What is the role of a faculty coordinator?
As a faculty coordinator, you will play an important role in a student’s co-op. You will not only approve the student’s site selection and job description in relation to the amount of academic credit, but also work with the student to complete a learning agreement, which must be turned in to the Career Center Office before the student can register for the internship. We ask that you stay in contact with the student throughout the semester. One of your most important responsibilities is helping the student process new experiences and challenging situations.
If possible, you are encouraged to complete an on-site visit. An alternative might be a telephone "visit."
You will also be asked to review student and employer final evaluations. Evaluations, the final academic project, and satisfactory completion of the objectives stated in the learning agreement determine the student's final letter grade.
What are some advantages to being a faculty coordinator?
Internships for credit (co-ops) give you a unique opportunity to work one-on-one with students interested in gaining career-related work experience. You will have the chance to significantly influence the direction a student takes, as well as gain a better understanding of current employment realities for students and alumni.
What is a learning agreement?
A learning agreement specifically outlines the learning objectives for the student, as well as the evaluation procedures. The agreement should be detailed enough to prevent any misunderstanding about what is required at the end of the term, as this agreement greatly influences the student’s final letter grade. The learning agreement must be signed by the student and faculty coordinator and returned to the Career Center to complete the registration process.
Learning objectives should have measurable outcomes, so please consider what kind of evidence students can present to show that each objective has been met. This will help avoid conflicts over differing expectations at the end of the term. Time guidelines should also be negotiated and entered on the form before signing the learning agreement.
What is the required academic project?
The length and complexity of an internship (co-op) final project is typically detailed in the learning agreement and determined by the amount of credit associated with work-related learning, the student’s skill, knowledge and maturity, as well as the nature of the experience.
Encourage your student to think about the types of tangible evidence they may create during the course of their experience. We encourage you to require active documents like portfolios or journals. However, traditional research papers may also be appropriate in certain situations. Quantify the academic project as much as possible to avoid conflicts in expectations by either at the end of the term.
What do I need to know about assigning a final grade?
Students receive a letter grade for Cooperative Education 390. Occasionally, a student’s co-op may extend beyond the end of the term for which he or she registered. In this case, you may designate an “IP” (in progress) status and avoid having to file an Incomplete Contract Form with the Registrar. This most commonly occurs during the shortened summer term. “IP” status may then be changed to an appropriate letter grade upon completion of the experience and assessment of the student’s academic project.
An “I” should be given if the actual work experience is complete but the student has not completed all of the course requirements due to serious and prolonged illness or other unavoidable emergencies. According to the Catalog, it is the responsibility of the student to contact the faculty coordinator and initiate the grade of “I” and the makeup work. If justified, an “I” is accepted in the Office of the Registrar on an Incomplete Contract form.
Faculty Coordinators may also elect to award an F based on the student’s academic performance, including the employer’s evaluation. A grade of F means that a student must repeat the Internship (co-op) experience in order to receive credit.
Is there a checklist I can follow for this entire process?
Yes. Here’s what you should be tracking for the student you are advising:
- Help the student determine how an internship for credit (co-op) fits into the student’s overall academic plan.
- Check the student’s eligibility, including GPA and number of completed credits.
- Brainstorm possible employers or volunteer positions with the student or suggest they come to the Career Center.
- Approve the student’s employment or volunteer site.
- Send the student to the Career Center to register and pick up their paperwork and begin the registration process.
- Review and complete the Learning Agreement terms and have the student bring the paperwork back to the Career Center.
- Conduct on-site visit when possible.
- Review final student and employer evaluations.
- Evaluate final academic project.
- Submit final letter grade.