What’s Missing From Work Integrated Learning Research?
Dr. Patricia M. Rowe
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario (Canada)
Postsecondary education institutions are increasingly adopting Work Integrated Learning (WIL) as a means to comply with society’s demands for more job-ready skills in their graduates, in order to enhance academic learning, and perhaps to attract students to their programs. As a result WIL is receiving more attention from researchers though most of their work involves that aspect of WIL we know as co-operative education. Much of the research is designed to find positive effects for WIL, and either fails to look for, or fails to report, negative effects. This presentation will examine these under-reported effects and raise some questions that have not yet been explored. It will argue that WIL researchers should not fear negative results, but instead, appreciate that further analysis of such effects could lead to improvements in the practice of WIL education.
Dr. Yrjö Engeström
University of Helsinki (Finland)
I will present an approach to the study of learning in which the unit of analysis is larger than an individual person. These higher-level learning systems may be called activity systems. An activity system is a more specific and analytical lens than the rather global notion of “organization” used in studies of organizational learning. It offers a way to examine learning beyond the individual without losing sight of the learners as individual subjects.

In studies of learning in and by activity systems, three important and exciting challenges may be identified. The first challenge is that of expansivity, or expansive potentials of learning. This refers to learning in which the conception of the object of activity is qualitatively changed; the learning challenge for the participants is to acquire mastery of work on the expanded object, while designing and implementing the necessary changes in the activity system. The second challenge is the relationship between vertical and horizontal learning. This refers to learning in which the subjects not only improve their competences according to some predetermined measures but also generate novel hybrids by means of crossing boundaries and creating partnerships. The third challenge is the relationship between the materially grounded and theoretically oriented aspects of learning. This refers to learning and concept formation in which embodied artifact-mediated practical actions and theoretical models interact and shape one another. I will illustrate the three challenges with data from a series of studies of learning in health care work.
Keynote Speaker and Business Luncheon Speaker
“Bringing Co-Op To Scale: How SUNY Is Using Co-Op To Meet
New York’s Workforce Needs & Drive the Economy”
Dr. Nancy Zimpher
The State University of New York (U.S.)
American higher education cannot lose sight of the elegantly simple, yet monumentally important task that our nation’s colleges and universities must achieve with each graduating class – meeting the workforce demands of a 21st-century global economy and preparing students for a prosperous future.

At the State University of New York (SUNY), we are retooling our workforce development programs en masse to hit this mark and, with broad support from WACE, cooperative education is at the core of our efforts.
In June 2009 Nancy L. Zimpher became the 12th Chancellor of the State University of New York. With nearly 463,000 students and 64 colleges and universities, SUNY is the nation’s largest comprehensive system of higher education.

(Please click here to see Chancellor Zimpher's complete bio)

CWIE Research Panel
"Creating A Excellent Foundation For CWIE Research:
Examining The Past And Building The Future Of CWIE Research"
Moderator: Dr. Kristina Johansson
PhD Research Leader
University West (Sweden)
Dr. Maureen Drysdale
Associate Professor, Psychology
Waterloo Centre for the Advancement of
Cooperative Education (WatCACE)
University of Waterloo (Canada)
Dr. Sheri Dressler
Educational and Human Sciences Department
University of Central Florida (US)
Dr. Karsten Zegwaard
Director of Cooperative Education
University of Waikato (New Zealand)
Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education
Dr. Lars Svensson
Professor in Informatics
Specialising in WIL Director of LINA
University West (Sweden)
  1. From your viewpoint, what is the current status of research in CWIE?

  2. The WACE International Research Group has worked on identifying gaps and themes for where research on CWIE should be going. Can discuss some of those gaps and comment on the impact knowledge in that area will have on the CWIE community?

  3. In your opinion, how can research best influence the transfer of theory to practice and vice versa?

  4. What barriers do you believe stand in the way of building stronger research on CWIE?

  5. What advice would you give to a new junior researcher in this field?

This question as well as questions from the floor will be elaborated during the panel.

Open Space Session
Dr. Nancy Johnston
Executive Director
Student Affairs
Simon Fraser University (Canada)