Policy 2.5 - Policy on Co-operative Education Programming

The official version of this policy is housed with the University Secretariat.  In the event of a discrepancy, the official version will prevail. Click here for a printable version of this policy. 

Approving Authority: Senate
Responsible Office: Office of the Vice-Provost (Student Affairs), Office of the Associate Vice-President (Academic) 
Responsible Officer: Provost & Vice-President (Academic)
Original Approval Date: 2006
Effective Date: May 1, 2022
Date of Most Recent Review: November 22, 2021
Previous Revisions: June 4, 2012

1. Preamble

1.1. This policy refers to co-operative education programming in associate diploma and undergraduate degree programs at the University of Guelph (including the Guelph-Humber and the regional campuses) and replaces the 2012 Senate policy “Co-operative Education in Undergraduate Programs at the University of Guelph”.

2. Purpose

2.1. The purpose of this policy is to provide a statement of the principles and responsibilities in the provision of co-operative education programming at the University of Guelph (including the Guelph-Humber and the regional campuses).

3. Jurisdiction/Scope

3.1. This policy applies to the establishment and delivery of co-operative education programming at the University of Guelph (including the Guelph-Humber and the regional campuses)

3.2. The University of Guelph Act, Section 13, provides that Senate is “…responsible for the educational policy of the University, and….to determine the courses of study and standards of admissions to the University and continued membership therein, and qualifications for degrees and diplomas”.

3.3. The University of Guelph Co-operative Education program is accredited by Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) and adheres to the accreditation standards and the definition of co-operative education as defined by CEWIL.

4. Definitions

4.1. Co-operative Education (co-op alternating and co-op internship models as defined by CEWIL): Co-op alternating consists of alternating academic terms and paid work terms. Co-op internship consists of several co-op work terms back-to-back. In both models, work terms provide experience in a workplace setting related to the student’s field of study. The number of required work terms varies by program; however, the time spent in work terms must be at least thirty percent of the time spent in academic study for programs over two years in length and twenty-five percent of time for programs two years and shorter in length (CEWIL website 2021).

4.2. Co-op Program (Co-operative Education Programming): Co-op education programming is offered in two distinct formats, as defined by CEWIL.

4.2.1. Co-op Alternating (Co-operative Education Option) is a co-op option offered within an established degree or associate diploma program.  The Schedule of Studies includes semesters of academic study alternating with semesters of approved paid work terms.

4.2.2. Co-op Internship (Co-operative Education Internship) is a co-op program where co-op students participate in an approved paid work term experience after at least half of their academic Schedule of Studies has been completed.  Co-op internships are normally twelve to sixteen months in length in four-year undergraduate degree programs and four months in length for two-year associate diploma programs.

4.3. Experiential Learning Hub (EL Hub) is the unit designated to coordinate and support co-operative education programming by providing administrative assistance to co-op students, co-op employers, and co-op faculty advisors.

4.4. Co-op Coordinator is the staff person assigned by the EL Hub to provide support for a co-op education program through securing appropriate work term opportunities, providing orientation, advice and guidance to co-op students, and, in partnership with the Co-op Employer, monitoring student progress over the co-op work term.

4.5. Co-op Work Term is the designated period of time that a co-op student is engaged in an approved paid work experience.

4.6. Co-op Employer is the designated supervisor of a student who is participating in a co-op work term.

4.7. Work Term Report is a report written by the co-op student following the completion of a Co-op Work Term and submitted to the Co-op Faculty Advisor for evaluation.

4.8. Co-op Faculty Advisor is the person assigned by the department or school to provide academic advice and guidance to students enrolled in the co-op program.  They provide advice and guidelines on the development of the student’s Work Term Report and evaluate and grade the student’s Work Term Report.

4.9. Co-op Certification is the official recognition of a co-op student’s satisfactory completion of all co-operative education requirements. Co-op Certification is awarded to the student upon graduation.

4.10. Co-op Work Term Credit is a 0.50 credit weight for co-op work term courses (COOP*1000 through COOP*5000) which are additional credits over and above degree requirements for all students who complete the co-op portion of their degree.

5. Policy

5.1. All Co-operative Education programming at the University of Guelph (including the Guelph-Humber and the regional campuses) shall adhere to the policies and principles outlined by CEWIL.

5.2. Responsibility for the academic and co-operative education programming and policies of the University rests with Senate, guided by the Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) including, on the recommendation of the Board of Undergraduate Studies:

5.2.1. approving or creating policies pertaining to co-operative education programs.

5.2.2. approving the establishment, cancellation, or changes of co-op education programs within undergraduate degree and associate diploma programs.

5.3. A Co-op Program Coordinating Committee (CPCC) shall be established to keep under review the policies and procedures governing co-operative education. The membership of the CPCC shall be composed of the following: Associate Vice-President (Academic), Vice-Provost (Student Affairs), Associate Dean Academic of any college offering a co-op education program, Director of Experiential Learning, Associate Director Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning, Director of Office of Quality Assurance, and the University Registrar. Responsibilities of the CPCC include:

5.3.1. reviewing all changes to co-op education programs prior to presentation to the Board of Undergraduate Studies for recommendation to Senate for approval.

