Beginning Autumn Quarter 2012, the final requirement for the degree of Master of Arts in English is a Capstone Portfolio. The Capstone Portfolio replaces the Comprehensive Exam for all current and future students.
Academic portfolios enhance students’ scholarly and professional development in several ways. In a portfolio, a student highlights his or her research and articulates his or her strengths as reader, writer, scholar, and teacher. As a multimodal platform that is fully revisable and easily sharable online, the Capstone Portfolio will serve as a resource for job and school applications, grant and fellowship proposals, and the production of other professional genres.
The Capstone Portfolio will be submitted in digital form, making use of the Digication electronic portfolio platform provided by DePaul. Exceptions can be made to accommodate special needs and circumstances with the approval of the program Director.
The program will schedule workshops on the use of the Digication platform.
The Capstone Portfolio has three required parts. Each part should have its own dedicated module in the portfolio and be easy to access and navigate.
1. Research. At least three course papers or other projects, substantially revised for both content and style, representing the student’s most significant work in the program. At a minimum, a revised paper or project must respond to revision suggestions of department faculty (and ideally the feedback of the faculty member for whom the paper was originally written). A brief report (c. 500 words) should specify the nature and extent of the completed revisions. Each paper or project should conform consistently to either MLA or Chicago style guidelines, as appropriate.
2. Coursework. An inventory of courses taken in the MAE program, with brief reflective annotations (c. 200-500 words) for each, documenting coursework.
3. Statement. This document, typically 8-10 double-spaced pages, is a reflective and critical appraisal of the student’s growth as a reader, writer, scholar, and teacher (as applicable). The Statement is a report of the student’s accomplishments: past and future research, developing pedagogical and critical skills, engagement with literary works and methodologies, and most important claims and insights. Explanation of teaching experience is encouraged (if applicable), and part of the Statement might be a separable “Statement of Teaching Philosophy.”
Before or at the start of the last quarter of coursework in the program, a student will register as a member of a quarterly “Capstone cohort” and be enrolled in a dedicated Digication Capstone course to support the production of the portfolio during his or her last quarter. (This Capstone cohort “course” is not a classroom course and does not require tuition. A student who has finished coursework and needs only to turn in the Portfolio must still register in a cohort, but also in ENG 502 Candidacy Continuation to stay active in the program that quarter.)
The Director of the MAE will hold brief workshops twice a year (or as needed) to explain the portfolio platform, format, timetable, and grading policies. The Portfolio is due during week seven of the quarter for which the student is registered. Once the Portfolio is submitted to the department for graduation credit it cannot be changed unless revisions are requested. (After successful completion of the requirement and the program, the portfolio can be changed as the student wishes.)
Each Portfolio will be evaluated by a committee of three English faculty. Portfolio evaluation is holistic, taking into account all three parts as specified above (and additional features as indicated by the student). The student may include additional material or features in his or her portfolio; such additional content cannot, however, be used in lieu of passing work in the three required parts.
Portfolios can earn one of three scores: Pass, Fail, or Distinction. The committee can require revision of any section of a submitted portfolio before approving it. In the case of a non-passing portfolio, the Director and/or program faculty will work with the student as necessary until the portfolio passes.
Any MA thesis completed in the program satisfies the Capstone Portfolio requirement.
If a student is writing a thesis, he or she will still have access to Digication in order to assemble an ungraded professional portfolio.
Contact the Director of the MA in English, Richard Squibbs (773-325-7657) or the Assistant Director, Jan Hickey (773-325-4635).