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English Major Exit Portfolio Requirement

Dear English majors:

The English Department is committed to helping students develop valuable knowledge and skills. To support that commitment we regularly evaluate our success and make changes to our curriculum and instruction in light of our findings. One important way for us to evaluate teaching and learning in the department is by examining representative student work. To enable us to do so, we require each English major to turn in a portfolio before graduating.

The results of the portfolio assessment will not affect your GPA or course grades in any way. We read the portfolios to determine how well we are doing in achieving the goals of the English major and how we can improve in the future. We also hope that completing the portfolio will allow you to appreciate your accomplishments and to articulate your abilities and experiences, as you might be asked to on a job interview.

Because we want to get a full sense of your learning experiences and skills, we invite you to include a variety of different pieces in your portfolio, from research papers to short stories, lesson plans, presentations, and professional documents. Rather than just focusing on outcomes related to one or two of our goals, try to show us the breadth of your experience and provide pieces related to all four goals.

To meet the graduation requirement, your portfolio must include at least seven pieces of finished and fully edited work arranged in chronological order. You must include

At least one piece from a writing-intensive gateway course (ENG 203, 204, or 205).
  • At least one piece from a 300-level ENG
  • At least one piece from an additional ENG course (not including ENG 100 or 100P).
  • Your capstone project (senior seminar project, ENG 499 project, or Honors thesis).
  • Multiple drafts of at least one piece (can be one of the above), including any written feedback you received on those drafts that impacted the final piece.

The remaining pieces may include additional English coursework, but we also welcome pieces from other courses you've taken at Eastern or from outside the university (such as work you created for an internship, a job, or extracurricular activity).

We encourage inclusion of work using modes other than written text. Work including or primarily reliant on visuals (such as PowerPoint presentations, videos, etc.), audio files of podcasts, and so on will help you better show your skill with regard to our first learning goal in particular.

Each of your seven pieces must be prefaced by a brief introduction (at least 250 words), explaining

  • its intended audience and purpose,
  • how your work contributes to existing intellectual and/or artistic conversations (especially for creative pieces),
  • the learning outcomes for which it displays your abilities, and
  • how specifically it does

Your portfolio must also include a critical and reflective essay (750 to 1250 words) that introduces the portfolio as a whole, making clear how your portfolio reflects the sum of your education at Eastern, both within the English major and within the larger context of a liberal arts university. For more about the essay, see the accompanying guide.

Finally, your portfolio must also include a PDF of the screen that confirms your completion of the Survey for Graduating Seniors. (See your capstone instructor or the English department chair for the survey link.).

You will receive two emails from the department chair several weeks before your portfolio is due. One email will include a link to a SharePoint folder to which you will submit your portfolio. The other email will include detailed instructions about how to submit to that folder.

To meet the requirement in time for graduation, your portfolio must be submitted no later than the last day of final exams for your final semester. For summer graduation, the portfolio must be submitted by the last day of summer classes.

If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact your faculty advisor or the English department chair.


Stephen Ferruci, PhD
Professor and Chair
English Department
Webb Hall 230
(860) 465-0653