Our English majors explore with their professors the broad and evolving sweep of English and American literature, honing their critical thinking skills as they go.

English Discipline Senior Portfolio

The English Discipline Portfolio (EDP) is designed so that the English discipline can assess its major. As part of that assessment measure, the English discipline requires all majors to submit a writing portfolio at the end of their St. Norbert College career.  

Saving Essays for the Portfolio
As soon as you determine that you will be an English major, begin to save the final drafts of the essays and assignments from each of your English courses to a folder on your M:drive labeled English Portfolio. For ease of recovery, create a subfolder for each of your courses labeled with the course number, such as English 150, English 305, or English 489.

Self-Evaluative Essay
Compose a self-evaluative essay with detailed information about your experience as an English major. Overall, your essay should address how well your coursework and extracurricular activities as an English major at St. Norbert College provided you with an intellectually, personally and spiritually challenging education.

More specifically, consider your answers to the following questions:

  • As an English major, did you explore the broad canvas of English and American literature, and learn to recognize it as an evolving rather than static body of work?
  • Did you develop the essential skills of critical inquiry through academic writing?
  • Can you identify and understand the theoretical debates that frame the study of literature?
  • Have you used literary theory in your thinking and writing across the English major
    curriculum?
  • As an English major, were you encouraged to learn a foreign language and/or the history of the English language?
  • Did you explore creative writing?  
  • As an English major, were you moved to serve the College and outside communities through academic organizations, extra-curricular service projects, etc.?

Finally, consider your answers to the following questions in the conclusion of your essay:

  • What does your portfolio reveal to be your greatest strengths as a reader, thinker and writer?
  • What areas of your training as an English major would you like to improve?
  • What do you think are the greatest strengths of the English major?
  • How might we improve the English major for future St. Norbert students?

As long as you address these issues in your essay, you can be as creative as you wish. These essays should be about 5-6 pages, double-spaced.

List of English Courses at St. Norbert College
To give the English discipline a quick overview of your English career at the college, provide a list of all the English classes you’ve taken here.  (If you are a transfer student or have taken English classes at other institutions, please create a separate category to list those courses.)

For this list, provide the following information (arranged chronologically, from first year to senior-level courses):

  • Course number and title
  • Instructor
  • List of all writing assignments done

Portfolio Essays
Select one essay or writing assignment from each of 10 St. Norbert College English courses to include in your portfolio. (Note: you must include the researched essay from English 489.) If you took more than 10 English courses, choose what you consider to be the 10 most representative course assignments of your history as an English major.  If you are a transfer student, you may include up to two essays from English courses from other institutions.

The written assignments or essays you include may range from personal/reflective essays that ask you to reflect personally on the literature you study, to critical essays that ask you to analyze literature without secondary research sources, to research essays that require you to integrate secondary sources in support of your own critical thesis, to a short story or a collection of 3-5 poems from a creative writing course. (Of course, not all students will have material for each of the above categories.)

Arrange your essays in the portfolio chronologically – in the order of courses taken, beginning with assignments completed in your first year, first semester at the College and ending with assignments completed in your last year, last semester. (Follow the order established in your course list.)  At the beginning of each essay or creative piece, include a brief description of the assignment. Descriptions should include: class, instructor, date of assignment, and a brief (1-3 sentence) overview of the assignment (purpose, audience, etc.)

Organization and Format of the English Portfolio
Arrange your portfolio in the following order:

  1. Self-evaluative essay
  2. Chronological list of courses taken at the College
  3. Portfolio essays (also arranged chronologically)

When you are ready to submit your portfolio at the end of your English career at St. Norbert College, please have it bound at the college digital print center or elsewhere. If you can, save your portfolio as a single Word (.doc) or Rich Text Format (.rtf) file, lastnameengmajport.doc, and send it to Laurie MacDiarmid as an email attachment.

Portfolios are usually due during finals week of the semester for which you’re enrolled in ENGL 499.

Questions or concerns about the portfolio may be addressed to Laurie MacDiarmid.