Behind the Scenes of Co-op

Monday, September 24, 2018
Rachel Jenson, Faculty Relations Manager
By: Kamal Rajab

In Co-operative Education (CE) there is a process to all things. There are ways to get information to students that are not always consciously acknowledged by the students themselves. There are teams and groups of people working behind the scenes to ensure the success of all co-op students, current and future, and to assist with future employment.

A Faculty Relations Manager (FRM) is one of the positions in CE that works to ensure that we have a pleasurable co-op experience. They manage cross campus co-op relationships, and the development of policies and procedures that support co-op students.

Rachel Jenson is one of the Faculty Relations Managers (FRM) in the Tatham Centre. She focuses on the faculties of Arts and Environment. A common task that Rachel may take on in her day-to-day role is working on projects to enhance the CE experience.

Rachel is currently leading a project which may allow co-op to become available for all Arts programs. She is conducting extensive research and analysis with hopes of making this dream a reality. As an Arts student, I find this very intriguing and welcoming.

Furthermore, Rachel is working along side faculties, CE and the office of advancement to raise awareness for more donor-funded, not-profit co-op jobs. There is a growing interest from students to develop their skills in the non-profit sector. Rachel has stated that “recent agreements have students working for United Way, Habitats for Humanity and Big Brothers Big Sisters.” Creating co-op opportunities in this niche sector will allow students to welcome and create diverse work experiences, while advocating or participating in a company that strives for change.

Additionally, another task that Rachel may take on is an analysis of the co-op experience. “The analysis of co-op metrics is both for monitoring co-op at the program level on a termly basis, as well as annually at a program and faculty level,” says Rachel, “and through cyclical external reviews related to quality assurance.” The detailed findings allows her to gain a better understanding of how specific experiences fit the need and requirements for diverse students and programs.

From the information gathered, Rachel reports co-op oversights or employment rates to different stakeholders including faculty members or the associate dean of undergraduate studies. These stakeholders utilize the information gathered by the FRM to help ensure success in your undergraduate career.

Rachel, as well as the rest of the FRM team, is focused on maintaining strong relationships with different stakeholders on campus to provide support with co-op.

“FRMs link the co-op department to the faculties. Bridging the strategic initiatives of programs and faculties with those in the Co-operative Education to enhance the work integrated learning for our students.”