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Learn more about co-op as a student at UM

At the University of Manitoba, the student experience includes opportunities that complement the academic curriculum and set students up for success by providing practical experience. The University of Manitoba recognizes experiential learning as a pedagogical strategy that advances learning, personal growth and competency development in a variety of concepts and environments.

Co-operative Education (co-op) is an academic program and one of 12 types of experiential learning that alternates academic study with paid, full-time, supervised work experience. Placements are linked to the student’s area of study and offer unique opportunities for students to apply and enhance their academic knowledge in real-world settings, and in turn build their confidence.

Co-op is one of the ways students can directly expand their understanding of the field. It opens many doors, leads to different horizons and illuminates different trajectories that students may not have been aware of. It also allows students to see the emerging trends in the field and get a glimpse of the direction that the industry may be heading towards.

Meet two members of the UM community whose co-op experiences as faculty and as students have left meaningful, eternal impacts on their careers.

Lisa Landrum

The Faculty of Architecture is one of many UM faculties offering co-operative education (co-op) opportunities. Dr. Lisa Landrum, Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Research) & Co-operative/Academic Liaison, has been working with students, alumni, community and employers on academic and architectural advocacy for years.

“I’m keenly aware of the truly cooperative nature of co-operative education,” says Landrum. “Our program not only supports the next generation of design professionals, but also collaboratively creates more equitable, sustainable and engaging built environments for all.”

The Faculty of Architecture’s Co-op program offers placements for both undergraduate and graduate students. To assist students in finding a position and finding success within it, the program offers workshops on resume and cover letter-writing, portfolio presentation and interview skills, as well as many opportunities to network with employers and members in the industry.

She reflects on her own experiences as an undergraduate student and the positive impacts of work opportunities and exceptional mentors who helped her secure a riveting job in New York City upon graduation.

As a leader and instructor in the faculty, Landrum’s envisions a world where “cooperative education is about mutual advantages and support, leveraging the common goals of academic, community and industry sectors to create vital and just societies.” In her national role as the newly elected President of the Canadian Architectural Certification Board, she is a remarkable leader of what it means to be an architect in Canada.

Even as an instructor in the faculty, she definitely cares to make the same impact on her own students: “It is an honour to participate in a trans-generational network of inspiring and caring professionals committed to life-long learning. As Martha Nussbaum argues in Not For Profit, education should foster democratic citizenship and ethical imagination, because this is what the world most urgently needs.”

Hillary Beattie

Hillary Beattie was a Master of City Planning student in 2020 when she took on a co-op placement with Narratives Inc., an impact assessment consulting firm dedicated to environmental planning, Indigenous engagement and reconciliation.

During this internship, Narratives was working with four First Nations communities to analyze the impacts of the twinning of Highway 17 between the Manitoba border and Kenora. The project increased the number of lanes from two to four, calling for an impact assessment that bridges scientific and Indigenous traditional knowledge.

Beattie was involved with mapping the project and writing reports and proposals, yet her skills and experiences working on documentary films before pursuing this degree were just as valuable. She planned, filmed and edited some videos of the communities, and was truly delighted by the opportunity to combine her film and planning skills.

“I’ve witnessed how important this is when it comes to developing plans and negotiating outcomes that really work for the communities involved,” Beattie says as she reflected on the well-established working relationships between her colleagues and the First Nations communities. “I hope to be able to continue this type of community-based work throughout my planning career.”

Learn more about co-op and internship opportunities as a student at UM.

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