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Professional Masters Seminar: Topics in Food and Resource Economics
FRE 520
Instructor: Kelleen Wiseman
Office: MCML 329
Office Hours:
Class Schedule: Fri 3:30-5:30 pm Term 1&2
Classroom: MCML 160
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion


Class Times: Friday 3:00 pm to 5:00pm Term 1 and 2

Class Schedule: Check the MFRE Weekly Online Schedule for updates.

Classroom: MCML 160 (unless noted otherwise)

UBC Canvas: All course content and grading materials should be uploaded via Canvas


This course provides a seminar speaker series where students advance their knowledge of the real world applications, trends and practices within the food, resource and environment sector. During the seminars, students gain a view of how the MFRE applied policy, business and economic models and techniques are utilized within this sector. In addition, students are encouraged to observe the different seminar presentation styles and gain knowledge of how to interact with speakers professionally.


Instructor: Kelleen Wiseman, MBA, PhD MCML 329,

Co‐Instructor: Olivier Ntwali, MFRE MCML 348A,


The schedule will vary depending on the availability of the guest speakers. Please check the following for speaker and topic information.

  • Check the MFRE Weekly Online Schedule for updates
  • Course Canvas page


Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to:

Food and Resource Sector Knowledge:

  • Identify key issues, trends, challenges and opportunities faced by government and business in the food, resource and environment sector.
  • Describe and illustrate how the models/techniques covered in the MFRE courses can be used to analyze issues, opportunities and problems in this food, resource and environment sector.
  • Describe the balance between knowledge gain and critical assessment that must be applied when listening to speaker content/topics.

Communication and Professional Development:

  • Develop and pose respectful, value‐added, and professional level questions to speakers.
  • Identify and demonstrate professional behaviour (i.e., engagement, contribution, and respectful/ courteous conduct) that is relevant to business and academic settings.
  • Describe best practices for presentations including areas of slide content, verbal style, structure, and Q/A management.


Course materials: Posted on the Canvas page.

The major themes for the seminar topics include

  • Food and Agribusiness: Topics include trade policy, global commodity markets, food production, agri‐banking, social enterprise, impact investment, vertical farming.
  • Resource and Environment: Topics include government policies, fisheries, climate change, carbon tax, trade, green house gas and the environment, agri‐ food policy, conservation, pollution control, innovation, and sustainability.
  • Business: Topics include food processing, wholesaling/export, venture capital managers, supply chains, sustainability requirements, artificial intelligence, and agri‐tech.


Grade Allocation Deliverable
25% Professionalism (Terms 1 & 2)
25% Questions for Speakers (Terms 1 & 2): Please submit questions for each seminar
15% Assignments 1: Due at end of each Term (Date on Canvas)
15% Assignments 2: Due at end of each Term (Date on Canvas)
20% Best Practices Guide and Application for Presentations: Due at end of Term 2

(Date on Canvas)


*Exams: There are no exams for this course



Professionalism includes:

  • Attend all seminars: Attendance at all seminars is mandatory. However, in order to provide flexibility, students can miss one class per term without justification and without losing points, but you must email Olivier Ntwali, Academic Program Manager, to let him know you will miss the class. If students miss more than one class per term, this will impact the overall grade. If you must miss the seminar due to illness or other unexpected events, follow the regular MFRE protocol.
  • Demonstrate good preparation: Review assigned reading material, examine their own knowledge base (information, expertise, biases, critiques) of the speaker’s topic, and consider what information they would like to know about the topic.
  • Develop a pre‐seminar question and complete survey (if applicable): Complete questions/survey on Canvas by the deadline (Wed 8pm before each seminar). Those questions will be shared with the invited speakers, and you may be called upon to present the question. Be ready!
  • Engage in Seminar and Discussion: Participate as an active and engaged listener, encourage others to ask questions and share view/ideas, and question others in a constructive way.
  • Demonstrate professional conduct: Students are required to act in a professional manner during the workshops. Professional behaviors include focused attention, no cell phone viewing, no working/viewing/typing on your laptop (unless you need it for the seminar), showing up for class on time, and not walking in and out of the classroom during seminar.

Grading Rubric for Professionalism:

Proficient (>80 grade) Competent (70 to 80 grade) Novice (<70 grade)
Engagement Actively and respectfully listens

to peers and speaker.

Actively participates at

appropriate times.

Ready to ask pre‐ defined

question or a new one

Sometimes displays lack of

interest in comments of


Comments sometimes

advance the conversation,

but sometimes do little to

move it forward.

Questions are sourced from

personal rather than

academic knowledge.

Displays lack of interest

or disrespect for others.

