Student Forums
A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community


Co-op High Stakes Education & Public Communications Policy

As part of your enrollment at Antioch College, the Cooperative Education program (Co-op) faculty and staff will periodically ask you to work within a variety of digital platforms to complete your assignments and requirements. As part of our strategy to position students for opportunities in a changing economic landscape, the Co-op Program is committed to engaging students in high-impact educational practices in accordance with the values promoted by the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative.

We view public communications through our Co-op Student Learning Portal as an important channel for students to engage themselves in solution-oriented approaches to the challenges they face as a generation. The Co-op program works with students to develop a public portfolio in order to document their co-op experiences, map skills and interests to industries and communities of practice, and position themselves for career advancement. Materials featured within a student’s public portfolio include expository writing such as autobiographical entries and blog assignments developed through the Work Portfolio courses. Students can also choose to include signature work such as writing samples from campus-based courses, evidence of foreign language proficiency, artistic material, journal entries, story maps, curated interview materials, and/or media productions that link their capstone work with their professional objectives.

While the Work Portfolio assignments and other co-op requirements are mandatory, sharing these materials with a public audience through the blog is not required. To opt out of the creation of a public portfolio on our Co-op Student Learning Portal, please return this signed statement to the Cooperative Education office and we will remove your writings and author profile. Your decision to opt-out will remain in effect until written notification to opt-in is received.

Career Communications Professional Writing Standards

Career Communications Professional Writing Standards

Self-Design Co-op Policy

The Cooperative Education (Co-op) Program is committed to broadening its conception of the co-op experience in response to changes in the world of work. It is understood that a significant number of students hope to use their cooperative work term to explore entrepreneurial opportunities with start-up firms, conduct research related to their majors, become involved in artistic ventures, or experiment with their own ideas. It is also clear that numerous students are interested in proposing a co-op job of their own design. For these reasons, as explained in the Antioch College Curriculum Catalog, by “formal petition to the dean of cooperative education, students may seek approval to substitute one or more cooperative education job(s) with self-selected major-related paid or unpaid internship(s); research appointment(s); or other academically or professionally significant experience(s)” that fulfill their ambitions for learning off-campus.

If a student desires to propose a Self-Designed Co-op Experience, they are required to work with their co-op advisors to develop their plan and to write a formal proposal. Draft proposals must be submitted by the fourth week of the quarter preceding the cooperative work term in question. Final proposals with a signed employer/mentor verification form are due by the seventh week of the term.

The proposal must be in narrative form addressing all of the following points:  How the opportunity relates to the student’s immediate academic interests, long-term educational goals, career objectives, previous work experiences, ambitions for skill development, and/or personal needs. Proposals should be approved by the co-op advisor before being submitted to the Dean of Cooperative, Experiential, and International Education.

If the student proposes to be self-employed, involved in research, or engaged in some form of artistic work of their own design, they must identify someone with legitimacy in the proposed field of interest who has agreed to serve as a mentor and provide guidance in planning their co-op. They are required to provide the name, contact information, and signature of the individual in order to verify the mentorship relationship.

Proposals will be judged on the following criteria:

  • A safe, ethical, legal, and supportive working/learning environment – Is the workplace or study site safe? Will the student be able to adhere to safe, ethical, and legal operating procedures? In this regard, students are informed that employers in the United States are bound by workplace fairness standards as codified in federal and state law and are required to maintain an environment that is free from harassment and other forms of discrimination as stipulated by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  • Reciprocity – Will the student commit to work in situations where other people would have legitimate expectations of them, and thus, those individuals would be reasonably expected to offer compensation, training, or other forms of support for the student?
  • Appropriate preparation and clear definition of activities – Will the student receive appropriate training so that they understand clearly the activities to be performed? Is approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) required for this experience?
  • Adequate supervision – What kind of oversight will be afforded to ensure that the experience will be rigorous beyond the Work Portfolio course? Will the student be able to communicate sufficiently with colleagues so that they will be successful in their efforts?
  • Thematic Consistency – If the student will work in different locations with different sets of people, their work should be within a particular field or focused on a consistent purpose throughout the co-op in order to afford them a coherent learning experience.
  • Sustained Engagement – Will the student be occupied full-time throughout the cooperative work term? Please keep in mind that although most co-op jobs are scheduled for 11 to 12 weeks to meet employer obligations, a minimum of 10 weeks of full-time work (at least 30 hours per week) is required. Students may have more than one employer but must provide verification from all.
  • Performance evaluation – How will the success of the experience be judged? Are expected levels of performance adequately communicated?

