Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Co-op supervision and U-Waterloo

A message from the University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA) as seen on Daily Bulletin Nov. 27, 2018

As a member of the Waterloo community, you may have had concerns about the recognition and impact of the time and work you put into supervising co-op students. These concerns may apply to both what is written in your job description and within an interview setting when applying for supervisory roles.

In August 2015, the UW Staff Association (UWSA) formed a Working Group to review and gain a better understanding of these issues. Co-op supervisors (staff, faculty, graduate students) were surveyed to capture thoughts of what “supervising co-op students” means, what impact it has on their job and job description, the type of training received to prepare them to be co-op supervisors, and what benefit, if any, did it have when applying for supervisory roles. Exploring supervisor training, the challenges and differences between supervising regular full-time staff versus co-op students, and the co-op student on-boarding process were also determined to be important aspects to investigate.

The UWSA Co-op Working Group, a 5-member group made up of staff members across campus with diverse roles and levels of co-op supervision responsibilities, found gaps and inconsistencies in almost every topic area surveyed including supervisory training, on-boarding, daily supervision, and skills recognition for supervising co-op students. A final report with the Working Group’s findings and recommendations were approved by the Staff Relations Committee and is now available to the UWaterloo community.

The UWSA Co-op Working Group continues to meet to collaborate with campus partners to implement recommendations to align best practices across campus. University of Waterloo is the largest co-op employer and we aspire to be a model employer for all our stakeholders. If you are interested in getting involved with these initiatives, please contact UWSA at uwsa@uwaterloo.ca.

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