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Environmental Sciences and Studies
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Portfolio Instructions

(Spring 2016 version)


Overview: When taking their capstone class, ENVS 490, students will compile an electronic portfolio (through Blackboard) of their best academic work.  

The portfolio highlights accomplishments and experiences in the Environmental Studies/Science major. As a reflection tool, it prepares students for environmental careers and advanced study. As an assessment device, it enables data-driven improvements in advising, curriculum design, and instruction.

The portfolio should represent your best work. Writing should be clear and concise, with well-constructed sentences and good writing mechanics. Select for quality, not quantity. YOU MUST COMPLETE A SATISFACTORY PORTFOLIO BEFORE YOU RECEIVE A GRADE IN ENVS 490. (The portfolio is graded S/U).

Collect materials demonstrating your BEST work in each of the following areas. Ideally, use no piece of work twice. Consider documents from class projects, homework assignments, lab reports, independent research projects, volunteer work, internships, etc. For coursework materials, select only from courses fulfilling ENST/ ENSC requirements (i.e., not general education or courses from other major/minor courses). Submit clean copies with no markings or grades. You may wish to clean up what you submitted to your professor.   Consult Dr. Bollinger if you have questions.

Key Sections: Please provide documents demonstrating your ability/achievements in the following areas:

Key sections

Number of examples

Your choices

Critical thinking: In relation to an environmental issue, demonstrate critical thinking by engaging in skeptical inquiry, evaluating arguments synthesizing information, drawing well-reasoned conclusions, and/or proposing solutions. 

 At least 1


Diverse viewpoints: In making decisions and proposing actions to address an environmental issue, demonstrate two skills: (a) Considering a diversity of viewpoints (e.g., different stakeholders, academic disciplines, regulatory domains, policy objectives, etc.). Explicitly recognize and describe divergent viewpoints, comparing/contrasting underlying assumption, interests, and objectives. Draw well-reasoned conclusions about the validity/value of these different viewpoints and how they should in the end be balanced, reconciled, or resolved. (b) Practice ethical reasoning by considering the impact on a variety of stakeholders and systems (e.g., whether those with power listen to those without, whether negative effects are disproportionally borne by minority communities, whether actors take responsibility for unintended consequences, whether actions come at the expense of future generations, etc.).

At least 1 for (a) and at least 1 for (b).

At least 1 of these from an upper level ENVS course (350, 495, 490, 510)


Interdisciplinary thinking: Demonstrate understanding of the interconnected, interdisciplinary nature of environmental studies. Given a specific issue, specify the different dimensions, apply appropriate disciplinary knowledge/methods to those dimensions, and integrate across disciplines as needed to fully address the complexity of the issue.

At least 1  


Addressing Problems: Identify and explain major sources of environmental problems and their solutions.

At least 1


Scientific thinking (ENSC only): Understand and apply the scientific process.

Your BIOL 300 final paper and at least one other paper from an upper level science course or project.


Experiential learning: Submit evidence of meaningful, sustained, experiential environmental learning activities, if you have it. These might include reflective statements, summaries, or journals prepared during or at the end of an internship; evidence of and reflection upon appropriate volunteer activities; evidence of or reflections upon appropriate jobs, appropriate study abroad experiences, etc; or posters or papers prepared from undergraduate research experience

At least 1

If you don’t have this or will have something at a later date, please indicate in a brief statement on a separate page.


 Note: Ensure each document is clearly labeled with a title and origin (course, volunteer experience, etc.)

Additional Materials:

Cover sheet – with name, major, minor, and expected graduation date

Professional resume including experiential learning, if possible

Reflection statements for each key section described above.  In no more than 1-1.5 pages, explain the origins of each piece you include in that section and why it fits well in that section.   

Example of portfolio contents