Senior Portfolio Assessment

In the semester just before graduation, each senior in the English B.A. program is required to assemble and submit a portfolio of five papers written in upper-level program courses. 

Creating a portfolio of your best work allows you to reflect on your progress and learning. It also ensures that you have a collection of potential writing samples, which you may need to submit for full-time or freelance employment, graduate school application, writing workshop entry, and other professional situations. 

Creating Your Portfolio

In order to have a wide selection of papers to choose from for your senior portfolio, be sure to keep and back up the electronic file of each paper you write as  you proceed through your program courses.  The department will keep your portfolio, so be sure that you do not submit your only copy of a paper.

Each semester, make sure you keep a clean printed copy of each paper in additional to an electronic file.  Your portfolio should contain unmarked printed copies rather than graded copies with your instructor's marks and comments.

Choosing Papers

Your portfolio should include five papers written for 300- or 400-level literature or English courses. These should be out-of-class essays, not in-class writing or take-home exam answers. You must include at least one paper from LITR 416.
Choose papers that analyze or interpret literary works, examine cultural or historical influences on language or literature, and apply a particular critical/theoretical approach to a written work. Make sure at least one paper incorporates secondary source information. 

Presenting a paper to Faculty

Submitting a portfolio and presenting one paper to faculty is a requirement for graduation from the program.

The semester you graduate, you will choose one of your papers to present at an informal gathering attended by other senior students, their guests, and members of the English B.A. faculty. You may invite one or two professors or fellow students as your guests.

This 15-20 minute presentation allows you to share your insights about literature and language with your professors and colleagues. It also helps soon-to-be graduates practice their presentation and communication skills as preparation for situations such as job interviews, graduate school interviews, and professional conferences.
Choose your favorite or most successful paper to present. Rather than read it word-for-word, provide an overview of your paper project and the literary work(s) it addresses. Your presentation should also outline your critical approach (for example, feminist, psychoanalytic, etc), key research sources, and major conclusions. After all the senior students have presented their papers, audience members may offer comments or ask questions to learn more about the presenters’ topics.