Seldom participates

and is generally not


No questions and not

sure what to ask from

their own pre‐defined


Preparation Arrives fully prepared with all

assigned readings completed,

questions provided on Canvas, and

notes on reading, observations,


Sometimes arrives unprepared

or with only superficial


Exhibits little evidence of

having read or thought

about assigned material.



Is mentally and physically

present and continues to focus

on the presentation.

Arrives on time.

Dresses casual/professionally.

Actively listens and participates.

Speaks loudly enough when

asking questions.

Attentive to speaker.

Computer and cell phones not

used during presentation.

Sometimes participates but

at other times is “tuned


Mostly arrives on time.

Sometimes listens and

participates but not always

attentive to speaker.

Talks to others and uses

computer/cell phones

occasionally during talk.

Seems distracted or

working on other course


Arrives late regularly.

Talks to others and uses

cell phone/computers

during the presentation.

Attendance Attends seminars and if needs to

miss one seminar‐ emails


Misses more than 1 seminars

and generally emails to

communicate why and when

they will be missing seminars.

Misses more than 2

seminars and does not

communicate why and

when they will be missing

seminars. Missing a

seminar without reason

generates a 3% deduction.


Students are asked to read all assigned materials and submit two value‐added questions prior to the seminar. A value-added question is one that generates an answer that brings value to the conversation and encourages the speaker to share their expertise and knowledge of the sector. Questions will be shared with the invited speakers, and students may be called upon to present their question. Be ready!

Deadline and Policy for Submitting Questions

Complete questions/survey on Canvas by the deadline (Wed 8pm before each seminar). Late submissions will NOT be accepted. There are no do‐overs or extra credit for make up for missed deadlines with the exceptions for illness.

Contact Olivier Ntwali, Academic Program Manager, if you missed the question submission deadline due to illness.

Grading Rubric for Questions for Speakers:

1 Point: Satisfactory 0.5 Points: Adequate 0 Points: Poor
Quality of



Satisfactory as it contains

characteristics of a quality


Will generate discussion

Uses readings as a base for


Questions presented in a

clear and concise manner.

Adequate, but needs details

and grammar edits

Comments/ questions

sometimes irrelevant,

reveals lack of preparation,

or indicate lack of attention

to previous remarks of other


Comments/ questions

reflect little

understanding of either

the assignment or

previous remarks in


Questions generate yes,

no, or previously covered


Guidelines for Developing Quality Questions for the MFRE Seminar Series

Consider hidden assumptions you may make in your question. The intent of asking questions should be to learn and understand, rather than to point out predetermined assumptions on a topic. Remember that you do not yet have all the information on a topic, so it’s best to ask questions out of curiosity, not judgment.

  • Don’t: Why would the city issue a policy that benefits large corporations but not small businesses?
  • Do: How might the policy affect large corporations and small businesses?

Consider asking open‐ended questions, rather than closed questions.

  • Don’t: Closed questions can be answered with a yes or no, and typically start with “Do/Does, Is/Are, Can, Should, Will, …”
  • Do: Open questions lead to more discussion and context. They usually start with “Who, what, when, where, and how”

Try to be specific when asking a question.

  • Don’t: What makes a successful employee in your company?
  • Do: For recent grads looking to work in your company/industry, what skills are crucial for us to succeed in the early stages of our career?

Consider adding short context if your question is vague.

  • Don’t: How did COVID‐19 impact the company?
  • Do: How has COVID‐19 impacted the company? For example, did they have to change their business model entirely?

Consider the tone of the question. If you disagree on an issue, make sure to attack the problem and not the person. Speak about facts, use readings, or course materials, and don’t attack the speaker or the agency personally.

  • Don’t: Do you believe that the carbon offset incentive is a form or regulatory capture by farmers in Quebec to protect their own interests at the expense of the province’s other residents?
  • Do: Which stakeholder group(s) benefits the most from the carbon offset incentive structure, and alternatively, which stakeholder group(s) are most disadvantaged by the carbon offset incentive?”

Consider providing questions that will generate discussion and bring in the expertise of the speaker. Don’t submit small or limited information‐only questions.

  • Don’t: What is the most interesting part of your job? What is your educational background?
  • Do: What has been you career path from education to the current position? And what are the reasons and sector characteristics you found most interesting during your career?


You are required to complete one assignment for each term. The assignment should include the following parts:

List: Speaker and date

Describe: 3 to 5 sentence description that summarizes the talk and company/agency.

Define Sector: Ex; public, private, food, environment, agribusiness.

Classify: The MFRE program has 3 pillars – Economics, Business, and Policy. Define pillar is this talk connected to and describe how did you determine this to be the case?

