Each PTW graduate student is assigned to work one-on-one with a graduate faculty member starting in the student’s first semester of study in the program. The assignments are usually made during the fall orientation meeting or in an advising appointment with the graduate coordinator. Assignments are based mainly on compatibility between the student’s interests and the graduate faculty member’s area of expertise, although issues like personal compatibility and faculty workload are also factors.
The faculty member serves as the graduate student’s portfolio mentor until one of three things happens:
1) The student enrolls in RHET 7390 and completes the mandatory assessment portfolio, or
2) The student completes a defense portfolio and passes his or her defense, or
3) Either the student or the faculty member requests reassignment.
Portfolio mentors serve as personal writing coaches for the graduate students they mentor during their time in the program; students may or may not ever be formally enrolled in their mentor’s courses. The portfolio mentor helps individual students assess their progress in achieving the MA program’s learning objectives through the writing samples that the student shares with his or her mentor each semester. We believe it’s valuable for students and faculty to have this interaction in a non-graded setting, separating feedback on writing from concerns about the student’s GPA or performance in a particular course. Students are required to meet with their portfolio mentors at least once per semester (although they are welcome to schedule appointments whenever they have questions or ideas to discuss).
All students in the program produce a web-based portfolio of their work sometime prior to graduation. Students who choose the thesis option for the degree will create an assessment portfolio in RHET 7390. The portfolio mentor will help the student choose and reflect appropriately on samples for this portfolio. After students complete RHET 7390, the portfolio mentoring relationship is dissolved, and students then focus on working with their thesis chair and committee members on their thesis project.
Students who choose the portfolio option for the degree will develop their defense portfolios in consultation with their portfolio mentor and committee members. The structure and number of writing samples appearing in this portfolio is negotiated between the student and the portfolio committee chair. The portfolio mentoring relationship is dissolved after the student successfully passes his or her portfolio defense.
In most cases, students work with the same portfolio mentor from the day they enter the program to the day they complete RHET 7390 or pass their portfolio defense. However, if a student or a graduate faculty member believes that the portfolio mentoring relationship has become uncomfortable or unproductive, either the student or the faculty member may contact the graduate coordinator to request reassignment. Such requests will be automatically granted without prejudice to either party.