Guidelines for ENGL 485, Senior Capstone in English
All English majors MUST complete a capstone experience, no exceptions. Students taking ENGL 483, Senior Capstone in English, must wait until the last semester of enrollment to register for the course. With prior approval, special projects such as the Washington Semester and the Honors Thesis may be substituted for this course requirement—but all students (whether enrolled in ENGL 485, in Washington Semester, or in Honors Thesis) must complete all additional requirements of the Capstone course during the final semester of enrollment. These requirements are: resume/job search workshops, MFAT, exit survery, final portfolio submission, and capstone presentation.
Dates for Fall 2007 Capstone Events (required of all capstone students)
- Aug. 22 (3:10-4) Introduction
- Aug. 23-Dec. 4 Meet with your mentor once a week
- Sep. 12 (3:10-4) Capstone Project Proposal due (100-150 words)
- Sep. 26 (3:10-4) Graduate School Workshop
- Oct. 3 (3:10-4) Job Workshop #1
- Oct. 10 (3:10-4) Job Workshop #2
- Oct. 31 (3:10-4) MFAT Preview and English Department Exit Survey
- Nov. 7 (3:10-5:40) MFAT Exam
- Nov. 28 (3:10-4:30) Rehearsal for Capstone Presentation
- Dec. 5 (3:10-4:15) Capstone Presentations ( Portfolio due)
Capstone project: Under the supervision of a full-time faculty mentor in the Department of English, the student will propose a project, have the proposal approved by the mentor, and execute the project. The student should concentrate on experiences s/he has had at Shepherd that would be useful to graduate school or career choices. Projects may include but are not limited to: preparation and presentation of a conference paper; development of a substantial website; creation of a special workshop for other English majors; and participation in a dramatic performance. At the end of the semester, students will present their projects to the full-time English faculty and anyone else interested in the presentations.
Capstone presentation: All students completing the capstone course or an alternate capstone experience (Washington Semester or Honors Thesis) will be required to present their work to the full-time English faculty. Students who are making presentations as part of their Honors Thesis may request—with advance notice—that English faculty attend the Honors Thesis presentation in lieu of participating in the senior English capstone presentations.
Resume/job search workshops: Each semester, Dr. Austin will conduct two job workshops (one on job searches, one on resumes/application letters). Attendance at these job workshops is mandatory for English majors in their final semester of enrollment (whether enrolled in Senior Capstone, Washington Semester, or Honors Thesis). Students in their final semesters will work with Dr. Tate on their resumes and their sample job application letters, both documents which will then be included in the final portfolio.
In preparation for the workshops, the student should review the following materials:
Workshop #1: Discovering what you have to offer and looking for the perfect job!
Workshop #2: Creating effective application letters, resumes, and portfolios.
Graduate school workshops: Each semester, Dr. Michael Austin will conduct a workshop on application to graduate school. This workshop will be available to any student, but attendance will not be required. To learn more about this workshop, contact Dr. Austin.
MFAT exam: Each student in the final semester of enrollment (whether enrolled in ENGL 485, Washington Semester, or Honors Thesis) will take the MFAT exam. Dr. Patricia Dwyer will schedule and conduct the MFAT exam. She will also administer the exit survey. To learn more about the MFAT exam, contact Dr. Alan Tinkler.
Portfolio: Each student will create his/her portfolio under the close supervision of his/her faculty mentor. In addition to the resume and sample application letter (both developed with guidance from Dr. Tate), the portfolio will include an overall assessment letter and three to five samples of the student's work. The students must work closely with the mentor to create a portfolio which represents the breadth of the student's achievements in the English program. The student will choose the work from his/her courses that best demonstrates the learning goals the Department of English has identified as outcomes for our program. These are:
1) Student will demonstrate clear and effective expression in written English.
2) Student will demonstrate the ability to research from a variety of sources and evaluate, analyze, and synthesize the information.
3) Student will organize ideas in a clear and lucid argument.
4) Student will appreciate the global significance of humanist tradition as manifested in the literature of various times and cultures.
5) Student will demonstrate original and critical thinking including the ability to analyze text.
The portfolio will include:
1) Table of contents
2) Cover letter to department (letter will reflect on student's learning experiences with specific references to the portfolio contents that demonstrate the Department of English learning outcomes)
3) Resume and application letter (a one-page resume and one-page application letter to a potential employer)
4) 3 to 5 pieces from class work to be showcased (student-selected works that demonstrate the outcomes listed above; works included will probably be primarily from upper-division or advanced courses and will utilize MLA or other appropriate format; other pertinent material could also be included, e.g., Picket articles, peer tutoring assignments, conference papers, websites, PowerPoint presentations, etc.)
Hard copy versions of the portfolio should be submitted in a three-ring binder. Web portfolios (with relevant texts hyperlinked) are also permissible.
For more information about the Senior Capstone in English, contact Dr. Tim Nixon.