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As a Senior English major you must enroll in English 497a (Senior Seminar in English) during which you will complete the senior assignment.

(Note: seniors who declared as English majors before fall 2001 should contact Director of Undergraduate Studies Valerie Vogrin (Peck Hall 0214) for details on how to complete this requirement.

In addition to completing the assigned coursework in English 497a, as of Fall 2010 the Senior Assignment has two additional required components which will be explained in detail below.

1. Learning Portfolio

For various reasons, it is a good idea to retain electronic copies of all your work from previous courses. Doing so gives you the opportunity to chart your growth. As a whole, your previous work provides you with a means to make sense of the skills you are developing in your studies. Collectively, the contents of your portfolio will suggest the scope and quality of your performance.

Over the course of your studies as an English major, we ask you to retain papers from a few of your courses in particular: English 200, English 301/495, and English 497A. At the conclusion of 497A, and once you have assembled your work, you will be asked to write a capstone self-reflection. In your reflection you will provide an honest statement regarding your development as a reader, writer, and thinker. You will be asked to consider your achievements in terms the English Department’s benchmarks – the goals we expect each of our students to meet before exiting the program. This reflection will not be graded, but is required as part of the portfolio. The completed portfolio will be shared with the Department.

In addition to providing the basis for self-assessment, your learning portfolio will be used as part of the Department’s own assessment process. Each year the English Department is required by the University to gather detailed information about student achievement as a way of better understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum. Though you will have received grades on most of the work in your portfolio, you should note that the portfolios themselves will not graded, nor will they be used to assess your individual performance.

2. Senior Seminar Conference Presentation

The oral presentation of one’s research at a conference is a common feature of an academic career. As both a highlight and appropriate conclusion to your academic career as an undergraduate in the Department of English Language & Literature, you will present the key ideas of your senior seminar paper in a brief presentation (10-12 minutes) to a modest audience comprised of your peers, Department faculty, and guests.

The conference will be held on the final Friday afternoon of each term (before exam week). Presenters will be arranged in panels of four or five according to their topics. A volunteer faculty member will moderate the proceedings.

Your 497A professor will provide you detailed information regarding the content and logistics of the presentations. Your professor will let you know if your presentation will be graded.

(The faculty members in attendance will be asked to assess the presentations, but as with the Learning Portfolios, this information will be used only for the Department’s own internal assessment.)

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