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Senior Capstone

This page includes information on both ENGL 485 (Senior Capstone Practicum in English) as well as ENGL 486 (English Education Capstone Presentation).

The Department of English and Modern Languages is pleased to announce the following English Capstone presentations for the spring 2020 semester:

Guidelines for ENGL 485, Senior Capstone in English

All English majors must complete a capstone experience, no exceptions. Students taking ENGL 485, 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 may be substituted for this course requirement–but all students (whether enrolled in ENGL 485, in Washington Semester, or in any other approved alternate program) must complete all additional requirements of the Capstone course during the final semester of enrollment. These requirements are: résumé/job search workshops, exit survey, final portfolio submission, and capstone presentation.

Capstone project

Under the supervision of a full-time faculty instructor from the Department of English and Modern Languages, the student will propose a project, have the proposal approved, 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: drafting and revision of a piece of creative writing, 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 (e.g., Washington Semester) will be required to present their work to the full-time English faculty. 

Résumé/job search workshops

Each semester, the capstone course will include workshops on job searches, writing résumés and application letters, and interviewing. Attendance at these job workshops is mandatory for English majors in their final semester of enrollment (whether enrolled in Senior Capstone, Washington Semester, or any other approved alternate program). Students in their final semesters will work with a full-time faculty instructor on their résumés and their sample job application letters; both documents will then be included in the final portfolio.

Graduate school workshops

Each semester, a full-time faculty instructor will conduct a workshop on application to graduate school. This workshop will be available to any student, even those who do not see graduate school in their futures at present.


Each student will create his/her portfolio under the close supervision of a full-time faculty instructor. In addition to the résumé and sample application letter (both developed with guidance from the faculty instructor and the Department of Career Services), 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 instructor to create a portfolio that 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 and Modern Languages 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 texts.

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 and Modern Languages learning outcomes)
  3. Résumé and application letter (a one-page résumé and one-page application letter to a potential employer)
  4. Three to five 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., original pieces written in Creative Writing classes, 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.

Guidelines for ENGL 486, English Education Capstone Presentation

Course Description

This English education capstone presentation serves as a complementary component for the student teaching experience, considered the penultimate “capstone” experience for teaching majors. Working under the supervision of the English Specialization Coordinator and drawing from experiences encountered in the student teaching assignment or other Departmental service or activity related to the teaching profession, the apprentice teacher will participate in the end-of-semester Department of English and Modern Languages capstone presentations, sharing a teaching unit, a lesson series, a project initiated during the field experience, or a project or activity completed in the Department of English and Modern Languages that relates to the teaching profession and/or field of English studies. The following Intended Student Outcomes will be demonstrated in the capstone presentation:


The portfolio, begun by the English Education student prior to Juncture I, will be polished and refined prior to the Student Teaching semester (Juncture II), and will serve as a final mode of reflection on the relationship and integration between teaching theory and practice. The English Education Handbook details those professional requirements for the portfolio; however, the portfolio will also contain evidence of those discipline-related learning goals and outcomes valued in the English Program:

The portfolio will include:

A web version or web supplements to the portfolio may also be created that can hyperlink to PowerPoint programs created in the Methods course, Teacher Course Page, materials created by the students related to tutoring in the Academic Support Center, and/or other examples of texts and assignments that the student has created during his/her years of study in the Department of English and Modern Languages.

English Education Departmental Competency Assessment

Students enrolled in the capstone who have not taken the Competency Assessment Exam Post-test must do so during the semester of the capstone presentation. The Praxis II test will also be taken during the capstone semester.

Final Grade and Program Assessment

At midterm, the student will receive a grade from the Specialization Coordinator that reflects the quality of his/her work during the student teaching placement, the quality of his/her portfolio, and completion of capstone abstract. The final grade will reflect all of the above but principally the quality of the student’s end-of-semester presentation. English Education students must receive a C or better in ENGL 486 in order to complete the program and receive certification.