English MA Project/Thesis: Pedagogical-Portfolio Project
Overview of the Project/Thesis
One expects an intellectual bridge between program coursework and the project/thesis. Notwithstanding, the culminating activity must progress substantially beyond any bridging coursework. The project/thesis has a formal beginning and end, from project/thesis proposal to final submission. Students should consult with the Graduate Adviser and their project/thesis faculty director about planning their culminating activity. Careful thought should be given to the strategic use of ENGL 599 units.
To begin a project/thesis, students must find an English faculty member who will agree to direct the project/thesis and also chair the project/thesis committee comprised of three faculty readers. The project/thesis committee and department chair must formally approve the proposed project/thesis and submit the signed form (GS 12) to the College of Arts and Letters for final approval by the Associate Dean before the project/thesis officially begins.
The submission formats of a project and of a thesis are similar. As with the thesis, the project will require a “narrative” for submission and approval. The project/thesis narrative will precede either the pedagogical portfolio or the journal article in its final form of submission. The 5-unit Thesis typically meets the narrative requirements with the introduction to the main work. The project/thesis narrative (explaining significance, objectives, methodology, and offering a conclusion or a recommendation) will likely have been foreshadowed in the justifying and explanatory language of the original project/thesis proposal. Students should submit their project/thesis narrative with their pedagogical portfolio or journal article to the project/thesis committee for final approval. Library submission of the Pedagogical-Portfolio Project and the Journal-Article Thesis will require other front matter (title page, table of contents, approval form GS 13, etc.).
Pedagogical-Portfolio Project (ENGL 599, 2 units)
Students choosing the Pedagogical-Portfolio Project must possess a single subject credential in English or have completed at least one course that focuses on pedagogy in English studies (Engl 504 or a similar course approved by the Graduate Adviser).
The pedagogical portfolio affords students the opportunity to apply and extend their studies by investigating issues related to teaching a specific area in English. By completing the portfolio, students will demonstrate the ways in which their graduate studies in English have prepared them to teach at the secondary school or community college level.
The portfolio may take either of two forms, each of which is described below. Each type of portfolio must be prefaced by a written abstract that details the project's significance, objectives, methodology, and conclusion or recommendation. Option A, Designing a Specific Course, requires students to conceptualize a course and develop corresponding pedagogical materials. Option B, Approaches to Teaching, requires three to four essays that explain how a specific text or cluster of texts should be taught and why.
Students will form a committee of three faculty members who will evaluate the portfolio as “passing” or “failing.” The committee chair must have expertise in the area in which the portfolio is grounded. There is no oral defense of the portfolio.
Portfolio Project Option A, Designing a Specific Course
The portfolio should represent how the student's MA studies inform a particular teaching philosophy and course proposal. In the portfolio, students must demonstrate critical analysis and advanced understanding of the subject as they address the following questions:
Students opting to complete the pedagogical portfolio will consult with their faculty advisers to determine the scope of the project and the exact elements required for completion. The Pedagogical-Portfolio Project, Option A, will include, but is not limited to, the following items:
A thoughtfully assembled and thoroughly developed pedagogical portfolio will extend beyond fifteen pages in length. The written components of the portfolio may be accompanied by additional requirements to be determined by the student and advisory faculty members, such as the teaching of a lesson or class, the student’s observation of and reflection upon a class session, a recording of the student’s teaching, and/or the development of a technological apparatus to support the lesson plans. A successful pedagogical portfolio will effectively represent the student's MA coursework and demonstrate both the theories underlying the course and how those theories are developed into course content.
Portfolio Project Option B, Approaches to Teaching
These essays should be modeled upon those published in the “MLA Approaches to Teaching” series. The three to four essays in this portfolio could focus on texts in one particular historical field or area or cover a variety of texts and thus demonstrate the breadth of the student’s MA experience.