PRESENTATION OVERVIEW FROM CONFERENCE PROGRAM
Meg Thompson & Lalita Kines, University of Victoria
At the University of Victoria (UVic), co-op plays a major role in the UVic experience, with one in three eligible students (equivalent to 42%) taking part in a co-op program. Co-operative Education involves all UVic faculties, with more than 3,500 students per year participating in 13 co-op program areas from 47 academic departments and schools. Providing all co-op students with relevant and engaging pre-work term curriculum designed to encourage students to take part in purposeful activities as part of their career development process is the prominent theme within our mandatory Introduction to Professional Practice (IPP) course.
Co-operative Education and Career Services (Co-op + Career) strives to support students to engage fully with the experiential learning curriculum. Building on the success of our annual mock interview clinic for business students (and a few small-scale optional clinics), we expanded all mock interview events in fall 2014 as a mandatory component of the IPP course. First and foremost, providing students with the opportunity to engage with volunteer interviewers in real time (employers, alumni, senior students, faculty and staff), students put more effort into their mock job applications and as a result complete this hands-on learning with relevant experience, increased self- confidence with the added bonus of hearing honest and timely feedback. Our mock interview clinics are win-win events in that interviewers consistently report that their participation was enjoyable, and for many interviewers the events provide a window into future recruitment. Many interviewers come back year after year which is a testament to the success of the clinics. Students overwhelmingly report in their post-interview survey, conducted immediately following the clinic, that the mock interview clinic was very beneficial in preparing them for future interviews.
Join the presentation to hear about Co-op + Career’s mandatory mock interview clinics, and how 2,376 UVic students and 561 volunteer interviewers have, since fall 2014, participated in this value-added hands-on learning that enriches the co-op experience for students, interviewers and staff.
- Blended learning
- Build capacity
Meg Thompson, University of Victoria
As Curriculum Coordinator at the University of Victoria’s Co-operative Education and Career Services program (Co-op + Career), Meg oversees the implementation of the experiential learning curriculum, working closely with other Co-op + Career staff on various aspects of the curriculum. Her work revolves around collaborating with others who are just as passionate about experiential education opportunities that engage learners and instructors to participate in reflective practice both in and out of the classroom. Meg worked with many staff members within Co-op + Career to expand the reach of mandatory mock interview clinics for co-op students from all program areas.
Lalita Kines, University of Victoria
Lalita is the LE,NONET Experiential and Community Learning Coordinator, with the Office of Indigenous Affairs and Co-operative Education and Career Services at the University of Victoria. She has a strong educational background within post-secondary environments and is passionate about improving the educational experiences for Indigenous students and communities. During her 7 years at UVic she has developed extensive experience with working respectfully within Indigenous communities and creating meaningful relationships which lead to partnerships, and developing effective recruitment strategies for Indigenous students. She is a co-instructor for the LE,NONET Preparation Seminar and works with Co-operative Education and Career Services to develop and promote co-operative education to Indigenous students, as well as coordinate events to assist students with interview preparation, and career events geared towards internships, co-op work terms and employment.
LINK TO PRESENTATION
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The goal of our presentation was to share the value-added aspects of our mandatory mock interview clinics for co-op students at the University of Victoria (UVic). We offered an overview of experiential learning at UVic, the diverse opportunities that Co-op and Career Services offers to all students to encourage engagement with co-op education and the LE,NONET course followed by an overview of how we run our clinics. In addition, we shared some of the positive impacts that our clinics have had for students, interviewers and staff.
- 1 in 3 eligible students takes part in co-op at UVic. Approximately 42% of our undergraduate population participate in co-op.
- Co-op students complete more than 3,250 work terms each year with over 1,100 employers – Canada & around the world.
- A third of our co-op graduates return to work full-time for their former co-op employers upon finishing degrees.
- More than 3,500 students/year participate in 13 co-op program areas from 47 academic depts. & schools.
- A number of international co-op opportunities are available to students including Indigenous international co-op. One example – a new partnership with the Wollotuka Institute, University of NewCastle, Australia.
- UVic is the largest provider of graduate co-op in Canada – more than 300 students at masters and doctoral level.
- Our program provides various services, events and resources to encourage students to make connections, and to become engaged with experiential learning.
- Indigenous students can elect to enrol in the LE,NONET course, a preparation seminar that leads students towards community internship and co-op. Mandatory elements of this course include: résumé/cover letter/interview workshop, followed by a mandatory mock interview clinic. In addition, an optional career fair is held just prior to the mock interview clinic (2 times per year). The course also prepares students to work in Indigenous communities and explores topics of colonization (decolonization, research ethics, etc.)
- Students accepted into co-op must take the pre-work term course “Introduction to Professional Practice” (IPP), an online course offered through a blended learning format. Enrollment numbers in 2015-16 was approximately 1950 students.
- The mock interview clinic or other approved mock interview exercises are a mandatory component of the IPP courses, like a capstone event. Students are required to build a targeted résumé and cover letter for a mock job, and then apply through our database “Learning in Motion” (Orbis), which offers a just-in-time opportunity for students to apply for a mock job through a realistic process.
- The structure of the clinics vary depending on the needs of our diverse co-op programs. Larger scale clinics can accommodate up to about 100 students per day, and smaller scale clinics such as the Indigenous clinic can accommodate up to 24 students (in about 1.5 hours).
- Interviewers are diverse as well, and include co-op employers, employers, retirees, alumni, senior students, faculty and staff. Some of our clinics focus on active recruitment and other clinics are for interview practice only.
- Assessment: students fill out a survey directly following their interviews. Interviewers are encouraged to fill out an online survey to provide their feedback.
- Overall impact: For students, the purposeful assignments add value to their IPP course and prepare students for their upcoming co-op job search. Students receive immediate and purposeful constructive feedback from their interviewers (application documents and interview). Students consistently report that this is the best part of the process. Employers report that they enjoy giving back, connecting to the university, helping students and in many cases recruitment.
We will continue to offer mandatory mock interview clinics as part of our co-op program at UVic.
Implications for Career Education
Our mandatory clinics and the availability for Indigenous students to participate in the Indigenous Mock Interview Clinic on a drop-in basis (Indigenous students do not need to be enrolled in the LE,NONET course or be a co-op student to participate) helps students to prepare for their job preparedness training. The curriculum associated with our mock interviews (LE,NONET and IPP) is pulled from the central Co-op and Career Services curriculum located on our website. Topics are directly associated with career education such as job seeking skills, competency development and evaluation, and career management.