There are many ways to communicate with co-op students. While we have explored and continue to explore different methods, we have found that establishing class rep meetings is effective.
Our department provides services to students in eight engineering disciplines within the Faculty of Engineering and to students in the School of Computer Science at Dalhousie University. These groups are located on different campuses. Although e-mail continues to be the most efficient way to provide information on job postings, interviews, ranking and job offers, it is somewhat limiting when we are trying to create discussion and secure opinions.
We ask for one or two students in computer science and each discipline of engineering to volunteer as a class representative for co-op at the beginning of each term. The responsibilities of the class rep include:
- Attending bi-weekly class rep meetings
- Participating in discussions on issues presented at the meetings
- Relaying the information discussed at the meetings to their classmates
- Acting as spokesperson for their class, bringing issues forward in a professional manner
- Advising co-op staff on problem areas
Co-op staff members are responsible for:
- Ensuring groups are represented by inviting students to participate
- Notifying students of upcoming meetings
- Presenting information pertinent to the co-op program
- Keeping an open mind during discussions
- Attempting to resolve issues presented
- Recording, preparing and circulating minutes
- Relaying feedback on policy issues from student rep meetings to co-op staff for consideration
Class reps are valuable stakeholders in our program. We ask for their opinions on many issues and consider their feedback to be very valuable. We advise them on policy and procedural changes so they can advise their classmates.
The format is kept simple: announcements, items for discussion and roundtable. Roundtable provides an opportunity to obtain information from each rep.
Class rep meetings have been a very good investment of our time as students are keen to help make improvements to our programs.