Your final portfolio will have the following components in the menu bar of your website. Note that some components are accompanied by reflections and earlier revisions and some are not:
Introductory essay: This is a sort of "about the author" essay that discusses who you are as a writer, introduces the portfolio, and establishes your brand. We will do lots of work on these in class. Includes earlier revisions.
Employment materials: This is your resume and cover letter, customized for a specific job.
Graduate school essay: You will choose a specific graduate program, find its application essay instructions/prompt, and write to specifications. Includes earlier revisions and a reflection (just one, that addresses both the resume and the cover letter).
Graduate school essay: You will research graduate programs and their individual specifications for these essays and then customize yours to meet these specifications. Includes both earlier revisions and a reflection.
Academic paper: You will choose the academic paper that best represents your work as a scholar, revise it, and use it here as a sample. Includes both earlier revisions and a reflection.
Non-Academic paper: This can be anything from creative writing (eg, poetry, fiction, script writing) to journalism, to technical and legal writing. Includes earlier revisions and a reflection.
Editing: You will collect at least three samples of your work editing the work of others for this category. Choose samples of different levels of editing (eg, basic copyediting, stylistic, substantive/content, structural) to showcase your versatility. Includes a single reflection that addresses all of the samples .
Major coursework samples: One paper from each of your major courses. No earlier revisions or reflection.
No textbook is required for this course. Plan to do some online reading.
I have abandoned all hope for Blackboard and its ilk and will post course readings on this website. Please make sure that you are able to access it. If I am making an update, it may be down temporarily, but never for more than about five minutes, so check back if you have trouble and let me know if you have a problem. You can email me at or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Career Prep is largely a participation course. If you show up, participate, attend conferences, act as a good peer editor, and submit your assignments on time, you are pretty much guaranteed a good grade.
Students occasionally make the mistake of thinking that this means that they can submit a nice final portfolio at the end of the semester and it will make up for absences, late submissions, etc., from earlier in the semester. Not true. See “Course Overview” above to get an idea of what you will be submitting to me for comments and edits.
Please make sure that you understand the grading policy. Do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions.
Because this course offers students a series of guest speakers, respectful behavior toward these speakers is critical. These guests have donated their time. Discourteous behavior such as texting, reading, or checking your email while the speakers are presenting is grounds for a substantial point deduction from your participation grade.
About the course
Congratulations! If you are taking this course it means you are rounding the final corner in the marathon that has been your undergraduate education. This is your opportunity to finish strong.
This course allows you to do several things that will help you make the transition into the next phase of your life.
Meet and learn from “real” writers, ie, writers who actually get paid to write professionally
Examine the choices that you have for graduate school or entering the workforce and develop and refine necessary tools such as résumés and admissions essays.
Present samples of your best work to the English Writing faculty in the form of a portfolio. Assembling this portfolio allows you to leave this course with concrete evidence of your skills and accomplishments as a writer. You may be asked for writing samples when you apply for graduate school, a scholarship, a promotion, or employment. Your portfolio provides you with an update-able, portable, professionally designed document to use on these occasions.
Practice editing and revising skills, both as a peer reviewer and as you prepare your own work for review.
You may find it helpful to think of this course as a semester-long project that will yield a product (your portfolio) by way of the process of writing, editing, revising, and reflecting. The semester is organized around the following assignments in the following order. Documents will go through a process of revision including peer editing and comments and feedback from me.
“Outros,” “The Perfect Day,” and other writing exercises: These short papers are warm-up exercises. They will provide you with content for later assignments like your grad school essay and “branding” for your portfolio design. These should be about 1.5 to 2 pages long.
Faculty Interviews: This is an exercise in hands-on audience analysis. Because members of the English faculty will be reading and assessing your portfolios at the end of the semester, you will each be assigned to meet with a member of the faculty and ask them what they are looking for when they read and what they personally believe constitutes a successful portfolio. You will present your results (informally) to the class. Note: due to recent turnover among the ENGW faculty, this assignment may be cancelled. Stay tuned for an update.
Resumes/Cover Letters: We will go through the different types of resumes, CVs, cover letters, and statements of purpose that you may need to produce for professional and academic careers. We will work on content, design, and customizing strategies.
Graduate School Essays: You will research graduate programs and their individual specifications for these essays and then customize yours to meet these specifications.
Academic Papers: You will choose the academic essay that you feel represents the best work that you have done in your undergraduate work. In this case, academic means as opposed to creative work such as fiction, creative non-fiction, or poetry. Think research paper. Keep in mind that your audience does not have time to read your entire thesis or Capstone paper, for example. If you choose a longer piece, you will need to narrow it down to a chapter or use an abbreviated version.
