Communication is the heart of future workplace improvements

Posted on Thursday, September 17, 2020

Author: Amélie Leroux and Astha Tiwari, students

two side-by-side images of young female students smiling at camera. Opposing corners have a decorative garnet triangle

How do you keep CO-OP and work-study students involved and engaged in their work terms? Communication within teams and among other students is key to a rewarding experience for our students.   

In a survey conducted by students Astha Tiwari and Amélie Leroux, working in Information Technology’s Office of the CIO, student responses showed the importance of improved communication, especially during this time of working remotely.  

This is the second time this survey has been conducted with our summer students. It is an important piece in understanding the student experience. Chief Information Officer Martin Bernier explains, “Students are at the heart of our organizational mission, only they can tell us if the solutions we implement really make a difference in their day-to-day and how we can improve. Our student employees are in the unique position to really make a difference to the student experience.”

18 out of the 28 students, who were engaged in the summer 2020 work term with Information Technology, provided an interesting look into student success factors for an enriching work term. Looking at student responses, led to an inference that the primary challenges students face were mostly related to communications and transparency within their teams as well as with other departments. One respondent noted, “More interaction with fellow students and more transparency regarding the ongoing projects can be considered to improve my work experience.”  

What actions can be taken to improve a student work term?

In response to the survey, Information Technology has appointed a Student Engagement Coordinator and Student Champion. They will spearhead student engagement and implement recommendations such as a “Buddy” system and improving onboarding for students. While student work terms involve hard work and new challenges, we hope to make them rewarding and engaging as well.  

Amélie Leroux a third-year Business Technology Management student at the University of Ottawa and Information Technology’s newly appointed Student Engagement Coordinator.The fall 2020 semester will be her second work term with Information Technology as a CO-OP student. Contact her at aleroux2@uottawa.ca or https://www.linkedin.com/in/amélie-leroux333/.   

Astha Tiwari is studying for her Master’s in Digital Transformation and Innovation, at the University of Ottawa (’21). She is in her third work term as a Digital Strategist with Information Technology and is also working on a proposal for an Open Data Initiative at the University. Reach Astha at atiwari@uottawa.ca or https://www.linkedin.com/in/asthatiwari19/.

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