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Professional Communication Strategies and Graduating Project

Term 1: Class location and time: MCML 154 11:30am‐ 1pm

Term 2: Class location and time: TBA

Term 3 (Summer): Schedule will be available on the course blog.

Course Instructor: Kelleen Wiseman,

Course Coordinator: Gabrielle Menard,

Important registration information:

You do not need to register for the FRE 547 course through SSC during Term 1 or Term 2. You will register for the 6 credit FRE 547 course during Term 3.  

The course material can be found on the course blog: The password is: toolkit.

Course Description:

This course supports professional development and well‐rounded educational experience by applying classroom learning to relevant food and resource work environments. This support is provided via a series of professional development workshops and completion of a graduating project. 

The Graduating Project is an excellent stepping stone that helps mid‐career students transition to a new industry, or younger candidates to transition from an academic to a workplace environment. Graduates of the MFRE program will be employed in a variety of work environments from non‐government organization (NGO), to governments, to private firms. Some may even start their own companies. No matter where your career path takes you, the foundation skills (e.g. delivering presentations, project management, proposal development, business writing, multimedia data presentation, professional communication in the workplace) you obtain in the FRE 547 workshops will be beneficial for success in both the Graduating Project and in your career after MFRE.

Course Structure:

FRE 547 is comprised of two components:

  • Series of Professional Development Workshops: These workshops will be held over the three terms, Term 1 ‐ September to December, Term 2 ‐ January to April, Term 3 ‐ May to August). See course schedule on the course site for topics and timing details.
  • MFRE Graduating Project: The Graduating Project takes place during Term 3 (May 9th to August 22nd). Students are expected to work full‐time (35 – 40 hours per week) on their Graduating Project. Graduating Projects can take many forms, including an internship, consultancy project or an academic research project. Students can source internships and consultancy projects on their own or can apply to ones available via the MFRE program. The course coordinator will work with each student to develop a Graduating Project that matches students interest and skill set. Each student will be assigned a Faculty Supervisor by the MFRE course administrators. The Faculty Supervisor will provide academic supervision and assist with the project proposal development. In addition, depending on the nature of the graduating project, students may also have a Site Supervisor. The role of these supervisors is assist the student in attainment of goals and objectives co‐developed via the project proposal.

Course Learning Outcomes

By then end of this course, students will be able to:  

  • Demonstrate the use of effective writing techniques for different audiences
  • Compile an attractive job application (cover letter, resume, online profile)
  • Use different strategies to prepare for a job interview
  • Prepare and deliver an effective and engaging presentation
  • Providing effective and constructive feedback  
  • Apply academic skills developed during MFRE courses to real‐world problems and opportunities
  • Develop and implement a research/business project proposal to guide successful implementation of the graduating project
  • Identify, critique and select data sources and methodology relevant for a research/business project  
  • Conduct academic/business research using proper referencing techniques
  • Develop a succinct and comprehensive final report (or other relevant deliverables) based upon work completed via the graduating project   
  • Develop a project management plan to define tasks and timing to support successful completion of a research/business project.

Course Schedule

See Course blog for the most updated schedule. Workshop Topics:

  • Introduction & UBC academic setting
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Online library resources
  • Peer review session  
  • Effective presentation
  • Term 2 courses info session  
  • Resumes, cover letters & online profile
  • Academic writing
  • Proposal writing & methodology  
  • Job interviews


Grade Deliverable Due Date
10% Attendance and participation in FRE 547 classes Term 1 and Term 2
2% Presentations feedback exercise Term 1 and Term 2
5% Draft Graduating Project proposal and presentation January 12
3% Final Graduating Project proposal April 27
80% Graduating Project
  • Project Proposal 
  • Interim Progress Reports
  • Presentation of Final Project
  • Final Report & Progress
May 8 to August 21

Attendance and participation in FRE 547 classes

Attendance: Attendance is mandatory. The schedule for the FRE547 course schedule takes into consideration the MFRE exam periods. This means that there will be no class when we expect you to be focusing on exams.

Expectation of Participation: This is a hands‐on professional development course customized for our MFRE students and thus participation is important to the successful delivery of the material and the individual attainment of professional development skills. While we recognize that everyone has different levels of comfort when it comes to participation and engagement, we expect students to make the effort to participate in a value ‐added manner. A general description of value‐added participation includes:  

  • Demonstrates good preparation: knows reading material well, has thought through implications of them.
  • Comes well prepared with assignment completed and ready to present/share materials
  • Contributes well to discussion in an ongoing way: responds to other students’ points, allows others share ideas, encourages others to share their view/ideas, thinks through own points, questions others in a constructive way, and offers and supports suggestions that may be counter to the majority opinion.
  • Demonstrates consistent ongoing involvement.

Feedback Exercise

This exercise will teach students how to provide effective and constructive feedback, a skill that all professional need to develop and utilize. Specifically, students will:  

  • Receive feedback from their peers and use this to improve their presentation skills,  
  • Learn/Improve on how to receive feedback, and
  • Learn/Improve how to provide feedback. 

Students will be organized into small group and be required to give feedback on oral presentations those student conduct in the other FRE courses. Details will be provided on the workshop date.

Proposal Development Exercise

Students are required to write a project proposal based upon the research/business area where they would like to focus their graduating project. Examples of topics include consultancy project assessing insect meal for human food source, research project analyzing big data reviewing the relationship between soda tax and health outcomes, internship with City of Vancouver assessing the positive and negative factors associated with car share usage at a macro level, consultancy with Vancouver Farm Market Association reviewing pricing policies, or research project defining environmental benchmarking for social enterprises. The purpose of this exercise is to:  

  • Encourage students to explore and then target their interests for the Graduating Project  
  • Provide students with hand‐on experience in developing a project proposal.

Note that this is an expression of interest only and your graduating project and proposal will likely change over the term.

Graduating Project

  • Final Project Proposal
  • Interim Progress Report  
  • In person presentation to class
  • Final Report & Progress  

Note: Because the Graduating Project involves a full‐time commitment, students should not enroll in any courses during Term 3 other than FRE547, the only exception being if there was a course that was required for success in the Graduating Project and this course was approved by the student’s Faculty Supervisor by signing the approval form.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

All UBC students are expected to behave as honest and responsible members of an academic community. See the Vancouver Academic Calendar for more details.  The integrity of academic work depends on the honesty of all those who work in this environment and the observance of accepted conventions such as acknowledging the work of others through careful citation of all sources used in your work. Plagiarism ‐ including self‐plagiarism ‐ and other forms of academic misconduct are treated as serious offences at UBC, whether committed by faculty, staff or students. You should be aware of the sections of the University Calendar that address academic integrity and plagiarism ( The UBC library also has a useful web‐based Plagiarism Resource Centre that explains what plagiarism is and how to avoid it (‐regulation‐on‐plagiarism/).  In this course, you will be required to submit some 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 online.