Non-academic Papers: You will choose the creative writing piece that you feel represents your best work as a creative writer: fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, screenplays, etc. If you are planning to go into a graduate program in creative writing, you will want to choose the genre that you plan to have as your focus in the program.
Writer’s Autobiography: Called “Introductory Essay” in your portfolio contents list, this is an autobiographical essay that reflects on you as a writer and as a student of writing, and introduces your portfolio.
Coursework samples: You will collect samples of your work from as many of your major courses and you can and simply add them to this category.
Editing: You will have multiple opportunities to peer edit papers for your classmates. At the end of the course, you will collect copies of all of the papers that you have edited to create a component with evidence of your skill and versatility as an editor.
Portfolio Design: You will look at yourself as a writer to create a “brand” around which you will develop a design strategy for your portfolio. We will use the seufolios websites that you established in Document Design to create user-friendly, intuitive, and easily navigable electronic portfolios.
Congratulations! You are among the first Career Prep students for which the final portfolios will be 100% electronic. We will spend a significant amount of class time demystifying the tech component and will have the additional support of the IT department to make sure that everyone feels confident about both the process and the final product.
There is, however, a paper component. Your assignments must be submitted to me on paper. You may also want to use paper copies for peer editing in addition to online editing tools such as Track Changes or the markup tool in GoogleDocs. When we upload editing samples, I recommend that you use the free app Genius Scan on your phone. It lets you photograph any document and turns it into a PDF. Genius indeed!
Early in the semester, plan to select and interview a member of the English Writing faculty. These will be the people who ultimately review and evaluate your portfolios. This is your opportunity to do a hands-on audience analysis and discuss your findings with the class as you develop your portfolio. **Note: this assignment may be changed slightly to accommodate the schedules of students and faculty. Stay tuned for updates.
REFLECTIONS/STATEMENTS OF PURPOSE
For each of the major components in your portfolio, you will write a reflection/statement of purpose. This short essay will act as a sort of personal history for each piece. The reflection should detail the original audience and purpose of the piece, how it has changed with various revisions, and what you see as its strengths and weaknesses. Give specific attention to questions of style such as word choice, sound qualities, and tone.
Your final portfolio will include evidence of your peer reviews. What this means is that you are not only responsible for responding to your peers’ work on a regular basis, but you are responsible for providing concrete, substantive suggestions for improvement.
Because attendance is so important to your success in this course, I will deduct points from your final average for poor attendance. It is almost impossible to make an A for the class if you have more than three absences for the semester. Perfect attendance adds three points to your final grade.
If you are absent, you are responsible for getting information that we covered in class from a classmate. You will be responsible for making copies of handouts and notes if you need them.
Assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date. I do not accept late homework assignments. With permission, late formal papers may be submitted for up to half credit (much better than a zero!), but will be returned without feedback. Missed quizzes and in-class assignments cannot be made up. Athletes must contact me at the beginning of the semester with calendars.
Check your email and this website daily. The only reason I use Blackboard is to send you group emails (usually to alert you to updates on my website). You are responsible for information that I send by email. Let me know immediately if your email address changes during the semester.
St. Edward’s University, the English department, and I expect you to practice academic honesty in all of your work. Please consult the SEU student handbook if you have any questions about what constitutes academic dishonesty. As an upper-level student of English, you are expected to know and practice the appropriate use of sources and documentation.
SEU takes academic dishonesty very seriously. Penalties include a zero for the assignment, a failing grade for the class, and expulsion from the university.
If you have a medical, psychiatric, or learning disability, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that your professors make appropriate accommodations. Please bring your documentation to me as early in the semester as possible. Student Disability Services is in Moody Hall 155, in the Academic Planning and Support offices.
Your student fees entitle you to a wide range of support services. I encourage you to take advantage of these resources.
Writing: The Writing Center in Sorin Hall
Research: Librarians in the Scarborough-Phillips library
Computers/IT: Academic Computing in Moody Hall or the Sorin Hall computer lab
Tutoring: Academic Planning and Support in Moody Hall
Personal issues: Psychological Services in Moody Hall or Campus Ministry in Mang House
Just as I encourage you to take advantage of the other resources that SEU provides, I encourage you to take advantage of the resource that I offer as your professor. If I can help, do not hesitate to contact me. Please feel free to come by my office or send me an email. I get paid to help you learn. Use this resource.
Syllabus and Course Information
Moody Hall 301
Beth Eakman Re
CM Box #998
Office: Andre Hall 302
Hours: MWF 9-11 and by appointment