For BBA student Kayla Cunningham, being the first Employment Relations major who will graduate with the co-op option has afforded her some very interesting work placements.
I joined the co-op program because I always wanted to see other places and meet new people,” she said.
And experiencing the two aspects of business—classroom and real-world—was very valuable. Co-operative education at Acadia University consists of three 4-month terms, which need not be at the same company. Kayla’s first two terms proved to be a front-row seat at Nexen Energy in Fort McMurray as it transitioned to its new owners, the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). Sale of Nexen garnered national and even international attention.
CNOOC held culture workshops for a month on the feedback loop and the values of the new company. It was all linked to the performance metrics that were put in place by Nexen leaders, Kayla said. For an employment relations major, witnessing the organizational change of Nexen to a wholly owned subsidiary of CNOOC was fascinating.
Kayla’s second placement was at the Halifax Regional Police, which was reevaluating how their cadet school was run. She worked mainly on the recruitment and procedural aspect.
It was all about making the procedure more inclusive, she said.
We had to make sure we were reaching out to communities that might not have had the same opportunities as others. At this point, her employment relations training inspired her to recommend changing the diversity statement of the entire Halifax Regional Municipality, not just the Halifax Regional Police. Her recommendation is under consideration by HRM.
When we were putting the Employment Relations major together several years ago, we hoped for students who could make a real contribution in shaping their institutions through values such as equity and diversity, said Dr. Jim Grant, one of the designers of the ER major.
For us, Kayla’s work exemplifies our vision, and more. Formal acknowledgement of Kayla’s efforts came with her winning the Lois Vallely-Fischer Award for Democratic Student Citizenship, which
recognizes the contributions of a senior baccalaureate student who has contributed to the quality of democratic discourse, critical thought, and legitimate contestation in campus or community life, and who has demonstrated leadership in defending student political rights and the interests of disadvantaged groups.
About the Manning School
Founded in 1957, the Manning School at Acadia University is home to over 600 students from over 20 countries. With 23 faculty members from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds, the Manning School offers small classes that encourage concentrated interaction between students and faculty. Our students have opportunities to learn outside the classroom through co-op placements, projects with local enterprises, and international exchanges. Firmly rooted in a rich institutional legacy that personifies the very essence of a liberal education, the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) program at Acadia is challenging and flexible, allowing students to explore a broad range of interests and producing well-rounded graduates who are well-positioned to pursue varied professional opportunities. As testimony, our graduates work in leadership roles across Canada and around the globe, with many having made their Acadia BBA degree a pathway to prestigious graduate programs.