Portfolio classes are an academic success

            As the fall semester comes to a close, a few students participating in Maryville College’s latest unique, academic offering, an interdisciplinary course program, reflect on their experiences of combining various perspectives from different topics.

            Debuted this year, the program allows students taking at least two of three preexisting classes selected as part of the program to also enroll in an elective course dubbed the “portfolio” class. The portfolio class is worth one credit hour and meant to be a time for students to come together and reflect on what they are learning about in the other classes.

            According to the College Catalog, portfolio courses are part of the “Life Enrichment Program” and are “a means to enrich and diversify student’s educational experience.” The class format focuses on group discussions and participation along with more activities, such as outside speakers or film viewings, than the average class.

            This semester, World Religions taught by Dr. Andrew Irvine; Renaissance, Baroque and Modern Art taught by Dr. Carl Gombert; and Contemporary Global Issues taught by Dr. John Gallagher have been the specific courses chosen to be a part of the program. Four students enrolled in the portfolio class this time around, including sophomore International Business major Meredith Bonee.

            “I took Contemporary Global Issues with Dr. Gallagher and World Religions with Dr. Irvine,” Bonee said in her written, personal reflection—an assignment each student in the portfolio class had to complete. “These two classes deeply increased my knowledge on said subjects, but portfolio took my understanding to the next level.”

            Being a volleyball player, Bonee often had to miss portfolio but was usually able to meet with the other students outside of class to talk about topics such as the differences between knowing information about something versus actually being a part of or experiencing said something.

            “My peers and I would meet in Pearsons and discuss what we thought was relevant that week to bring up in class,” Bonee said. “The adaptability of meetings with my fellow portfolio students is, in my opinion, part of what makes integrated curriculum portfolio so special.”

            Nayeli Carreno, sophomore International Business major, took the portfolio class in conjunction with two of the selected courses for this semester. Carreno too found portfolio to be a great learning experience and a class to remember.

            “I liked that our portfolio class was so small. I got to know my classmates very well this way,” Carreno said in her final, written reflection. “My favorite part about the portfolio course was having the freedom to choose how we wanted to present a final project. We collectively chose to modernize a piece of art.”

            The group’s project came to be a collage that touched on various ideas that they had encountered throughout the semester such as religion, women and gender roles.

            “The final product reflected on the distinction between a good member of society versus a bad member of society or who was in or out of heaven’s gate in the ‘Last Judgement,” Carreno said. “We touched on religious aspects we see in our democracy … [and] zoned in on the main religion of Christianity.”

            Next semester, International Politics (PLS 212) taught by Dr. Scott Henson, Money and Banking (ECN 332) taught by Dr. Reeves Johnson, and Development and Globalization (SOC 320) taught by Dr. Andrew Gunnoe will be the particular courses available in conjunction with the portfolio class and interdisciplinary program.

            The one-hour portfolio class is held weekly on Fridays at 2 p.m. For more information or to see if you can still enroll into one of the classes, feel free to talk to your advisor.

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