Professional Planning and Development
Proposed Strategy for Undergraduate Programs in the
College of Biological Science
Developed April 2017
Develop a multi-pronged approach to enhance student professional planning and development within undergraduate programs in the College of Biological Science (CBS). Here, professional planning refers to deliberate consideration of one’s educational goals and development of attributes and experiences that align with post-graduate aspirations.
Over the years CBS has focused on providing our students with the disciplinary content and technical skills needed to be successful in their field of study. While the disciplinary content is key we have come to recognize the value and need to incorporate an emphasis on transferable skills, program planned self-reflection, and preparation for life after graduation.
CBS recognizes the value of professional planning to the students, the discipline and the degree. As such CBS has explicitly stated professional planning and preparation as a learning outcome of the B.Sc. and therefore for all majors offered by CBS.
B.Sc. Learning Outcome A.3. Professional and Ethical Behaviour
- Demonstrate personal and professional integrity by respectfully considering diverse points of view ad the intellectual contributions of others, and by demonstrating a commitment to honesty and equity, and awareness of sustainability, in scientific practice and society at large.
- Collaborate effectively as part of a team by demonstrating mutual respect, leadership, and an ability to set goals and manage tasks and timelines.
- Plan for professional growth and personal development within and beyond the undergraduate program.
Our graduates have been successfully transitioned into all professional programs and graduate studies, as well into careers for non-for-profit and for profit industries and are successful business owners and entreprenuerers. Even with that, CBS recognizes it must be more explicit and purposeful in educating and preparing our students for a wide diversity of careers.
In addition to the development of discipline-specific knowledge and skills, a strategy for improving student outcomes and satisfaction requires guided opportunities for educational and professional development as part of the undergraduate program.
Key elements of the CBS Professional Planning and Development Strategy include:
- Identify of a set of transferable, professionally oriented skills and attributes, which are introduced and developed throughout the undergraduate program.
- Adopt a digital platform for students to reflect on and communicate their skills and accomplishments.
- Incorporate opportunities within CBS programs for students to reflect on their own attributes and accomplishments, plan their academic path, and align it with their post-graduate goals.
- Offer opportunities, within and outside of the curriculum, to assist in meeting post-graduate goals. This may include promoting awareness of existing resources and facilitating special events, workshops or tutorials.
- Ensure at least one experiential/leadership activity is available within all CBS majors.
- Adopt a system for communicating with and tracking student outcomes throughout the degree and after graduation.
- Develop and implement a system for soliciting feedback from students and their employers about their preparation for their chosen post-graduate path.
There were a number of opportunities and intitaitives that helped CBS define it's career ready strategy:
- B.Sc. Curriculum Mapping – identified opporuntities within our curriculum to inject professional development
- Internal Quality Assurance Reviews – highlighted the needs of our students, faculty and staff for an increase in experiential learning and opportunities to provide ongoing feedback
- Provincial & University strategic mandate to enhanced experiential learning within post-secondary institutions
- Experiential Learning (EL) Course Inventory completed within CBS – revealed opportunities to develop EL courses within our curriculum
- Student Survey on extra-curricular involvement
Four College-wide Initiatives have been established to promote career readiness in our programs and our students
- Workshops on professional conduct and integrity in 1st year biology (Code of Conduct Module)
- Introductory Skills Assessment in 1st year biology (Skills Assessment Module)
- 2nd year non-credit Career Ready course (currently offered as a resource on CourseLink)
- 3rd year ‘Internship in Biological Science ’ (BIOL*3660) course available to all CBS students
- Surveys for tracking student development and placements after graduation