SAF 2YEx (the two-year AFM experience)

Integrated within the academic and co-op elements of the AFM program is currently a co/extra-curricular program called, “SAF 2YEx”, which stands for the two-year AFM experience. The aim of 2YEx is to inspire engaged learners, by supporting students’ transition to the SAF community, fostering their academic success, enhancing their “people” skills, and preparing them for academic and employment choices they will make in years three and four of the program. The initiative includes experiential learning opportunities such as events, workshops, interactive webcasts, and team-based problem-solving situations both in and outside of the classroom.

A critical feature of SAF2YEx is “CREWS”, which are teams of 5-6 students formed by the School. CREWS are an important mechanism by which team-based learning and individual professional development is facilitated early in the program. CREWS are enrolled in classes together where group work is required. They meet weekly to discuss their progress and participate in a bi-weekly webinar hosted by SAF staff. These student teams meet three times per term with an upper-year Peer Support Learning Champion, who serves as a team mentor, progress coach, and engagement evaluator. CREWS also serve as a powerful two-way communication channel between students, faculty and staff.

Progress through the 2YEx curriculum is evaluated by students’ level of engagement in activities and the quality of their CREW submissions, written reflections and self/peer evaluations. Specifically, the 2YEx curriculum focus on following topics in each of the first and second year terms:

1A: Transition to university; orientation within the SAF/Waterloo community, including faculty, staff and support services; building professional social networks within the cohort; energy management and work-life balance.

1B: Foundations of teamwork and collaboration; developing familiarity with the stages of team development; resolving team conflict; giving and receiving feedback to teammates; introduction to professional network building.

2A: Co-op preparedness; personal “branding” and image; co-op application strategy; effective interviewing; factors for success in an entry-level financial management role specifically within departments/organizations that hire SAF students.

2B: Becoming “choice ready” for course selection and upper year work terms; benchmarking knowledge and skills; developing a plan for engagement in upper year experiences that will contribute to the achievement of program learning outcomes and further hone professional interests.