International Co-op Policy

Cooperative education advisors and/or the Dean of Cooperative, Experiential and International Education may deny a request for an international co-op if a student has not planned sufficiently in advance (typically, a minimum of one year of advanced planning is expected). Students who wish to consider pursuing an international co-op opportunity should speak with their co-op advisor as far in advance as possible. While international co-ops are available to all students, significantly higher priority is given to students on the three-year language track, and only three-year language track students may choose language immersion co-ops. Please note that international co-ops are often more expensive than those which occur within the United States, and that most or all of these additional costs may pass on to the student. Note also that language immersion co-ops are reserved specifically for students on the three year language track.

Research over Co-op Policy

Antioch College’s vision is to be a place where “new and better ways of living are discovered as a result of meaningful engagement with the world through intentional linkages between classroom and experiential education”. With discovery thus situated at the heart of our academic enterprise, it follows that student research is one of the core elements animating the integration of cooperative education and classroom learning.

What the Cooperative Education Program does best is assist students in positioning themselves for work within an organization that focuses on themes that overlap with a student’s interests. Students who engage in full-time work can encounter excellent opportunities for immersive research through employment. The work environment can be conducive to participant observation in many situations as it can provide access to particular social organizations. Developing a network of contacts within these organizations and building trust within the larger community they serve can also lead naturally to comfort in conducting interviews. Moreover, through sustained engagement with an organization, a student can develop a sense of agency that can lead to significant forms of participatory action research. We recognize however that some students aspire to conduct research on issues or in ways that do not fit well with an employment situation.

This policy is intended to enable the Cooperative Education (Co-op) Program to facilitate mentored research experiences for students from all majors who are interested in conducting research on human subjects. It is understood that many students seek to distinguish themselves through original research in order to better position themselves for graduate school, a research career, or simply to become more knowledgeable in their field. It is understood that this policy is part of a larger effort to strengthen the College’s focus on student research and, in in collaboration with the four divisions and the language program, to help students conduct fieldwork in support of their language capstone and senior projects. It is also intended to enable faculty to deepen their involvement with students when they are on co-op and encourage collaboration on conference presentations and publications.

Research, as defined by the US Department of Health and Human Services within its policy for the Protection of Human Research Subjects (CFR Title 45, Part 46) means a ”systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge”. Although a number of activities fall into this category, this policy is intended to address those that relate to students’ aspirations to conduct research on human subjects during their cooperative work terms.

Human Participant Research, as explained by Antioch College’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) within its policy for the Protection of Human Participants, entails “a process of inquiry, observation or systematic investigation that collects data about individuals who can be individually identified, and that seeks to draw generalizations from the effort”.

Students aspiring to conduct research involving human subjects during their cooperative work terms are required to seek approval from the College’s IRB and the Dean of Cooperative, Experiential, and International Education.

Situations that require IRB approval for students:

(1) Mentored Independent Research Involving Human Subjects – A student may request authorization to conduct independent research during co-op if they have developed a proposal that is advanced enough to warrant support based on the recommendation of a credible mentor, approval of the student’s co-op advisor, approval of IRB, and authorization of any outside body that governs research activities in the proposed study site.

(2) Employer-Mediated Research Involving Human Subjects – A student may request authorization to conduct employer-mediated research during co-op if they have developed a proposal that is advanced enough to warrant support based on the recommendation of a credible employer, approval of the student’s co-op advisor, approval of IRB, and authorization of any outside body that governs research activities in the proposed study site, which may include additional IRB approval from the host institution. In these situations, it must be clear that the employer agrees to allow the student to make use of the employment opportunity to conduct independent research on human subjects through the contacts and activities afforded by their work.

Situations that do NOT require IRB approval for students:

(1) Research Education Programs – A student is accepted into an established educational program that offers mentored research opportunities for students under the guidance of researchers who are pursing legitimate projects, who deal appropriately with human subjects, and who have attained proper authorization through their own IRB processes.

