Faculty visualizes co-op education program for fine arts

By Scott Strasser, July 24, 2014 —

A new co-operative education program for visual arts students may come to the University of Calgary this Fall.

Students’ Union vice-president academic Hana Kadri said the proposal for a visual arts co-op program has already gone through the Academic Priorities Subcommittee (APS) and is awaiting approval from the Academic Planning and Priorities Committee (APPc).

“Generally speaking, whatever is passed at APS will be passed at APPC,” Kadri said. “From what it looks like there is soon going to be an addition to the co-op program for students in the fine arts.”

If passed, visual arts students will be able to pair their degrees with full-time work experience.

The co-operative education program allows students to supplement their degrees with three four-month work terms. Co-op students typically alternate periods of full-time work with academic terms.

Arts department head Brian Rusted said there are many institutions and organizations in Calgary that would benefit from hiring visual arts students.

“We routinely have the artist-run centres and galleries in the city contact us looking for summer interns,” said Rusted. “I think the arts community, arts institutions, museums, would all be possible options for our students.”

No organizations have signed on to the visual arts co-op program yet.

Currently, 36 programs from the faculty of arts provide co-op opportunities. Two-hundred-and-twenty arts students are currently participating in these programs.

While the co-op program adds at least a year to a student’s degree, arts co-operative education coordinator Mandy Foley said work experience gained through the program helps students with their career prospects after graduation.

“[The co-op program] gives students a chance to explore different options they may have not thought of,” Foley said. “It also gives them great networking skills. By the time they’ve got a year of work under their belt, their resume is very strong and gives them an edge.”

There are two deadlines to apply for co-op programs — Dec. 1 or May 1.

If the visual arts co-op program is launched this fall, students will be able to apply for the program before the Dec. 1 deadline.

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