The Personal Development Portfolio Program | College Catalog
Through the Personal Development Portfolio (PDP) program, Bridgewater College focuses on developing students in a holistic way: helping them to develop the skills and perspectives to be passionate lifelong learners who can integrate their varied academic experiences in a meaningful way; helping them become more aware, involved and effective citizens of the communities— campus, local, national, global—to which they belong; helping them learn to examine and make fundamental ethical choices in their activities and to formulate the values from which those choices are made; and helping them understand the importance of emotional and physical wellbeing and possess the skills to pursue wellness during their college years and throughout the rest of their lives.
First-Year: Students enroll in PDP-150 (Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts) or PDP-350 (Integrating the Liberal Arts, for transfer students), a three-credit academic course that provides an introduction to concepts and skills important for a liberal arts education. Students will begin to archive and document their experiences, beginning the portfolio-building process.
Sophomore and Junior Years: Working with their primary academic advisor, students will continue their archiving and documenting activities, reflecting on the many ways their experiences and achievements are shaping them as they develop over the college years.
Senior year: After attending a series of convocations and workshops, students submit a senior reflective e-portfolio. Faculty members then evaluate the e-portfolio and assign a letter grade. A passing grade on the senior e-portfolio is a requirement for graduation.
The Complete Senior E-Portfolio
- A senior reflective essay integrating and discussing the student’s development, personal as well as academic, over the four years, extensively covering all the student’s experiences, both curricular and co-curricular.
- The résumé, meeting specific criteria and accompanied by a cover letter or graduate school application essay.
- Discussion of experiential learning or community service experiences, both within and outside the classroom, and the impact those experiences have on the student’s understanding of citizenship and community responsibility.
- Academic artifacts, such as academic projects, essays, creative work, evaluations, use of data analysis software, videos, use of presentation software, letters of recommendation and other materials that provide documentation of learning experiences discussed within the senior reflective essay.
Central Themes of PDP
- Preparation—PDP-150 (Critical Inquiry in the Liberal Arts) or PDP-350 (Integrating the Liberal Arts, for transfers) prepares the entering first-year student for the non-academic as well as the academic aspects of college life. This course is the basic foundational experience of the liberal arts curriculum and is a required course for all first-year students.
- Critical Analysis/Critical Reflection—The process of critical analysis or critical reflection can be applied to anything the student cares to examine and understand…a text read for a class, a difficult personal experience, a piece of music or art, a laboratory experiment, a community service experience, or even a simple encounter or casual conversation. As the college experience unfolds, critical analysis or critical reflection is practiced until it becomes second nature and the habit of examination and analysis becomes not only the basis of a liberal arts education, but, more importantly, it becomes essential to who the student is as a person.
- Integration—Throughout the four years, the program is the setting by which the student integrates his or her discrete and varied college experiences into a cohesive and coherent whole. In the senior reflective essay, the student considers the many linkages among the various elements of his or her curriculum and co-curriculum, weaving a single narrative in order to give shape and substance to the overall experience.