Written by former program assistant Cat Guzman 10F
Around this time three years ago, I remember stressing over my Division I portfolio. I had met all of my requirements, so I was (technically) ready to pass, but I felt overwhelmed and mentally unprepared. The urgent e-mails that flooded my inbox sometimes added to the pressure instead of motivating me, and with finals just around the corner, the process felt so daunting that I ended up waiting until the beginning of my second year to do it.
Looking back, I realize I probably would have saved myself the extra pressure to pass if I had just done it when I was first ready. What I needed was to see the process from a different and simpler perspective.
Let’s break it down into individual steps:
1. First, courses! Take one course in four of these five distribution areas (totaling four courses):
- Arts, Design, and Media (ADM)
- Culture, Humanities, and Languages (CHL)
- Mind, Brain, and Information (MBI)
- Physical and Biological Sciences (PBS)
- Power, Community, and Social Justice (PCSJ)
Take three elective courses (these are courses that don’t necessarily hit a distribution area, and are totally determined by YOU).
So, a grand total of SEVEN courses will comprise your Division I portfolio. And along the way, make sure you’ve progressed in these cumulative skills:
- Progress/proficiency in analytical writing and informed research practice
- Progress/proficiency in quantitative skills
- Engagement with multiple cultural perspectives
- Progress/proficiency in the ability to successfully undertake independent work
2. Complete at least one CEL-1 (Campus Engaged Learning) activity, totaling 40 hours. Your retrospective essay will include reflection on your CEL-1 activities, so be thinking about how they fit into your overall Division I experience.
3. Write a retrospective essay on your academic experience thus far (more on this in a future blog post).
4. Create a portfolio of your best work over the course of the year (more on this soon too!).
5. Set up a final meeting with your advisor, and submit your Division I portfolio.
By this time, you’ll be wrapping up your courses and CEL-1 activity for the year, so the actual portfolio (including the retrospective) is the only thing that stands in your way of passing and becoming a Div II! Theoretically speaking, you could pass next semester—but who wants to dwell on officially passing their Division I over the summer? Save yourself the pressure, and get it done now if you can!
Feeling like you might be ready to pass Division I? Here’s a suggested timeline:
- April: Make an appointment with your advisor for Progress Review Week. You’ll be expected to give your advisor your Division I portfolio, including your retrospective essay (more on these items in an upcoming blog post!). By now, you should be completing your CEL-1 activities. Remember that you need to complete the online passing process in addition to meeting with your advisor!
- May: If you’ve completed all of your Division I requirements, you will be expected to submit your portfolio to pass Division I. Complete the online passing process: you will be asked to select your Division I courses and post your Division I retrospective essay (which includes your CEL-1 reflection, check for guiding questions on TheHub). Make an appointment to review your portfolio and have a passing meeting with your advisor during progress review week (May 5-9). You can’t officially pass Division I until all of your evaluations are in, so your advisor will probably check the box on TheHub to indicate that you’ve passed sometime between the end of June and early September. If you have not completed all of the requirements for Division I, you must still meet with your advisor and agree upon a plan for the completion of Division I.
- September: Happy School Year! Passed Division I? You can begin to draft your Division II contract on TheHub now.
I hope this helps put things into perspective, but if you find yourself still feeling lost or overwhelmed, stay tuned for a future blog post where I’ll break down the steps of creating your Division I portfolio, including writing your retrospective! Also, mark your calendars for this year’s Division I Portfolio Making Party, which will be held on Tuesday, April 29 at 7 p.m. in the FPH Faculty Lounge. Laura Melbin from CASA will be in attendance, and we’ll provide lots of snacks and portfolio-making supplies!
Good luck, and don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns!