CEWIL Research Matters: April 2016

Article #1: The influence of cooperative education and reflection upon previous work experiences on university graduates’ vocational self-concept (2016)

Author 

David Drewery, Colleen Nevison and T. Judene Pretti

Journal 

Education + Training, Vol. 58 Iss: 2, pp.179 - 192

Source 

Emerald Publishing

Purpose

To assess how reflection during academic and work experiences affects students’ career clarity.

Methodology

Online survey of 1483 co-op and non-co-op students at Waterloo with at least one work term or summer work experience.

Key findings

Reflection and co-op work experiences contribute towards students’ career clarity.

 

Practitioner's thoughts by

Jennifer Woodside (Director, Centre for Career Action, University of Waterloo)

How might the results of this study impact how you do your job?

This study leaves me wondering how we at the Centre for Career Action could enhance our impact on students’ careers and employment outcomes through spurring more reflection about the last summer job, work term, volunteer experience, etc. It would be interesting to spend more time examining which types of questions are best suited to brief versus more lengthy interventions, too.

Are these findings relevant for other stakeholders (e.g. students, employers, faculty)? If so, in what ways could this information be shared with them?

It’s important for Centre for Career Action to impart these findings to student leaders when we undertake train-the-trainer initiatives, such as with the Co-op Living Learning Community’s peer leaders, WatPD’s teaching assistants for PD1, engineering teaching assistants for Co-op Fundamentals for Engineering (CFE), and our very own student career leaders running Centre for Career Action drop-ins this spring. If we can effectively coach these influencers to identify comfortable ways to integrate reflection-promoting questions into their own student support processes, we’re on our way toward spreading career development leadership skills across campus.


Article #2: ‘Get foot in the door’: International students’ perceptions of work-integrated learning (2016)

Author

Tran, L. T., & Soejatminah, S

Journal

British Journal of Educational Studies, 2016, pp. 1-19

Source

Taylor and Francis Online

Purpose

To explore why international students value work-integrated learning (WIL).

Methodology

Interviews with 105 international students in a Vocational Education and Training program in Australia.

Key findings

WIL helps international students adapt and build a career in a new country through expanding their networks and opportunities.

 

Practitioner’s thoughts by

Shabnam Ivkovic (Director, International Strategic Initiatives, Co-operative Education, University of Waterloo)

In what ways do these findings have the potential to change practice for us at Waterloo?

Waterloo’s strategic mandate of ‘internationalization’ means that we will have larger incoming cohorts of international students. The success of their employability after their graduation will reflect on the Waterloo brand. There are various models and methods to accomplish WIL, one of them being co-op. Maybe we should give serious thought to what other models can better serve international students, and how can we, as an institution, provide support in the form of preparation and opportunities for WIL. Participants in the study mentioned the symbolic advantage of showcasing their vocational capabilities in their professional portfolios. E-portfolios are gaining traction across campus. I wonder if there is an opportunity to encourage and support international students to enhance their employability selling point via this medium?

Does this study raise questions for you that require further research/investigation?

The social connectedness piece jumped out at me - anecdotally speaking, new immigrants must try harder than others to find a place in a new environment and an identity in a foreign context. Undertaking WIL provides avenues to build on both. What can Waterloo do in this context to create more rooted citizens of the Waterloo community, and eventually, citizens of the province and country?