What is it? Students must demonstrate ten graduate competencies through the development of a learning portfolio. The aim of the graduate competencies is to help you develop the ability to create and synthesize knowledge; think critically and reflectively; master written and oral communication skills; demonstrate engineering skills; engage in professional development; participate actively in a professional field or engineering education; teach engineering, and apply your knowledge of instruction, curriculum design, and assessment of engineering science, problem-solving, and design appropriately.
The portfolio also supports formative assessment and self-reflection for improvement by providing opportunities to self-reflect (can you articulate coverage of the competencies and provide evidence?), facilitates advice on how to improve and progress, and provides information on your capacity to undertake program requirements such as the Readiness Assessment, the Preliminary Exam, and the Final Thesis Exam.
Developing the competencies. Opportunities for developing materials to demonstrate competencies will occur in coursework and other settings. Competencies gained through prior education and/or experience can also be applied to the requirements, with appropriate documentation in the portfolio.
The ten ENE competencies should be considered not a static list, but something you should tailor to your personal strengths and professional goals.
Mentored Teaching Practicum
What is it? As part of fulfilling the portfolio requirement, students are encouraged to consider a mentored teaching practicum. The purpose of this practicum is to promote professional development and reflective practice.
Teaching is not only an important part of obtaining the PhD but an important part of an integrated cycle connecting research and practice—where educational practice identifies and motivates questions which lead to educational research that results in answers or insights that help improve educational practice. As such, an important philosophy of our PhD program is “living the virtuous cycle of research and practice."
Portfolio Milestones and Reflection Points
Your Advisory Committee, with approval of the ENE Graduate Committee, will determine the appropriate level of achievement of the competencies. In general, your advisor and advisory committee will review the portfolio every semester to check progress towards completion. Students must complete the process of satisfying the graduate competencies one month prior to scheduling the dissertation defense.
During the first semester: Initiate your portfolio (as part of an assignment for ENE 501). Self-reflect: How might you demonstrate the ENE competencies (what do they mean to you and what does it mean to be able to “do” them)?
During the second semester: Discuss your progress and expectations with your advisor and other mentors (faculty, staff, peers). Seek formative and constructive feedback, and clarify your summer goals and plans before the term ends. Self-reflect: What courses should you take? What experiences can help you develop your ENE competencies?
During the third semester: Review your portfolio to help you discuss your preparedness for taking the Readiness Assessment exam. Self-reflect: Will your plan of study provide solid grounding in the field or prepare you for planning and completing your thesis, can you articulate your abilities (competencies) based on evidence, are you developing appropriate breadth and depth?
Before fifth semester or seventh semester (if a direct PhD): Discuss your progress towards taking the Preliminary Exam with your major professor and advisory committee. Self-reflect: Can you articulate your abilities based on evidence? Establish coverage as well as depth of understanding?
Before sixth semester or eighth semester (if a direct PhD): Review your portfolio, in particular the teaching competency aspect. Self-reflect: Can you plan and teach in an informed way and reflect critically upon your teaching? Can you articulate your abilities based on evidence? Establish coverage as well as depth of understanding?
During the final semester: Complete your portfolio and discuss with your major professor and advisory committee (a rubric to help your committee discuss your portfolio is available at this link (link)). Submit a copy of your portfolio to the Graduate Chair. Use the oral part of the Final Exam to summarize your preparedness for being an engineering education research professional (e.g., your portfolio competencies). Self-reflect: Can you demonstrate that you have developed all ten competencies?
Post PhD: Use elements of your portfolio in your job searches and interviews. Self-reflect: Where can you contribute to society building on what you have learned here?