Co-op High Impact 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 an author page on the Antioch Engaged blog site 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 page can include expository writing such as autobiographical entries and blog assignments developed through the Co-op Field Experience 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 Co-op Field Experience assignments are required for completion of the course, sharing these materials with a public audience through the Antioch Engaged site is NOT required. To opt out of the creation of a public author page on Antioch Engaged, 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.
Self-Design Co-op Policy
Since the College’s independence, the Cooperative Education (Co-op) Program has remained committed to a broad conception of the co-op experience in response to the changing world of work. It is understood that some students endeavor to use a co-op term to pursue an externally competitive position because it meets their needs better than a position from the Co-op Partners Opportunities List. Other students hope to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, involve themselves in artistic ventures, conduct research related to their majors, or otherwise experiment with their own ideas.
For these reasons, students have the right to propose a self-selected or self-designed co-op experience that fulfills their ambitions for learning off-campus, as long as it meets Co-op Program requirements as articulated below. 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 formalize it within the Self-Designed Co-op Proposal section of the Co-op Student Agreements Form that is made available before each co-op term. Draft proposals should be submitted to the co-op advisor by the fourth week of the quarter preceding the cooperative work term in question. Final proposals are due by the seventh week of the term.
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 productive and well integrated? 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?
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 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.
One of the things that the Cooperative Education Program does well is assist students in positioning themselves for engagement within an organization that focuses on themes that overlap with their academic interests. For this reason, students involved in a co-op experience frequently encounter situations that they identify naturally as opportunities for immersive research.
Such environments can indeed be conducive to research practices such as participant observation as they can provide significant levels of access to various kinds of groups. Developing a network of contacts within co-op partner organizations and building trust within the communities they serve can also lead to situations in which a student may desire to activate what they have learned in their methodology courses on campus and conduct formal interviews. Moreover, sustained engagement with a co-op partner over time can bring a student to develop a sense of agency that leads them into opportunities for participatory action research. This policy is intended to respond to student interest in this area by clarifying the qualifications, research tools, proposal development process, approval criteria, and implementation measures that a student must consider in conversation with their advisors if they would like to pursue a formal research project over co-op.
This policy is intended to enable the Cooperative Education (Co-op) Program to facilitate opportunities for mentored research for students from all majors who express an interest in conducting some level of research on human subjects. It is understood that many students seek to distinguish themselves through original research in order to better position themselves for jobs, strengthen their applications for graduate school, 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 undergraduate research and, in in collaboration with the four divisions and the language program, to help qualifying 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 projects, 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 may 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.
(4) Preliminary Research and Class Research Projects – This category of activity reflects that fact that what students sometimes label “research” can at times be considered a preliminary exploration, an exercise in research project development, or a class project that requires the student to practice research skills. It is understood that knowledge gained from such activities is not publishable and, while proper protocols are necessary for such exercises, they do not fall into the category of formal undergraduate research.
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: https://www.antiochcollege.org/about/office-institutional-effectiveness-and-research.
Approval will be made by the Dean of Cooperative, Experiential, and International Education before the beginning of the co-op term.
Research Co-op Guidelines
- Projects should involve a faculty-approved proposal for scholarship, creative work, and/or research commensurate with the students’ skills and abilities.
- Students should 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 should 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 should complete an online evaluation of the student at the end 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.
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.