Consulting: Place yourself in the role of a consultant for the organization and provide the following:

  • Select and describe a model/tool from your MFRE courses that you would use to critically assess or apply to the organization (or the opportunity, trend or problem they face).
  • Describe why this model/tool was selected.
  • Apply the model/tool and provide a summary of the results and recommendations. You do not need to gather external data or information – just use the speaker information.

The specific dates and details will be provided on Canvas.


This assignment consists of two parts:

Part 1 Best Practices Guide:

This guide should be developed using the knowledge gained from the seminar speaker presentations (Term 1 and Term 2) and the FRE 547 workshops and will be used to guide your future presentations. You should make the guide specific for your own set of requirements.

The guide should cover the following presentation elements (to varying degrees depending upon your own requirements):

  • Slide Content and Design
  • Delivery and Timeliness
  • Answering Questions
  • Organization and Flow

Part 2 Assessment:

Using your Best Practices Guide, complete a brief critique and create a revised version of one of your MFRE presentations. This will allow you to present a “before and after” view of your presentation and really use your guide to assist in that revision. Revisions can be made to

  • A slide deck ( before and after)
  • A verbal presentation (you may not have a before version for this – but you can record the after version using Zoom and upload the file or link).

The specific dates and details will be provided on Canvas.


Turn it In Access for MFRE Courses: All assignments/papers must be submitted to this service and similarity index reports reviewed. Turn it in Login (website) AND Student Guide to MFRE Student Guide To Setting Up And Using Turn It In on the Student Portal (website).

  • Use Class ID 3546663 and Enrollment Key 13669038 to access MFRE course folder, submit assignments/papers, and review similarity index reports.

Plagiarism: All incidences of plagiarism will be turned over to the MFRE Academic Director and managed via the MFRE program policies.


Respectfulness in the Classroom

Students are expected to be respectful of their colleagues at all times, including faculty, staff and peers. This means being attentive and conscious of words and actions and their impact on others, listening to people with an open mind, treating all MFRE community members equally and understanding diversity. Students who act disrespectfully toward others will be asked to leave the class and be marked as absent for the day. They may also be removed from a team, lose credit for in‐class assessments and activities, or be asked to complete a group assignment individually.

Respect for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The MFRE Program strives to promote an intellectual community that is enhanced by diversity along various dimensions including status as a First Nation, Métis, Inuit, or Indigenous person, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, political beliefs, social class, and/or disability. It is critical that students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives be valued in and well‐served by their courses. Furthermore, the diversity that students bring to the classroom should be viewed as a resource, benefit, and source of strength for your learning experience. It is expected that all students and members of our community conduct themselves with empathy and respect for others.

COVID‐19 Considerations

All students must assess themselves daily for COVID‐19 symptoms prior to coming to class. Please stay home if you exhibit symptoms or have tested positive for COVID‐19. A list of COVID‐19 symptoms can be found here . Use the BC Ministry of Health’s self‐assessment tool), to help determine whether further assessment or testing for COVID‐19 is recommended. Full UBC COVID‐19 Campus Rules can be found here . Note: Please stay home if you exhibit symptoms or have tested positive for COVID‐19 and immediately contact Olivier Ntwali, Academic Program Coordinator, your Course Instructor, and your Course Assistant.

Recordings and In‐Class Attendance

There is no required distribution of recordings of class. Recording will be provided based upon on the decision of the course instructor. Classes are designed as and are intended to be in‐person. Your attendance is expected. If you are unable to attend, the policy regarding missed classes described in the MFRE code of conduct and syllabus applies. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the materials you need for missed classes.

Plagiarism Penalties

Academic dishonesty and plagiarism are taken very seriously in the MFRE program. All incidences of plagiarism will be escalated to the MFRE Academic Director. Incidences of academic misconduct may result in a reduction of grade, a mark of zero on the assignment/exams of concern, failing the course or program, escalation/referral to the Dean’s office and/or President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline, and/or expulsion from UBC. Note: If a MFRE student is required to extend his/her program due to failed course or unsatisfactory progress, they will need to pay the full MFRE tuition fees for that term(s) regardless of the number of courses that need to be retaken. It is each student’s responsibility to review and understand what constitutes academic dishonesty and plagiarism and how to avoid them. Review MFRE Code of Conduct, UBC academic dishonesty policies/penalties and course‐specific policies.

Turn it In Access for MFRE Courses: Internet‐based plagiarism detection service

Turn it in has been set up for MFRE courses. Submit all assignments/papers to this service and review similarity index reports. Turn it in Login (website). For instructions: See the Student Guide to MFRE Student Guide To Setting Up And Using Turn It In on the Student Portal (website.). Use provided Class ID and Enrollment Key to access MFRE course folder, submit assignments/papers, and review similarity index reports.

