The Portfolio

by Tolu Taiwo

One of my favorite things about CSU’s SAHE program is the absence of a required thesis. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a super nerd at heart. I’m on our Journal Board because nothing gives me more joy (besides ice cream, productive 1-on-1s, and How I Met Your Mother, of course) than gaining knowledge and reading about student affairs issues. And although I’m not super-in love with my research class, I do like hearing about my cohort members topics for our final paper. If knowledge is power, I am like the Pokémon trainer, trying to catch and soak up all the wisdom and put it in my. Terrible analogy, yes. But you get the point.

However, our final project is a portfolio, a shining proclamation of our time here as a SAHE grad, the written accumulation of all the competencies that we’ll (hopefully) meet once the two years are over. Basically, a portfolio includes 12-24 reflections that talk about professional and knowledge-based competencies, a personal statement and professional development plans, self-assessments, overall reflection on the SAHE experience, and more.

Now, a portfolio is not for everyone. One of my good friends is in the Indiana HESA program, and she is having the time of her LIFE crafting her thesis, something that she would have missed if she had come to CSU. Every prospective graduate student needs to choose whether or not they want a thesis paper or a project like a portfolio to describe their graduate program years. And for all my nerd-like tendencies and love-fests with research papers, I chose a portfolio. It’s different, it’s intriguing, it’s tough, and it’s one of the major reasons I decided to come to CSU. I knew that one thing I needed to work on –and still need to work on—was reflecting on experiences, and the portfolio definitely gives me a chance to do so (again…12-24 reflections. Broken down, that’s at least three each semester. I didn’t know how to constructively contemplate my life prior to SAHE, but I sure as heck will be a pro at it in about a year and a half from now). Plus, having all your SAHE experiences, goals, and assessments in one places is a handy way for you to articulate what you’ve learned and the skills you gained, especially during future job hunts.

Of course, as I said before, not all SAHE/HESA/student affairs and higher education programs have portfolio-like final projects. What are some other ways graduate students in different programs assess their met student affairs competencies?

Student Affairs - the First Years

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