All SCARP faculty members are responsible for advising Master of Community and Regional Planning (MCRP) students. On average, full-time SCARP faculty members advise three new MCRP students per year and cross-appointed faculty advise two new students per year. SCARP faculty members advise MCRP students in relation to the following:
1. Course planning
Incoming MCRP students are assigned to Faculty Advisors during the summer preceding initial registration, based on students’ substantive planning interests expressed in their written statements. Faculty Advisors are expected to advise students on course planning throughout their program at SCARP, based on students’ interests and career objectives. Faculty Advisors conduct formal course planning sessions with students at the start of each term, to develop a customized concentration in a dimension of planning that is selected by the student. Other meetings are encouraged as need arises. The majority of courses are taken at SCARP, though Faculty Advisors also encourage students (when appropriate) to consider courses in other departments.
Students are free to consult with their Faculty Advisors at any time during the year. Faculty Advisors are expected to have basic knowledge of courses offered in the semester.
MCRP students are required to complete an Internship, which they typically choose to do during the summer after their first year of coursework at SCARP. Students are required to obtain their own internship with the assistance of the Student Development Coordinator. Faculty Advisors provide Internship advising for their assigned students in the following ways:
- Working with students to determine educational objectives, appropriate experiences, and the expectations for the student during the project in consultation with the agency;
- Advising students on organizations for the student to contact or internship directions to pursue;
- Discussing with the student their professional and academic objectives;
- Approving the student’s choice of placement;
- Helping the student to develop an Internship Agreement that integrates their professional and academic goals with those of the Internship project;
- Reviewing project status reports, including (1) a mid-term Evaluation from the agency that evaluates the student’s performance to that point; (2) a final planning report (or as otherwise described in the Internship Agreement) from the student at the end of the internship that satisfies the academic standards of UBC; (3) an Internship Final Evaluation from the agency that evaluates the student’s performance; and (4) a Post-Internship Assessment from the student that evaluates the experience;
- Assigning a Pass or Fail mark to the student's Internship after assessment of the student's internship output (s), Agency Supervisor’s Mid-Term and Final Internship assessment forms and student self-assessment, and/or in consultation with the host agency.
3. Capstone Project or Portfolio
Even though the student’s Capstone Project is considered an independent research project, their Capstone Project is supervised by their assigned Faculty Advisor. Faculty Advisors advise students regarding all phases of the Capstone, including which Capstone option to pursue:
- For the Capstone Project option, the Faculty Advisor advises on topic selection, project design, data collection and analysis, and finalizing the report.
- For the Capstone Portfolio option, the Faculty Advisor advises on the selection, representation and synthesis of course outputs and the development of the portfolio narrative.
Students are expected to meet with their Faculty Advisor in their second year to discuss their Capstone topic and format. This procedure is formalized by completing a Capstone Selection form. The Faculty Advisor must indicate their agreement to oversee the Capstone by signing the student's Capstone form. The form and outline (as appropriate; one page is adequate) must be submitted to the Graduate Administrator to initiate registration in the Capstone course, PLAN 528A.
Students submit a final copy of their Capstone to their Faculty Advisor by the set deadline and a grade is communicated to the Graduate Administrator for the student’s academic record.
4. Paid research assistance
SCARP faculty members may sometimes hire MCRP students to serve as research assistants for faculty research projects. Working closely under faculty member supervision, students gain paid work experience, training in professional planning research and consulting work, and connections with local planning agencies that can lead to employment opportunities after graduation. There is no guarantee of research assistantships for students, as the number of positions depends on faculty funding. Students often hold research assistantships with faculty members who are not their Advisors.
Students are expected to stay with their Faculty Advisor throughout the program. In rare circumstances, a student who needs to change to another Advisor should discuss the change with their assigned Advisor and secure the approval of the new Advisor before consulting with the MCRP Program Chair for final approval. Once the change is approved by the MCRP Program Chair, the student should notify the Graduate Administrator.
Expectations of Advisors
- Faculty Advisors will post office hours at the start of each academic year both by their office and online;
- Faculty Advisors will respond to student queries in a reasonable amount of time;
- Faculty Advisors will notify students if unable to attend a scheduled meeting, and will reschedule in a timely manner.
If Faculty Advisors do not respond to student queries within a reasonable amount of time, then students should contact the Chair of the MCRP program.
In addition to advising provided by Faculty Advisors, the Chair of the MCRP program and the SCARP Director are available for formal and informal discussions of an academic, professional, or personal nature.
Students shall be responsible for knowing the requirements of their program as presented on the SCARP website, including capstone, internship and other information presented in course outlines. Students shall also take responsibility for contacting their advisors and seeking their guidance on course, internship and capstone selections.
This document is open for periodic review to ensure that student and advisor expectations are being met.