Writing and Linguistics
College of Arts and Humanities

The Senior Portfolio

for a PDF of the Senior Portfolio requirements, click here.

Introduction

Congratulations, soon-to-be graduating senior!

Georgia Southern University’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), requires all departments at Georgia Southern University to assess continually their degree programs. For the degree in Writing and Linguistics, we assess the program by evaluating the student portfolios of graduating seniors.

Overview

To represent a major with multiple areas—creative writing, writing studies, linguistics, and professional and technical writing—the Department of Writing and Linguistics needs you to curate and submit a portfolio of texts or artifacts with an accompanying self-assessment narrative. The required texts demonstrate mastery of and/or challenges with the departmental learning outcomes for the major. A “text” can be a print or electronic document or multimodal project. We ask for you to create a digital final portfolio instead of a paper one, but we can accommodate a unique form if needed.

We ask you to select from work you have done in our WRIT and LING courses (although some at Armstrong might have been ENGL classes); the only new work you need to create for the portfolio is the self-assessment narrative. You may call on faculty members and the assessment coordinator (Prof. Christy Mroczek) for advice in making selections.

Overall, the artifacts selected should provide evidence of your achievement of our departmental learning outcomes for the major. These are our Student Learning Outcomes.

  1. Students will analyze audiences for specific texts and reflect on their processes of writing and revision.
  2. Students will analyze and critique texts using appropriate disciplinary concepts and will demonstrate knowledge of appropriate research methods.
  3. Students will write texts that reflect applicable genre conventions (style, structure, technical skills).
  4. Students will recognize and be able to link linguistic structures and functions in various contexts and articulate the implications of language variation.

The artifacts can come from any upper level Writing and Linguistics course. You should follow the guidelines below to help you select the best examples for the learning outcome assessment.

The Senior Portfolio should contain the following items.

  1. A table of contents listing the included materials. Two sample tables of contents are presented below.
  2. A self‐assessment narrative. Minimum 1000 words. You should introduce each of the artifacts they are including in the portfolio, briefly describing the assignment and specifying how that work contributed to the your development in one or more outcomes of the major. You should explain the rationale behind why and how you selected each portfolio writing sample, and how it fits with other samples included in the portfolio. The narrative should address your growth and progress as a Writing and Linguistics major and emphasize the strengths demonstrated in each of the writing samples. Please explain how your portfolio choices reflect your mastery of the learning outcomes of the Writing and Linguistics program (although you may skip SLO 4 if you did not take any linguistics courses). We encourage you to focus the narrative on your writing processes rather than on the helpfulness of a specific instructor. However, you may refer to specific assignments or activities in a specific course that you found particularly helpful.

    You may organize the self-assessment narrative with meaningful subheadings drawn from the artifacts selected. A recommended format for the self-assessment narrative is below:
    1. Introduce your portfolio artifacts—provide the context for those assignments (It might even be effective to include an assignment description or evaluation rubric).
    2. For each artifact, comment on how you met the expectations for the assignments and why you selected it to represent the learning outcomes. Some questions to consider:
    • Why does this assignment best illustrate that you have gained skills described in this outcome area? Give examples from the text and describe your process and skillsets.
    • What challenges, if any, did you overcome while completing the assignment? How? (Describe strategies, skills, or learning processes, rather than naming specific instructors and their interventions). If you have not been able to overcome those challenges, what do you take away from the experience that relates to writing-related outcomes?
    • What aspect of each of these assignments are you most proud of? What set of skills do you think you really excelled at?
    3. Reflect on the capstone experience (the capstone class or internship) as a culminating experience for your academic experience. For the internship, draw from the reflection in your internship essay. Our capstone courses are WRIT/LING 4790 internship, WRIT 5231 Adv. Screenwriting, WRIT 5250 Adv. Technical Writing, WRIT 5330 Rhetoric, WRIT 5430 Adv. Poetry Writing, WRIT 5520 Writing for Publication, WRIT/LING 5530 Sociolinguistics, WRIT 5531 Adv. Creative Nonfiction, and WRIT 5560 Adv. Fiction Writing.
    4. Along with the individual reflection on each artifact, please add a section of reflection regarding your overall experience as a Writing and Linguistic major. Questions to consider include these:
    • How do the writing samples in the portfolio work with each other to show your mastery of a variety of skills?
    • How does your growth as a writer show, from start to end of the major, through these assignment samples?
  3. A sample of formal, substantial work that best demonstrates your ability to analyze texts and incorporate research. The assignment should be a minimum of 1500 words. We’d like to see evidence of sources—whether via citations or through added reflection (if the selected piece is not a traditional research essay). Possible options for this sample include, but are not limited to, analysis essays, a research paper synthesizing findings regarding a significant issue or reporting an empirical study in the field of linguistics, a usability study from a professional/technical writing course, a multimodal presentation, or an analysis of creative nonfiction. Ultimately, you should include the piece that you think best showcases your ability to critically analyze and synthesize. Select a substantive sample. A one-page audience analysis that was only a small part of a larger assignment, for example, would not be a good choice for this requirement. You may also address the research element of a selected piece in the reflection, if it isn’t evident through the deliverable (for example, in a creative piece, such as a short story or poem).
  4. A sample of your best work written for a specific situation and audience. Possible options for this sample include original creative work, a product pitch, a promotional plan, a client-based project such as a business plan or grant proposal, a digital story, a qualitative study, etc. Again, you should choose the best, most polished writing (which can include electronic texts such as websites, blog sites, etc.), and you should include related audience analysis or reflective work if it was part of the original assignment. You might imagine this requirement as an extensive publishable piece or assignment written for a specific rhetorical situation. Regardless of genre, you should provide a substantive sample. One or two pages of writing is not sufficient; however, you may submit more than one artifact here to provide a large enough writing sample.