(2) Research Appointments – A student is employed or contracted as a member of a research team that is directed by a credible researcher or an organization that has completed the necessary protocols and received proper IRB authorization for research on human subjects.

(3) Journalism and Media Documentary Projects – Journalism entails investigations of public events, explorations of ideas, and examinations of the views of private individuals as well as public figures. Intended to lead to the publication in popular media, journalistic and documentary projects are not considered to be research and do not require IRB review if the identity of sources are protected and the journalist does not seek to make claims about generalizable knowledge stemming from their efforts.  Students developing journalistic studies and media documentary projects are expected to adhere to the Code of Ethics governing journalistic activities established by the Society of Professional Journalists. If a student has any doubt as to whether or not their project is strictly journalistic they are encouraged to consult with the IRB in order to determine whether or not they would be required to seek authorization.

If a student desires to conduct research over co-op either through the auspices of their workplace or outside of their co-op job, they are required to discuss the idea with their co-op advisor early in the quarter preceding their co-op term. They must submit a Self-Designed Co-op Proposal and also seek IRB approval before the seventh week of the term preceding their co-op. For students wishing to conduct research resulting in data that individually identifies participants, or to conduct research with confidentiality or anonymity assurances in place, IRB approval is necessary to ensure that participants’ rights are respected and that researchers follow certain procedures.

Students are referred to the IRB webpage for guidance on the submission of IRB proposals:

Approval will be made by the Dean of Cooperative, Experiential, and International Education before the beginning of the co-op term.

Research Co-op Requirements

  • Projects must involve a faculty-approved proposal for scholarship, creative work, and/or research commensurate with the students’ skills and abilities.
  • Students must be mentored by an Antioch College faculty sponsor, co-op faculty sponsor, a company supervisor, and/or a senior member of an organization as necessary.
  • The student’s research co-op must culminate in deliverable materials, including (but not limited to) grant proposals, published papers or articles, conference presentations, and/or poster presentations or other exhibitions.
  • Mentors will be required to complete an online evaluation of the student within the last 10 days of the co-op cycle. The co-op student will also complete an online evaluation of the research co-op experience within the last 10 days of the co-op cycle.
  • Students and mentors are encouraged to participate in a College Research Co-op Luncheon to be scheduled on Co-op Appreciation Day. Students are also encouraged to participate in a poster session of the College’s Co-op Swap.

Optional Fourth Co-op

Students may choose to enroll in an optional co-op term during the fall quarter of their fourth year of study. Please note that approval of the fourth co-op is not automatic. It requires (1) mandatory advising sessions and advanced planning; (2) registration for an appropriate COOP course; (3) evidence of good academic and community standing; (4) completion of extra courses in the first three years of study, possibly leading to over-crediting situations; and (5) permission of the students’ classroom advisor, co-op advisor as well as the dean of cooperative, experiential, and international education. If this fourth co-op term is to be an international and/or language immersion experience, students must meet additional requirements articulated in the policies of both the Co-op Program Policy and the Language and Culture Program.

Advanced planning is especially important for students who wish to pursue an international co-op. Cooperative education advisors and/or the dean of cooperative, experiential and international education may deny a request for an international co-op if a student has not planned sufficiently in advance (typically, a minimum of one year of advanced planning is expected). Students who wish to consider pursuing an international co-op opportunity should speak with their co-op advisor as far in advance as possible. While any student is welcome to propose an international co-ops, significantly higher priority is given to students on the three-year language track. Moreover, students are required to demonstrate that their language skills are appropriate for the proposed placement. Please note that language immersion co-ops are reserved for students who are committed to the three-year language track.

Student Financial Responsibility during Co-op Terms

While students are on co-op terms, they are responsible for the payment of tuition to the College as well as their own room, board, and other expenses. Students are also responsible for costs associated with their travel to and from their jobs, as is the case for travel between campus and home during breaks.

It should also be understood that international co-op experiences rarely offer paid work, although at times room and board compensation can be secured. Students hoping to co-op abroad should thus expect to incur a number of costs, for which they would be responsible.