Overview of the Co-op Faculty Advisor role
Cooperative Education is experiential education which consists of many activities: real-world work, academic projects assigned by the Co-op Faculty Advisor, student preparation, counseling and debriefing. These activities enhance student learning, build maturity and insight, and contribute to graduates who are prepared to function effectively in the world of work. Because co-op is an academic learning strategy, Montclair State University expects students to integrate the learning that occurs in the workplace with their formal studies: this is the vital role the faculty plays in the process.
Once a student accepts a position with an employing organization and officially registers for a co-op course, the student is assigned to a Co-op Faculty Advisor. Together, the student and the Co-op Faculty Advisor will develop a learning agreement that outlines the academic projects to be completed during the semester. The Cooperative Education Faculty Handbook is a helpful resource for Co-op Faculty Advisors.
Certain academic departments require that their co-op students attend a series of seminars during the semester. These seminars, facilitated by the student's Co-op Faculty Advisor, are designed to foster discussion and reflection on relevant work and career-related issues.
Co-op Faculty Advisor - Roles and Responsibilities
The Co-op Faculty Advisor is responsible to
- assist in the development of the learning agreement;
- assess learning outcomes and communicate with the worksite supervisor;
- facilitate discussions with students about their progress;
- participate in problem-solving sessions when appropriate;
- conduct seminars when required;
- review supervisors' evaluation reports;
- assess the learning outcomes of the co-op/internship experience;
- award academic credit by assigning a grade.
As the primary contact with the worksite supervisor, the Co-op Faculty Advisor is also expected to:
- maintain communication by phone, email and/or in person;
- host fact-finding meetings when problems arise;
- evaluate the worksite for future co-op students.
Department Co-op Coordinator - Roles and Responsibilities
The Department Co-op Coordinator is responsible for the management of the department's co-op course and serves as its advocate within his or her academic department. S/he will review the curriculum offerings of the department to find appropriate ways to include and represent cooperative education in department deliberations.
S/he will collaborate with an assigned counselor to recruit and promote co-op to both students and faculty, develop and/or refer positions that may come into the academic department, strengthen relationships with employer partners though site visits and employer sponsored events, and approve new positions that are developed by counselors or students.
When more than one faculty member is needed to advise students in a given semester, it is the responsibility of the Department Co-op Coordinator to confer with the department chair or colleagues to locate additional faculty with the appropriate expertise and interest.
This position is normally a released-time position, budgeted through the Center for Career Services and Cooperative Education when coupled with the responsibilities of a Co-op Faculty Advisor. Department Co-op Coordinators are required to attend at least one co-op faculty meeting a year.