Co-curricular record on the way

The co-curricular record, an official U of T document that will recognize students’ involvement in extracurricular activities, is near to being implemented. It is intended to list students’ extracurricular activities affiliated with the university and the skills gained thereby.

The Office of Student Life at UTM hosted a couple of focus groups for students in regards to the co-curricular record, which is set to launch next September.

The focus groups were voluntary and conducted on a basis of anonymity so as not to skew the findings.

One of the major concerns raised in the focus groups was the validation process. The university requires mechanisms to validate a student’s involvement with a co-curricular activity.  Another question was what should count as official co-curricular activities, eligible to be recorded on the co-curricular transcript.

In the 2009/10 year, the Council on Student Experience, a committee whose mandate is to develop ways to enhance and improve the student experience at U of T under the vice-provost students, identified an official co-curricular transcript as an important way to enhance the student experience.

Their report said the transcript has “the ability to prioritize the importance of co-curricular involvement at U of T” and that it “should be a useful reference in a student’s community, workplace, scholarly, professional, and personal life”.

In 2011, Lucy Fromowitz, the assistant VP student life, invited a group of 18 faculty, staff, and students from the three U of T campuses to participate in a two-day planning session to discuss the development of a co-curricular record. Research was also done to see how such records have been implemented at other universities across Canada. This research was shared with the Advisory Committee, which consists of students, staff, and faculty.

The committee established four working groups throughout the summer to develop criteria for eligible activities, designate skills to associate with those activities, establish processes of validation, and determine systems and technology needs.

A working group found that at other universities, there was slow voluntary participation and students did not find it easy to get involved using the co-curricular record.

They looked at developing an online forum for easily searchable co-curricular activities on campus, a system for requesting validation of the activities students have been involved with, and an appeal process, among other features.

The co-curricular transcript has been implemented at other Ontario universities, including Windsor and Guelph.

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