Supervisor Reference Guide

This quick reference guide is designed to answer frequently asked questions about supervising and working with UBC Arts Co-op students.

Your New Arts Co-op Employee

In almost all organizations, Arts Co-op students function in a very similar way to permanent employees. However, there are a few specifics regarding the Arts Co-op process that you should know about.

Once the co-op student is comfortably oriented within your workplace and is assigned their tasks and duties, they are required to complete a Co-op Work Plan. Although students can complete these on their own, we recommend that they meet with their immediate supervisor to establish realistic yet challenging learning goals. We encourage you to have a meeting with your student to discuss these.

Helping your student with their Work Plan has a number of benefits, including:

  1. The student’s goals are in line with the work you expect the student to perform.
  2. By getting to know the student’s learning goals, you may be able to adjust the job to maximize use of the student’s abilities and interests.
  3. You get to build good rapport with your student, which helps them feel more comfortable sharing their objectives and experiences with you.

Throughout the work term we suggest that you have periodic meetings with your co-op student to discuss the Work Plan, work progress, new interests, and any problems or concerns. The Arts Co-op office will schedule a mid-term meeting, the Site Visit, with the student and you near the end of the second month of the work term. Your student is responsible for scheduling the meeting and will check with you to see when you are available.

The purpose of the Site Visit is for an Arts Co-op Program Coordinator, the student, and the employer to discuss the student’s learning, progress, performance, and experience at roughly the half-way mark of the work term. The Arts Co-op staff member will discuss the student’s Professional Development Projects as well.

The Arts Co-op Coordinator visiting your work site will meet with you and your student separately for about 20 minutes each and then meet with both of you for about 15 minutes. This meeting is an opportunity to reflect on accomplishments, and discuss and/or resolve any problems or concerns that you or the student may have.

Typically we will focus the conversation around the following types of questions and feedback:

  • Outline your initial reflections on student’s performance.
  • Have you had a conversation with the student regarding their Work Plan during this work term?
  • Were you able to provide opportunities or adapt the students’ Work Plan to fit the needs of your organization?
  • What are the significant strengths/accomplishments achieved by the student in the position thus far?
  • What are the specific areas for improvement?
  • Any other issues, challenges, or concerns?

If you are considering extending the student’s work term to eight months, please discuss this at the Site Visit. However, you are welcome to contact the Arts Co-op office at any time to discuss this option.

Throughout the term your student will be required to submit several Professional Development Projects. The projects are designed to help students reflect on their learning and develop their professional network. informational interview It is up to the student to discuss and share copies of these projects with you to ensure nothing confidential is submitted.

Some assignment options students can choose from include:

  • Professional Profile – an informative brief describing the organization, job responsibilities, skills developed, and advice for future students.
  • Informational Interview – a reflective analysis on an informational interview conducted with a professional in the student's field of interest
  • Public Speaking - presentation to a group of colleagues who assess content and delivery through an evaluation form

At the end of each 4-month term we ask that the student and the supervisor complete evaluations online. The Arts Co-op office will email you the login instructions. Please complete this evaluation and print a copy for your student before the completion of their term. We encourage you to meet and discuss your evaluations with each other before the end of the work term.

Below are the main duties and responsibilities of employers, students, and the Arts Co-op office.


  • Outline hours of work, start and end dates, and job duties, and advise the student of all issues of confidentiality in the workplace.
  • Provide the student with an orientation to the workplace as well as the functional workspace and equipment necessary to complete the work term’s duties.
  • Provide the student with a supervisor who will oversee their work, discuss expectations and give feedback.
  • Participate in the Site Visit to assess the student’s progress, performance, and experience.
  • Provide guidance for the student’s Professional Development Projects.
  • Complete a final evaluation of the student’s performance during the work term.


  • Honour the acceptance of a work term placement by reporting to work at the commencement of the work term and fulfilling the terms of employment to the best of their abilities.
  • Respect the policies, procedures, confidentiality and proprietary information of their employers (assume job information is confidential unless told otherwise).
  • Conform to all the conditions and rules that apply to employees in the organization, such as work attire and business hours.
  • Arrange for a Site Visit with their employer and Arts Co-op coordinator.
  • Accept feedback and suggestions for improvement from their supervisor and/or coordinator in a positive manner.
  • Complete and submit final Professional Development Projects s to the Arts Co-op office.
  • Share copies of these projects with their work supervisor and discuss any issues of confidentiality prior to submission.
  • Complete the final evaluation for the work term.

The Arts Co-op Office:

  • Deal with any problems that arise either from the student’s or the employer’s perspective.
  • Conduct the Site Visit to assist in a discussion of the student’s work and to identify future work placements for Arts Co-op students.
  • Act as a resource to students and employers during the work terms.
  • Review the employer’s final evaluation of the student and the student’s evaluation of the work term.
  • Review the success of each work placement at its completion, and make changes to the program based on the feedback of the students and employers in the program.

The success of our co-op program depends on our employers. You can increase the level of quality in the Arts Co-op Program at UBC by becoming involved in a variety of ways:

Hiring Another Co-op Student

We hope that you will continue to employ our students in your organization. To obtain a copy of our Hiring Guide for the next term, contact the Arts Co-op office.

Please remember that our students are flexible and our hiring process can be modified to suit your needs; we would be happy to work with you to meet the needs of your organization. Many organizations we work with have used co-op students in their peak seasons or have created on-going positions that are filled permanently by 4- or 8-month co-op placements. The possibilities for co-op students in your organization are great.

Recommending Arts Co-op to Other Employers

We hope that you find our program valuable. Feel free to tell friends, other departments, or other organizations about our program and to refer them to us if they have questions. Your endorsement and support in spreading the word about the value of co-op students can help to create new opportunities for many more co-op students in the future.

Speaking at Arts Co-op Events

We encourage employers to become more involved with the development of our program. If you wish to help as a guest speaker at our student training sessions, put on a workshop or information session about your organization, or become more involved with our program’s development, please contact us. We welcome input and appreciate any support you would like to give.

If you would like to recognize a student for excellent performance during their co-op work term, consider nominating them for the Arts Co-op Student of the Year award. The winner of this award will receive a bursary along with formal recognition from the Faculty of Arts.

The annual award will recognize outstanding achievement in all aspects of the Arts Co-op student’s performance, including academic achievement, work term learning portfolio, job achievement/employer evaluation, personal statement, contribution to co-operative education, and contribution to extra-curricular activities. The award will be given by the Associate Dean of Arts, Students, with the advice of the Arts Co-op Advisory Committee. In addition, the Undergraduate Arts Co-op Student of the Year award recipient will be nominated for the CEWIL (Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada) Student of the Year award, which is a national competition.

For more information on how to nominate a student, visit the Undergraduate or Graduate (iSchool) Student of the Year award sections of our website.

Considerations During COVID-19 Pandemic

View our guidelines and responsibilities for employers who require co-op students to work onsite.

As many of our employers have shifted to virtual operations, we have some tips on how to work with students remotely, courtesy of CEWIL (Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada):

•    Tips for Onboarding Students Remotely (PDF)
•    Tips for Supervising Students Remotely (PDF)

The UBC Arts Co-op Program welcomes, respects, and includes students with multiple and diverse backgrounds and identities, and seeks partnerships with workplaces that empower all members of the community.