Mission Statement for the B.A. in English and Portfolio Requirements
The mission of the B.A. in English program is five-fold: (1) to help students understand and appreciate a diverse range of literary texts in their cultural, historical, and aesthetic contexts; (2) to develop through courses in literature, writing, and language an understanding of universal and culturally specific human issues; (3) to introduce some of the principal critical and scholarly approaches to the study of literature; (4) for ETPP students, to present the structure of the English language and the principles of Second Language Acquisition; and (5) to promote the ability and life-long desire to read perceptively, think critically, and write effectively.
Goals and Objectives of the B.A. in English
Students will demonstrate the extent to which they have satisfied the mission of the English program by assembling portfolios that provide evidence for the attainment of each of the following goals and their corresponding objectives. Courses and experiences that provide primary opportunities to fulfill each goal are identified below. Qualitatively superior evidence is preferred over sheer quantity of activity in any of the categories. A panel of English faculty will evaluate the evidence for each goal and rate how well the criteria for each goal have been satisfied (4 = Excellent; 3 = Good; 2 = Average; 1 = Acceptable; 0 = Not acceptable). The average scores for all four goals will count 20% toward the course grade in Senior Seminar.
Goal I. To know (a) major writers, (b) genres in English, American, and western
and non-western world literatures, (c) historical contexts, and (d) cultural contexts.
Primary courses: Surveys—English 315-316; Earlier British Periods—320, 330, 340; Major Authors—325, 335-336, 337; Later British Periods—350, 360, 361; Early American—380, 381; Later American—382, 383, 384; Genres and Author Groups—375, 475; Ethnic and Women’s Literature—364, 365, 366, 370, 373, 384, 469.
Objectives: The student should be able to demonstrate an understanding of the following
a. Style and Theme. Compare the stylistic and thematic characteristics of two or more authors;
b. Genre. Write an analysis of the characteristics of a particular genre;
c. Historical Context. Demonstrate knowledge of the historical context or literary period of the work or author being examined.
d. Cultural Context. Point out the gendered, ethnic, and racial concerns in that work.
Criterion: Ability to compare the stylistic and thematic elements of two or more authors; explain the techniques and literary contexts of at least one genre; discuss the historical context or literary period of at least one author; explain the gendered, ethnic, and racial concerns in at least one work.
Examples of Evidence: Show one sample paper from one course that fulfills Goal I.
Goal II. To analyze, interpret, and compare literary works in a written argument. Student’s written literary analyses should demonstrate a high level of understanding both of textual form and theme and should contain a cogent thesis as the core of a well- organized argument.
Primary courses: All upper-division courses in composition and literature.
Objective: The student should be able to investigate the relationship between a text’s formal elements and its theme.
Criterion: Evidence such as essay examinations, reports, and papers will demonstrate that students can show the relationship between a text’s formal elements and its theme in (for example) a work of fiction and a poem.
Example of Evidence: Choose the paper that best fulfills Goal II; this paper will not be used as evidence to fulfill any other goal.
Goal III. To understand the history of theory and criticism, to utilize the range of contemporary critical approaches to literature, and to apply the specialized vocabulary of the discipline in written work.
Primary courses: English 300
Objective: The student should be able to analyze critically through multiple theoretical approaches a wide range of texts.
Criterion: Evidence such as essay examinations, reports, and papers will demonstrate that students can apply multiple theoretical approaches to various texts.
Example of Evidence: The student will choose one paper from English 300 or any other upper-division literature course in which particular literary approaches were elicited.
Goal IV. To comprehend the structure of the English language and the basic principles of second language acquisition.
Primary courses: English 319, 418
Objectives: The student should be able to
a. Analyze linguistic elements such as phonemes, morphemes, phrases, and clauses in terms of their form and function. Note: Goal IV applies only to students who complete the English Teacher Preparation Program.
b. On second language acquisition. To be announced.
Criterion: Evidence such as essay examinations, reports, and papers will demonstrate that students can identify language elements and explain the relationships between elements.
Example of Evidence: The student may submit one sample from examinations, papers, or projects from English 319 or 418.
Goal V. In their written work, students will show their awareness of
how writing is a process, their understanding of audience,
purpose, and various rhetorical forms, and a mastery of the conventions of standard written American English.
Primary courses: 304, 305, 310 410.
Objective: The student will submit multiple drafts of a single paper demonstrating an ability to adjust rhetorical form, purpose, and audience of the writing task and an understanding of standard written American English.
Criterion: Evidence such as essay examinations, reports, and papers will demonstrate that students can consistently write effective prose.
Example of Evidence: The student may submit multiple drafts of the same paper or one paper in final form that has undergone multiple drafts.
Portfolio Requirement for English Majors
California State University, Bakersfield
Effective with Senior Seminars taught in Spring 1999, students will prepare a portfolio that displays what they have gained from the major in English. The portfolio is a collection of materials that addresses each of five goals that the program faculty expects students to achieve; and it also includes a personal statement and a brief analysis of each course taken for the major in English. The portfolio will be submitted to the student’s Senior Seminar instructor, and it will be graded by a committee of English faculty. To create the portfolio, each student should present evidence judiciously chosen from all English courses and from other experiences that provide support for the student’s accomplishments as an English major. Questions about the portfolio may be directed to the student’s advisor or to any English faculty member.
Contents of the Portfolio (Presented in Senior Seminar)
I. Title Page (Your name, SSN, date of submission)
II. Table of Contents
III. Personal Statement
A 5-10 page self-analysis of your accomplishments as an English major, to include the following sections:
A. Summary. Summarize how you satisfied (or did not satisfy) the program’s list of goals and objectives. Specify what evidence is provided for each goal and objective and what the evidence shows about the satisfaction of each goal and objective. In addition, we encourage you to show how the major helped you achieve other objectives that are important to you, but that are not listed in the program. If you did not achieve a specific goal or objective, make a good-faith effort to discuss why that goal or objective was not achieved and the extent to which this gap may affect your post-baccalaureate goals.
B. Critique of the English Major. State what you found to be of greatest value in the English major and make suggestions for changes in the curriculum. You may wish to refer to the Course Analysis (see below) to support your conclusions.
C. Future Goals and Plans. Describe your future goals and plans and how the English major relates to those plans.
IV. Course Analyses. Provide a one-page analysis of what you learned from each upper-division course you took, especially learning related to the department’s goals and objectives. We recommend that you write this analysis immediately after each course is completed.
V. Evidence for the Satisfaction of Goals and Objectives. Present evidence for the satisfaction of each of the following goals in the following forms:
Goal I. One sample paper from one course that fulfills Goal I.
Goal II. The best paper from a class that fulfills Goal II; this paper will not be used as evidence to fulfill any other goal.
Goal III. One paper from 300 or from any other upper-division literature course in which particular literary approaches were elicited.
Goal IV. One sample from exams, papers, or projects completed in 319 or 418.
Goal V. Multiple drafts of the same project or one paper in final form that has undergone multiple drafts.