Summer 2023 - IAT 888 G100

Special Topics VIII (3)

Proposal Writing

Class Number: 4568

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 5:00 PM – 7:50 PM
    SRYC 2990, Surrey



Course Description

Why write proposals? Proposals are written to make things happen: to start a business, to raise funds, to solicit work, to support research, to win a place on a conference program, to apply to graduate school, to start a program, to change the way an organization does things. This course will teach you how to write proposals that work. You will learn to develop strategies for turning situations into occasions for making proposals; write a variety of proposal types; locate Request for Proposals (RFP) and develop a plan for responding; develop a work plan for feasible projects that come in on-time and on-budget; develop and use networks to strengthen proposals; detail a budget; and edit for clarity and grace. Students have an opportunity to write a conference proposal followed by two proposals of their own choosing and to make three oral presentations.


We will meet in person on the Surrey Campus on Tuesday evenings.  Individual meetings outside of class will be held using Zoom.

Academic Integrity

Claiming someone else's work as your own is a serious breach of the conventions governing the intellectual integrity. If you turn in work for an assignment that is not substantially your own and/or that is not properly credited, you will fail the assignment. In general, all assignments in this course are expected to be completed individually.

In some cases, you may decide that it is appropriate for you to collaborate on a proposal with someone else in the course because of common interests or the scope of the work required. To do so, permission of the instructor is required. In some cases, it is appropriate for you to list someone outside the course as a co-author on a proposal. You should do so in the following circumstances:
  • the coauthor has done substantial work developing the proposal ideas either with you or prior to your work; 
  • the coauthor represents the organization on whose behalf you are writing the proposal
  • the coauthor has written parts of the proposal 
In any case, because you are completing this work as part of a writing course, you are expected to do the majority of planning and writing in a proposal, using a coauthor's input only as a starting point. If you use any text written by a coauthor, please submit this text along with your own text.

The following will be judged as plagiarism in this course and subject to the penalities above:
  • using a coauthor's work without listing the coauthor on the proposal;
  • listing yourself as an author on a proposal which is not substantially your own;
  • borrowing the words of another author without properly assigning credit. 

Attendance Requirements

We use class time to introduce and review importance concepts related to proposal writing, to complete exercises to sharpen analytic ability, to work on writing, to discuss proposal writing experiences, and to listen to each other's presentations. Use each of the 12 classes and 3 individual conferences we have this semester wisely. Missing 2 or more classes or 1 or more conferences is grounds for failing the course.  

Revision Requirements

All major writing assignments in this course (conference proposal, unsolicited proposal, and solicited proposal) must be drafted and revised following comments from the instructor. If you fail to make significant revision, you will not receive a grade for the assignment. Significant revision does not mean "doing everything you're told". Significant revision means doing a thorough review and reworking of an assignment until it meets your best standards. This may involve not following some pieces of advice, taking other pieces of advice, and even going beyond any advice you have received as you see work that needs to be done


You will learn to:

  • turn situations into occasions for making proposals;
  • write a variety of proposal types;
  • locate Request for Proposals (RFP) and develop a plan for responding;
  • develop a work plan for feasible projects that come in on-time and on-budget;
  • develop and use networks to strengthen proposals;
  • detail a budget; and
  • edit for clarity and grace.


  • *Draft Conference Proposal 0%
  • Revised Conference Proposal 9%
  • *Draft Unsolicited Proposal 0%
  • Revised Unsolicited Proposal 20%
  • *Draft Solicited Proposal 0%
  • Revised Solicited Proposal 25%
  • Request for Proposal (RFP) Presentation 8%
  • Final Proposal Presentation 9%
  • ***Green Team Review 0%
  • **Style Exercises 20%
  • ***Self Assessment 0%
  • ***Conference Proposal Conference 0%
  • ***Unsolicited Proposal Concept Paper & Conference 0%
  • ***Solicited Proposal Concept Paper & Conference 0%
  • Field Report 9%


Extension are given without penalty only if arranged for in advance.

All assignments are due by 9am on the Monday morning.

* Drafts marked with * are required before the revised version will be graded.
** Assignments marked with ** will receive an earned value as follows: Excellent √+ (2.5), Good √ (2), Incomplete √- (1) or Missing 0 (0).
*** Assignments marked as *** are Pass/No credit.  Missing 1 or more conferences is grounds for failing the course.


 Self Assessment

What has been your prior experience with proposal writing or writing more generally? What do you see as your strengths going into the course? What would you like to be able to do as a result of taking the course?

Individual Conference on Conference Proposal

Come with one or more possible conference Calls for Proposals to which you are thinking of responding and some idea of what you might propose.

Conference Proposal

Locate a call for participation/papers/proposals/presentations/submissions at a conference in an area in which you might have something to contribute. Choose a call that requires a submission of no more than 4 pages (not including references).  Draft a proposal submission in response, making sure to follow the directions completely. Include the URL at the bottom of your proposal.  

Unsolicited Concept Paper

Layout your initial ideas about the topic, some background on the situation, preliminary baseline logic (problem, proposal, benefits), and contact list.

Unsolicited Proposal

Write an unsolicited proposal in response to a situation that you believe could be improved and on which you propose to take part in improving. Some possibilities include an internal proposal, a business plan, a dissertation/research proposal, a book proposal, a grad school application, or a community group proposal.

RFP Comparison

Locate two RFPs (Requests for Proposals) in an area you are considering. Prepare a 10-minute slide presentation comparing the RFP from the point of view of someone looking for an RFP to respond to. Your RFP comparison should be: · well organized · contain appropriate content and details · include careful analysis · be well-done, rehearsed, clear, lively, and on-time · convey the "big picture" · provide a useful resource for the future

Solicited Concept Paper

Provide me with a brief description of the topic, preliminary baseline logic (problem, proposal, benefits), RFP with URL.

Field Report

Locate someone who has written the kind of proposal you are interested in. Get a copy of a proposal they have written. Analyze its features and logic. Interview them about a) the process, b) the outcome, and c) the significance. Make a 10 minute presentation to us on: · Who & why you choose them · The proposal, its baseline logic and other interesting features · The process · The outcome · Significance to the writer ·       Your reflections

Solicited Proposal

Write an solicited proposal in response to an RFP you have found.

Proposal Presentation

Make a 10 minute presentation to us as if we were your Green Team. Be prepared to handle tough questions afterwards.



"Style:  Ten Lessons in Clarity & Grace" by Joseph M. Williams, Ira B. Nadel; (any edition); Pearson Canada
ISBN: 9780321248091


"Writing Winning Business Proposals"  by Richard Freed, Shervin Freed, Joe Romano; (Kindle edition or paperback, any edition); McGraw-Hill Education ISBN: 9780071742320

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.