Format and Submission

Students are responsible for collecting and compiling the required samples. Prior to graduation, students will turn in these materials to their capstone instructor or internship coordinator.

Submit the portfolio electronically. Please prepare all of the files in one Word document in the order listed above. Then, email the file to the assessment coordinator, Prof. Christy Mroczek. Name the Word document “YourLastName.SeniorPortfolio.SemesterDate” (e.g. “Smith.SeniorPortfolio.SemesterYear). If you are including a multimedia element that does not fit into a Word document, please include a placeholder reference in the Word document (something like “Multimedia Portfolio Artifact, XYZ, is submitted separately” or “Follow the link for digital access to Multimedia Portfolio Artifact”). Be sure to use a similar naming convention for any multimedia portfolio artifacts (e.g. “LastName.SeniorPortfolio.MultimediaArtifact1.Fall2019”).

If you are including a multimedia element that does not fit into a Word document, please include a placeholder reference in the Word document (something like “Multimedia Portfolio Artifact, XYZ, is submitted separately” or “Follow the link for digital access to Multimedia Portfolio Artifact ABC”). Be sure to use a similar naming convention for any multimedia portfolio artifacts (e.g. “LastName.SeniorPortfolio.MultimediaArtifact1.Spring2019”).

Other Notes and Reminders

Portfolios are due the last week of the semester. The department must receive them all by the final day of the term you are graduating. This is part of the graduation process.

Aside from the self-assessment essay, which we’d recommend writing after you select your portfolio pieces, you are not required to create any new work for the portfolio. Select your portfolio artifacts from among the upper level courses (including the capstone/internship) you’ve taken during your time in the program. They should be free of instructor comments. You are not required to revise them. When you select work, remember to consider the criteria explained above.

The portfolios will not be graded, but they will be evaluated after you graduate. We will evaluate your portfolio to assess our degree program to make sure the graduates of our program can accomplish what we claim they can. Our evaluation of your portfolio is like reviewing a snapshot of your work as a student; it is not an evaluation of you.

Students, faculty and advisors can contact the assessment coordinator, Christy Mroczek, cmroczek@georgiasouthern.edu, with overall questions. For extra advice on compiling the portfolio, students should reach out to Christy Mroczek (Armstrong Campus), or Joanna Schreiber, jschreiber@georgiasouthern.edu (Statesboro Campus), or Russell Willerton, rwillerton@georgiasouthern.edu, department head, (both campuses, Armstrong and Statesboro).

Sample Table of Contents

  1. Self-Assessment Narrative
  2. Best Critical Analysis: WRIT 5330 Rhetorical Tropes in Barbara Jordan’s Democratic National Convention Keynote Speech
  3. Best Work Written for a Specific Audience and Purpose: WRIT 5510 Grant Proposal
  4. Linguistic Course Representation: Language Variation and Grammatical Change

Or

Sample Table of Contents

  1. Self-Assessment Narrative
  2. Best Critical Analysis: WRIT 4535 “Intellectual Property Rights Online”
  3. Best Work Written for a Specific Audience and Purpose: WRIT 5560 Advanced Fiction Writing, “The Rain”, Short Story

Last updated: 10/28/2019

Department of Writing & Linguistics • P.O. Box 8026 • Statesboro, GA 30460 • 912-478-0739