Portfolio Preparation

English 585


Course Description
This course serves primarily as a capstone course for students working toward a Master's degree in either Rhetoric and Professional Communication or Creative Writing. The course may also be of interest to graduate students in other fields in which portfolios are regularly used, for instance, in applying to terminal degree (PhD or MFA) programs or in applying for professional jobs.


In this capstone course, you will study academic and professional portfolios as genres while creating one of your own. You will select and develop items for inclusion in a portfolio with a particular focus on critical reflection of work composed during your program of study. We will address rhetorical approaches to shaping introductory materials and showcasing your work in purposeful and persuasive ways. You will create both print and digital compilations of your work, while also considering principles of visual design to facilitate usability and aesthetic appeal.

A significant part of this class will involve looking carefully at the work of others and offering feedback. Your critiques of and responses to the portfolios drafts of your classmates will play a substantial role in this class, so please offer the best commentary you can as you review each portfolio.

Course Objectives
By the semester's end, you should:

    • have a complete, well-developed portfolio that will satisfy the requirements of your MA program

    • understand and demonstrate the role of critical reflection for the materials included in your portfolio

    • devise an identity for your portfolio and shape your materials to the needs of your intended readers

    • develop familiarity with basic design and web usability concepts

Participation and Collaboration

As this is a graduate level capstone course, it is critical that you are an active and respectful participant in all activities. I expect that you will read all assigned material prior to class and that you will engage in thoughtful, critical dialog with your classmates. You will spend a lot of time reading and responding to the portfolio drafts of your classmates and I expect you to take this work seriously. Some of our class sessions for peer review will take place online via Blackboard and will require you to submit your feedback to both classmates and the instructor. Your sustained engagement in both face-to-face and online class sessions will create a rich learning environment for yourself and your classmates and will help you to further develop your feedback and writing skills.


I expect graduate students to attend all class meetings (except in the case of an emergency, sickness, or absence related to a conference presentation). If you have more than 2 absences, your grade will be negatively affected and may result in failure of the course. You are responsible for checking the course website and/or contacting me during office hours to find out what you missed.



Academic Integrity
Plagiarism is using another person's work without acknowledgment, making it appear to be one's own. Any ideas, words, pictures, or other intellectual content taken from another course must be acknowledged in a citation that gives credit to the source. This is irrespective of the origin of the material, including the web, other students' work, unpublished materials or oral sources. Intentional and unintentional instances of plagiarism are considered academic misconduct. It is the responsibility of the student submitting the work in question to know, understand, and comply with this policy.



Feel free to call Jerry Nevarez, Director of Institutional Equity, at 575-646-3635 with any questions you may have about NMSU's Non-Discrimination Policy and complaints of discrimination, including sexual harassment.

Feel free to call Diana Quintana, Coordinator of Services for Students with Disabilities, at 575-646-6840 with any questions you may have on student issues related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. All medical information will be treated confidentially.


Course Details

Meeting Time and Place
This course will meet in the Milton Hall Design Center on Tuesdays 5:00-7:30.

Contact Information

Instructor: Dr. Jennifer Sheppard
Office: English 226
Phone:575- 646-2341
Email: jasheppa@nmsu.edu (best way to reach me)


Office Hours
Mondays 12:00-2:00 in Milton Hall Design Center

Tuesdays 2:00-4:00 in English 226

and by appointment