How to Submit a SAGES Writing Portfolio

2014-2015 Academic Year

After the completion of their second University Seminar, students compile final Writing Portfolios and submit them to the SAGES office. The Writing Portfolio documents a student’s development as a writer over their first three SAGES seminars and provides the University with feedback that will be used to enhance the SAGES program. The Writing Portfolio includes an essay from each of the three seminars a student has taken part in to this point, as well as a Reflective Essay.


It is solely up to you, the student, to assemble and deliver your final portfolio. Seminar instructors and the Writing Resource Center can discuss strategies for archiving written work and for building your portfolio, but they do not retain copies of your essays. You should retain copies of all papers you write for SAGES courses.




The Portfolio is due the semester following your second University Seminar. If you completed your second University Seminar in a Spring or Summer semester, the deadline for submitting the Portfolio is the first of November of that year. If you completed your second University Seminar in a Fall Semester, the deadline for submitting the Portfolio is the first of March of the following year. If you completed your second University Seminar more than six months ago, the deadline for submitting the portfolio has already passed, and it must be turned in as soon as possible.




The writing portfolio must contain the following material, in this order:


1. Submission Form (download the Submission Form here)

2. A 2- to 3-page reflective essay

3. One essay from your First Seminar.

4. One essay from a University Seminar.

5. A research paper from your other University Seminar. This paper is typically 10 to 12 pages; at a minimum, it must contain 8 pages of prose (not counting the bibliography). The research essay must integrate and cite primary and/or secondary source material and include a properly formatted bibliography page or bibliographic footnotes (see additional details below).




Prompt: 'Reflecting on the essays included in your portfolio, discuss how your writing has developed across your first-year and university SAGES seminars. Provide evidence and examples from your essays and/or your writing process to demonstrate your development. (2-3 pages)'


Portfolio readers are genuinely interested in your own thinking about the writing you did in SAGES as well as the writing you do or plan to do outside of SAGES. They are most interested in what you have learned about the relation of writing to ideas and to your own critical thinking.




Your portfolio must contain a research paper from one of your two University Seminars. By "research paper," SAGES means a sustained engagement with an academic conversation - summarizing and critiquing what others have said on your topic - that includes your own novel claim or argument. This paper must do more than catalog the research you have done (i.e., an annotated bibliography is not sufficient); it should demonstrate your ability to synthesize academic research on a specific topic and to offer your own analysis or critical intervention. Such a paper will have a single controlling idea that represents your own thinking about the topic. A laboratory report, therefore, is not an appropriate substitute, unless it goes well beyond reporting the procedure and results of an experiment.


The research paper should be approximately 10-12 pages long; the absolute minimum length is 8 pages of prose (not counting the bibliography). The research essay must integrate and cite primary and/or secondary source material and include a properly formatted bibliography.


If you did not have the opportunity to write a research paper in either of your University Seminars (a fact you would document by submitting copies of the syllabi from those seminars), or if your SAGES research papers are insufficiently long, consult the SAGES director ( about the possibility of submitting a paper from a non-SAGES course.


You must not submit two papers from the same class - you must submit one paper from each of the two University Seminars. At least one of those papers has to be a research paper. You can, if you wish, submit two research papers.




Page numbers should appear on individual essays.


Please use a large paper clip or binder clip to fasten the portfolio together. No staples, please.  We have large clips for you to use when you drop off your portfolio.


All essays submitted in a writing portfolio should be your own work. Faculty reviewers do not encourage the inclusion of collaboratively written papers, but if you wish to include multi-authored work, you must justify its inclusion and explain your individual contribution to the final product in a reader’s note (~1 page) attached to the front of the essay. No more than one such project may be included in the final portfolio.


You should include the final versions of essays. There is no need to revise these essays prior to portfolio submission. As you decide which papers to include, you are welcome to consult your writing instructor, faculty seminar leaders, the Writing Resource Center, or the SAGES Peer Writing Crew in developing your writing portfolio.


Completed Writing Portfolios should be brought to the SAGES office at Crawford 110. If you are not on campus, arrangements can be made to email your portfolio. Please contact




After a portfolio has been submitted, it is reviewed by the SAGES Portfolio Coordinator. An acceptable portfolio must not only be complete (with all essays and paperwork present and appropriate) but also demonstrate a student’s effort to assemble the portfolio and craft a thoughtful reflection on their writing. Once a portfolio has met these requirements, the student will receive an email confirming that the portfolio has satisfied the University's composition requirement for graduation. 


Each year, SAGES convenes a committee of faculty from several schools within the university to read and assess the portfolios to provide valuable feedback about our seminar curriculum and writing instruction. While students will not receive specific feedback on their portfolio, SAGES publicly recognizes the best submissions.




Please send questions to


You can make an appointment with the Writing Resource Center here or with the SAGES Peer Writing Crew by visiting TutorTrac.


[This page updated Fall 2014]