First in the West; still the best - 50 years of co-operative education at U of R

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: December 4, 2019 3:45 p.m.

Kevin Bolen, Director, Student Success, and emcee, presented University partners with plaques in recognition of the role their faculty or unit played in the success of the University of Regina Co-operative Education and Internships program. L-R: Livia Castellanos, Associate Vice-President (International) and Chief International Officer; Emmanuel Aito, Director, La Cité universitaire francophone; Lisa Watson, Associate Dean (Strategic), Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research; Richard Kleer, Dean, Faculty of Arts; David Senkow, Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Business Administration; David deMontigny, Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; and, Douglas Farenick, Dean, Faculty of Science.
Kevin Bolen, Director, Student Success, and emcee, presented University partners with plaques in recognition of the role their faculty or unit played in the success of the University of Regina Co-operative Education and Internships program. L-R: Livia Castellanos, Associate Vice-President (International) and Chief International Officer; Emmanuel Aito, Director, La Cité universitaire francophone; Lisa Watson, Associate Dean (Strategic), Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research; Richard Kleer, Dean, Faculty of Arts; David Senkow, Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Business Administration; David deMontigny, Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; and, Douglas Farenick, Dean, Faculty of Science. Photos: U of R Photography

On December 4, 2019, the University of Regina, along with partners from across industry and government, celebrated 50 years of co-operative education at the University of Regina. 

“Fifty years ago the University of Saskatchewan’s Regina Campus – now the University of Regina – began an innovative work/study program which enabled engineering students to alternate semesters of study with semesters of paid work,” said University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Vianne Timmons. “Thanks to the pioneering efforts of John Mantle, the first Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, and faculty member Dr. Cameron Blachford, the first 21 engineering students were placed in paid positions in January 1970. 

McCrum
Kathy McCrum, Vice-President
of Human Resources and
Safety at SaskPower, speaking
at today’s 50th anniversary
celebration.
P1100139v.jpg
Brent Brownlee, Acting
Executive Director,
Universities and Private
Vocational Schools,
Advanced Education,
Province of Saskatchewan,
with plaque he received
today in recognition of the
provincial government’s
ongoing support for the
U of R’s Co-operative
Education and Internships
program.

“No longer just available to engineering students, co-operative education has grown to become a vital stand-alone program serving the University of Regina and its many community partners and is a key reason why many students choose to study here.”

The first of its kind in Western Canada, the Co-operative Education and Internships program as it is now known, has provided experiential learning opportunities to thousands of students who have gained practical career related experience, built relationships with employers, and generated income supporting their educational aspirations. 

“My Co-op experience led to me finding a full-time position even before I graduated,” said Astha Sharma, a Nepalese international student who graduated this Fall with her Master of Human Resource Management from the University of Regina’s Kenneth Levene Graduate School of Business. “Without participating in Co-op, I never would have gained the experience or the contacts to land the job I now have. Co-op was the best decision I made while taking my master’s degree.” 

Co-op Education and Internships serves a broad range of local and national employers, including SaskPower, Sasktel, and MNP (to name a few), and students studying in many disciplines, including Business, Engineering, Science, Arts, Actuarial Science, La Cité (French and Francophone Cultural Studies), plus Indigenous Career Education. Over the last decade, the program has witnessed growth in excess of 60 per cent, with 754 Indigenous students participating in the program since 2006. 

“The power utility industry is changing more today than it has since Thomas Edison invented the light-bulb a century ago. At SaskPower, we know that an investment in education is an investment in the future – a future that will look very different from today. SaskPower hired some of the first University of Regina co-op students and 50 years on, we see the U of R’s co-op program as a significant part of the solution to the challenges ahead,” shared Kathy McCrum, Vice-President of Human Resources and Safety at SaskPower (and U of R alumnae from Business Administration program). 

In 2019, the U of R’s Co-operative Education and Internships program also celebrated another major milestone: 865 career-related placements were recorded, with $10.5 million in salaries earned. This is an all-time annual record number of placements for the program.

Bolen closed the event with a heartfelt note of appreciation to all current and former Co-op students for the parts they played in making the program such a success.

More information on the Co-operative Education and Internships program is available here.