Working with Others on an Assignment

You are encouraged to work with other students, but you must turn in your own individual assignment. If you have an answer that is too close to another student’s answer, this will be considered academic dishonest, and this will be managed according to the MFRE and UBC policies.

Missing Classes

Students are expected to attend all classes, labs, or workshops. If you cannot make it to a class, lab, or workshop due to a medical or personal emergency, please email your instructor, your course assistant, and Olivier Ntwali, MFRE Program Coordinator ahead of time to let them know. Students who miss classes regularly without a reasonable excuse may be subject to MFRE‐imposed penalties at the discretion of the Academic Director.

Centre for Accessibility

The Centre for Accessibility (CFA) facilitates disability‐related accommodations and programming initiatives designed to remove barriers for students with disabilities and ongoing medical conditions. If you are registered with the CfA and are eligible for exam accommodations, it is your responsibility to let Olivier Ntwali, Academic Program Coordinator, and each of your Course Instructors know. You should book your exam writing with the CFA using its exam reservation system: for midterm exams or quizzes, at least 7 days in advance; and final exams, 7 days before the start of the formal exam period.


All materials of this course (i.e., course handouts, lecture slides, assessments, course readings) are the intellectual property of the instructor or licensed to be used in this course by the copyright owner. Redistribution of these materials by any means without permission of the copyright holder(s) constitutes a breach of copyright and may lead to academic discipline and could be subject to legal action. Any lecture recordings are for the sole use of the instructor and students enrolled in the class. In no case may the lecture recording, or part of the recording be used by students for any other purpose, either personal or commercial. Further, audio or video recording of classes are not permitted without the prior consent of the instructor.


Academic dishonesty and plagiarism are taken very seriously in the MFRE program and can result in a range of punitive measures, which could include failing the program. It is each student’s responsibility to review and understand what constitutes academic dishonesty and plagiarism and how to avoid them.

Academic honesty is essential to the continued functioning of UBC as an institution of higher learning and research. All UBC students are expected to behave as honest and responsible members of an academic community. Breach of those expectations or failure to follow the appropriate policies, principles, rules, and guidelines of the University with respect to academic honesty may result in disciplinary action.

Academic misconduct that is subject to disciplinary measures includes, but is not limited, to the following:

  • Plagiarism, which is intellectual theft, occurs where an individual submits or presents the oral or written work of another person as his or her own. In many UBC courses, you will be required to submit material in electronic form. The electronic material will be submitted to a service which UBC subscribes, called TurnItIn. This service checks textual material for originality. It is increasingly used in North American universities. For more information, review TurnItIn website online.
  • Cheating, which may include, but is not limited to falsification of any material subject to academic evaluation, unauthorized collaborative work; or use of unauthorized means to complete an examination.
  • Submitting others work as your own, may include but not limited to i. using, or attempting to use, another student’s answers; ii. providing answers to other students; iii.  failing to take reasonable measures to protect answers from use by other students; or iv. in the case of students who study together, submitting identical or virtually identical assignments for evaluation unless permitted by the course instructor.
  • Resubmission of Material, submitting the same, or substantially the same, essay, presentation, or assignment more than once (whether the earlier submission was at this or another institution) unless prior approval has been obtained from the instructor(s) to whom the assignment is to be submitted.
  • Use of academic ghostwriting services, including hiring of writing or research services and submitting papers or assignments as his or her own.

Student Responsibility: Students are responsible for informing themselves of the guidelines of acceptable and non-acceptable conduct for examinations and graded assignments as presented via FRE code of conduct guidelines; course syllabus and instructors; and UBC academic misconduct policies, Review the following web sites for details:

Penalties for Academic Dishonesty: The integrity of academic work depends on the honesty of all those who work in this environment and the observance of accepted conventions. Academic misconduct is treated as a serious offence at UBC and within the MFRE program. Penalties for academic dishonesty are applied at the discretion of the course instructor. Incidences of academic misconduct may result in a reduction of grade or a mark of zero on the assignment or examination with more serious consequences being applied if the matter is referred to the Dean’s office and/or President’s Advisory Committee on Student Discipline. Note: If a student needs to extend his/her program due to a failed course or unsatisfactory progress, they will have to pay the full MFRE tuition fees for that term/s.

Resources: Review the following:

UBC Policies of Academic Honesty:

  • UBC Academic Misconduct and Discipline (website.)
  • UBC Learning Commons web‐based Academic Integrity (website)

Turn it In Access for MFRE Courses:

  • Turn it in Login (website) and Student Guide to MFRE Student Guide To Setting Up And Using Turn It In on the Student Portal (website)

Citing Sources:

  • UBC Learning Commons Citation Resource (website)
  • Purdue Lab How to Cite Sources (website)


  • Purdue University Plagiarism Overview (website)
  • SFU Avoiding plagiarism (website)