5.3.2. providing advice to the Registrar on the annual entering student enrolment capacities for co-op programs.

5.3.3. providing general advice to administration on co-op programming, based on information collected on enrollment trends, industry trends, and the academic priorities of the University.

5.4. Every proposal for a co-operative education program (co-op alternating and co-op internship) must address the principles expressed in this Policy and shall include the following components:

5.4.1. Academic units wishing to establish a co-operative education program must contact the EL Hub to discuss the feasibility of such an option.

5.4.2. Proponents for the establishment of a co-operative education program must provide the following: a proposed academic/work semester schedule for the program; evidence of successful collaboration with proposed industry, business, or public service agency partners; evidence of co-op work term opportunities through market research conducted by the EL Hub which includes an overview of the academic/co-op competition in the province; five year student enrollment targets confirmed by the college; evidence that academic department resources are available to support the program (including the assignment of a Co-op Faculty Advisor); and, evidence of  a commitment to a manageable enrolment growth in the program from the EL Hub and the academic department.

5.4.3. Once the academic unit, the EL Hub, and CPCC reach agreement that a co-op education program is feasible, the proposal shall be submitted for approval through the normal governance channels of Senate.

5.5. The CPCC shall ensure that academic policies governing proposed co-op programs are submitted to the relevant Program Committee for consideration, and to the Board of Undergraduate Studies for its recommendation to Senate for final approval. Governing academic policies will include policies governing admission criteria (including transfer into the program); academic/work Schedules of Studies; continuation of study requirements; grading regulations; appeal processes; and conditions for graduation for all co-op programs. 

5.6. All co-operative education programs shall be established according to the following criteria:

5.6.1. No Schedule of Studies for a co-op program shall exceed five years in total.

5.6.2. The total number of course credits (excluding co-op work term credits) required to complete a co-op program Schedule of Studies shall not exceed the number required to complete the regular (i.e., non-co-op) Schedule of Studies.

5.6.3. Co-op Work Term Credits are additional credits over and above degree requirements for all students who complete the co-op portion of their degree.

5.6.4. The Co-operative Education Program Schedule of Studies for undergraduate degree programs must be designed so that a work term is completed at least once in the Fall semester, once in the Winter semester, and once in a Summer semester, unless industry needs show a seasonal demand over two different work term semesters.

5.6.5. The Co-operative Education Program Schedule of Studies for associate diploma programs can be designed with a work term in any semester however, the program must start and end with an academic semester.

5.6.6. All Co-op programs commence and end with an academic semester.

5.6.7. All Co-op Work Terms must begin and end according to the semester dates established in the University’s annual Schedule of Dates.

5.6.8. Each Co-op Work Term shall be approved by the EL Hub prior to the student’s placement to ensure it is an appropriate learning opportunity.

5.6.9. Students will receive “Co-op Certification” upon successful completion of the academic and co-op program graduation requirements.

5.6.10. Continuation of Study: In order to continue enrollment in a co-op program, students must fulfill the following requirements: be registered full-time for the duration of their program as outlined in the Schedule of Studies listed in the Academic Calendar; complete and pass the mandatory Introduction to Co-operative Education non-credit course as the pre-requisite for the first employment process; maintain a grade of Satisfactory or higher on all Work Term Report evaluations; and maintain a grade of Good or higher on all but one Work Term Performance Evaluation.  Note: regarding full-time studies, exceptions will be made for students registered with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) requiring an accommodation.  Exceptions will also be considered for students who have temporarily reduced their course load if there are sufficient extenuating medical, psychological, or compassionate circumstances.

5.7. The EL Hub, in consultation with the academic department shall review all co-op programs on a five-year cycle.  Co-op programs are also subject to cyclical program review (CPR) through the home academic unit. Any recommendations for changes to the program shall be presented to CPCC for consideration.

5.8. Co-op program options with overall enrollment of ten students or fewer shall be reviewed by the CPCC to consider a recommendation to forward through the normal governance process for consideration.

5.9. In order to ensure this Policy continues to be effective, it shall be reviewed periodically. The Director, Experiential Learning shall be responsible for initiating this review no less than every five years.

6. Relevant Legislation

6.1. The University of Guelph Act, 1964

7. Related Policies, Procedures & Documents

7.1. Procedure for Policy 2.5 - Procedures for Co-operative Education Programming

7.2. Undergraduate Academic Calendar

7.3. Associate Diploma Academic Calendar

8. Repeal

Upon the commencement of this policy, the following policies/documents etc. are repealed:

8.1. Policy on Co-operative Education Programming in Undergraduate Degree Programs (approved by Senate June 4, 2012)

8.2. Guidelines and Procedures for Co-operative Education Programming in Undergraduate Degree Programs (approved by Senate June 4, 2012)