themes have been shared and validated with the Co-op Student Experience Advisory Group, which consists of students, staff, faculty, and co-op employers. The advisory group is responsible to advise Co-operative Education on the direction of the Co-op Student Experience Project and act as collaborative links to their stakeholder groups, championing and strengthening improvements to the co-op student experience. Additionally, the advisory serves as one of the reference groups for data analysis verification and provide stakeholder perspectives on data collection processes, findings, proposed interventions, and other items associated with the Co-op Student Experience Project.
- The core team has also developed an end-to-end map of the co-op student experience from when a student decides to attend the University up until they graduate. The map is being validated with CEE staff and students
We still have more to do, we know that. Watch this space as we update you on our progress.
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.