Campus Life

New funding to offer cash for coursework while benefitting businesses

Over 500 University of Lethbridge students could receive cash for their coursework through two initiatives supporting work experience and benefitting local businesses. The programs, led by the Dhillon School of Business and the Agility Program and funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Innovative Work-Integrated Learning program and CEWIL Canada's iHub, will see $498,600 go directly into the pockets of students.

The Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL) funding will pay students to solve problems for community organizations through a Service Learning Program as well as an applied and independent study cohort program.

The programs are funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Innovative Work-Integrated Learning program and CEWIL Canada's iHub.

Service Learning

Through service learning, faculty members across the U of L will partner with local businesses to incorporate industry-related problems into their curriculum. Currently, students discuss and solve written cases that real-life business executives have historically faced or work on theoretical assignments. Instead of working on static or hypothetical cases, the Service Learning Program will link 420 students with local companies and community partners to complete group projects, capstone projects and applied research that directly impacts those businesses. Each student will be compensated $600 for their work as they learn about the holistic operations of businesses, gain valuable work experience and connect theory to practical application.

Director of DSB Link, the Dhillon School of Business’ business development and experiential learning initiative, Matt Rahimi, is one of the leads on the CEWIL projects.

“Leveraging iHub funding provides students with opportunities to apply their academic knowledge to serve the needs of our community partners, as well as providing them with opportunities to learn about the business requirements in different industries and different jurisdictions,” says Rahimi.

Applied and Independent Study

Through applied and independent study, 137 students will gain direct access to experiential learning through the Dhillon School of Business’ new Applied Consulting Course (MGT 4901), Agility’s new Applied/Independent Studies cohorts, or through Building Careers: Engaging in Communities, a new course focused on developing skills and career goals for social science/humanities majors.

MGT 4901 (for Dhillon students only) kicked off in September and is a semester-long course that pairs consulting instruction with a local company project.

Agility’s applied and independent study offerings will be made through iHub cohorts, which include numerous unique, immersive learning experiences. Guided by their career aspirations, students collaborate with businesses under the supervision of a faculty advisor to solve problems for the organization or design their own course with an initiative. Each project focusses on entrepreneurship, social innovation, digital marketing/technology, financial literacy, STEM or applied research. Students complete a total of 120 hours of work with a company, helping each business establish a strong foundation of entrepreneurial thinking and innovation tactics.

“Programs like iHub encourage our students to get out of the classroom and learn by doing,” says Manager of Agility, Brandy Old. “Our cohort model helps our students learn to take risks in a safe environment, while also supporting core community initiatives that build a stronger southern Alberta.”

Both the Dhillon School of Business’ and Agility’s applied and independent study options put $1,800 into the pocket of each participant, which covers the cost of the course as well as a living wage for their work. Some of the hours of work will also be compensated through targeted skill workshops and other free professional development opportunities offered by partner companies.

"CEWIL Canada is pleased to support innovative WIL experiences for students at the University of Lethbridge where students have been able to receive financial support and recognition for their WIL experience,” says Charlene Marion, director of WIL at CEWIL Canada. “Funds such as these aim to eliminate barriers to WIL and increase access for all post-secondary students."

Access to experiential learning and community engagement for underrepresented groups is also an important component of the programs. The University is aiming to have 10.5 per cent of the placements (as reflected by the student population) filled by under-represented students, including Indigenous students, students who have requested accommodation for disabilities, women in STEM and students who are newcomers to Canada or from rural and remote areas.