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 assess 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. These texts help us determine how well our students are meeting our desired learning outcomes. 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. 

Please select from work you have done in our WRIT and LING courses (although some at Armstrong students might use artifacts from ENGL professional communication curriculum from 2016-2018); 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. When you write your self-assessment narrative and select portfolio pieces, please draw specifically on these learning outcomes. More on this below. 

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 demonstrate their ability to make meaningful associations between language form and meaning and articulate the implications of language variation. 

Senior Portfolio Contents

The Senior Portfolio should contain the following items. They can come from upper level courses in Writing and Linguistics. Please follow the guidelines to help you select the best examples for the learning outcome assessment 

  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. In this narrative, we are interested in learning how your portfolio choices reflect your mastery of the learning outcomes of the Writing and Linguistics program. To begin, you should introduce each of the artifacts you included in the portfolio, briefly describing the assignment and specifying how that work contributed to your development in one or more outcomes of the major. Be specific. Also, 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.  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.   

A recommended format for the self-assessment narrative is below. You may use subheadings. 

  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 (see Learning Outcomes above). Here are 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). 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?
  1. 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?
  1. Reflect on the capstone experience (the capstone class or internship) as a culminating experience for your academic experience.
    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. It is possible that you worked with your advisor to use a different 5000 level capstone. 

This reflection may fold into the reflection on the overall experience above, but we would like to see specific examples from the culminating experience in the selected capstone. 

Note: If you completed an internship, please include the full Internship Essay from your experience in this section. Copy and paste it at the end of your self-assessment narrative, but include the Heading “Internship Essay” or “Internship Reflection”. Your internship essay should already cover some of the reflective elements listed above and will provide us additional insight into our graduates’ abilities to perform in a professional setting.

  1. A sample of formal, substantial work that best demonstrates your ability to analyze texts and/or language use, 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 case 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. Discuss the quality and appropriateness of the sources used and your selection process, especially if it is not 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 a 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. Also, if you want to use a shorter piece, you may submit more than one artifact for this “best work” to provide a large enough writing sample.

Submission Deadline

Submit the portfolio electronically just after midterm of the semester you are graduating. 

For fall graduates, the portfolio is due by October 30.

 For spring graduates, the portfolio is due by March 30.

If your graduation application is approved for that term after these cutoff dates, the portfolio is still required Submit it as soon as possible, preferably two weeks before graduation. 

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). 

Other Notes and Reminders

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. Our evaluation of your portfolio is like reviewing a snapshot of your work as a student; it is not an evaluation of you.

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: 9/14/2020

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