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SAIT program to give difference-making students a boost

SAIT program to give difference-making students a boost

Organizers single out employees as key to launching new Co-Curricular Record initiative.

Imagine you're a Girl Guide or a Scout. You've mastered another skill, aced another activity or completed another requirement. You know what's coming.

"It's that concept of badges," Mark Wall, Academic Chair for Student Retention, says of SAIT's soon-to-be-launched Co-Curricular Record (CCR) initiative.

"People love to work toward a badge and realize they've accomplished something. It's an organization saying, 'Hey, you've learned something here. Good on you.' This is really the modern equivalent of badges."

CCR, which will launch through My Career Hub at the end of January, is SAIT's first attempt to officially acknowledge student activities outside of the classroom. As Wall notes, it will offer students badges of sorts for activities such as memberships in clubs and associations, volunteering and tutoring.

The goal is to produce industry-accepted documents which recognize work in the SAIT community that graduating students can then use to stand out during those inevitable job hunts.

"On a resume, if someone lists their co-curricular activities, usually there's not a number you can call to find out if a person actually did that," says Wall, who has been a driving force behind the initiative.

"But if SAIT says the students were involved, that's a powerful little piece of proof that they are a person who invests in their community."

As many as 60 post-secondary institutions in Canada have already implemented, or plan to implement, the CCR program, says Wall.

Student involvement on campus makes sense

Joseph Mathieu, for one, likes what he's hearing.

The third-year student, who is enrolled in the Bachelor of Science Construction Project Management program, is president of the Construction Project Management Students' Association, one of 12 clubs already CCR-approved by SAIT and SAITSA validators.

"It's a good system," says Mathieu. "It's nice to have it on the transcript to show what we're doing and how it's directly transferable to my academic skills. It's got a bit of credibility to it.

"Definitely much needed."

Mathieu says he took on a leadership role within the club to facilitate his growth both in and outside of the classroom.

"It's a diverse thing," he says about the extra-curricular work. "On one side, there's the personal development and professional growth. On the other side, I recognized that we can do more for the students in our program. I would encourage everyone to do it."

Support from faculty and staff is key

"Faculty and staff will have key roles to play in CCR's success, whether that's suggesting activities, registering as validators or signing off on students' participation," says Erin Findlay, Student Employment and Career Services coordinator, who will oversee the program.

But she's also quick to point out that employee engagement is not labour heavy. It's actually something they're likely already doing.

Instead, it's just a more formal process. Suggesting a registered activity and/or becoming a validator takes less than five minutes. Confirming students' activities is a one-click process.

"The program is fully automated, so it's fairly simple to register and validate (students' participation) — it is literally the click of a button," says Findlay.

"It isn't going to be a huge time commitment."

Moving forward

Findlay encourages SAIT staff and faculty to visit My Career Hub to suggest a current activity on campus be CCR registered. The goal is to have 50 registered activities in the system by the end of January.

Current SAIT Students are encouraged to visit Student Employment and Career Centre to learn how they can get involved in co-curricular activities.

"I think very quickly we'll begin to gain momentum on campus," says Wall.