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Portfolio Process Assessment Reflection

Christopher J. Van Drimmelen
Seattle University
Student Development Administration


The process of creating my final portfolio for the Student Development Administration
program has been an enlightening and (mostly) enjoyable experience. Being able to see
evidence of meeting all ten learning outcomes for the program has been gratifying; at the
beginning of the program, it is difficult to see how in two short years one could become an
expert in all of these areas along with all of the NASPA/ACPA areas of competence. While
expert may not be the right word, since I will continue to learn for my entire career, I can see
from my artifacts and reflections that the SDA program has set me up well to be a student of
students for many years to come.
Of the lessons that I have learned from this process, the first is that I am inherently a
generalist. While I knew previously that I enjoy roles with diverse responsibilities, the fact that I
was able to cover all ten learning outcomes just by selecting my best work in the program
highlights my enjoyment and ability to excel in many different areas in student affairs, from
finance, to law, to international education. I wish to keep a broad scope of responsibility and
learning in my future work.
My second significant learning in this process was that nobody could speak to my
learning better than I can. I will admit that I was skeptical of the portfolio process in the
beginning, because I am used to formal class structures around this kind of assignment, with
grades and formative assessment along the way. While Capstone provided some of this,
ultimately the portfolio is for me in order to demonstrate my learning. This is going to be how
most of the learning in my career happens, for me and those around me, so being able to reflect
like this (even if Im not constantly building a portfolio in the future) is essential.

Finally, I learned through this process that being able to articulate my strengths and
weaknesses in my own way will ultimately make me a stronger professional. Knowing what I
know, and more importantly what I dont know, will help me to engage in teaching where I am
strong, and engage first in learning where I am not.
While I feel that my portfolio is a very strong body of work, some discussion that
occurred with my committee after my presentation prompted me to think about it as an authentic
representation of my experience. While I feel that I have fully demonstrated mastery of the
learning outcomes, some of my portfolio artifacts may not have been the most authentic way in
which to demonstrate that mastery. We are asked to focus on academic content in our portfolio
artifacts, and I had no problem finding academic pieces with which to fill it, however most of my
moments of learning that have been most transformative while in this program have been in the
application of course material to my work outside of the classroom. The structure of the
portfolio is such that this is very difficult to quantify and make into an artifact, and so some of
the demonstrations of learning are less authentically me than I would like, even though they are
technically complete.
I was, however, able to discuss some of these learnings and even tie them back to my
portfolio during my presentation. Having the freedom to do so made my presentation a strong
articulation of what I have learned in the program from a holistic perspective that included both
academic and non-academic aspects.
As my final thoughts on the process, there are two pieces of feedback that I would give.
First, while I feel that the comprehensive learning outcome narrative is a great improvement over
the artifact reflections of previous portfolio years, the instructions were convoluted and not

particularly clear at points. Part of this may have stemmed from the lack of available examples
given that this is the first year under the new model. Second, I would like to give positive
feedback around the Capstone course and its role in the construction of our portfolios. I think
that how the process is scaffolded is very helpful in that we start making artifacts for class but
finish on our own.