The Marywood University graduate programs in Elementary, Secondary and Menatal Health counseling have been accredited by the Counsel for Accrediting Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Professional Portfolios

John J. Lemoncelli, Ed. D.

Professional Portfolios are an organized collection of materials from courses and other experiences during your academic coursework and field learning opportunities (Mellot, et al, 1997). During the last fifteen years educators have encouraged students to collect samples of their work to demonstrate their individual talents and skills. Portfolio development is now commonplace in undergraduate programs in elementary and secondary education throughout the United States. Less common is the use of Portfolio's in graduate programs in counseling. However, it is the opinion of this writer that the development and presentation of a Professional Portfolio will enhance the counselors ability to demonstrate what he/she has done or is doing to reach his/her professional goals.

Professional Portfolio building, according to Martin (1999) means engaging in a process that results in a product. The process involves five major steps. First, you select a personal or professional goal. Second, you think about how your professional experience relates to that goal. Third, you collect actual times/documents that could demonstrate what you have done (or are doing) to reach your goal. Fourth, you decide which items among your collection best illustrate your achievement of our progress toward your goal.

Let us briefly examine the five-step process:

  1. Selection of personal and professional goal-professional development portfolio's are usually developed to address goals outside of the education or training environment -- such as seeking employment, advancing in a career etc. Careful attention to your goal selection is critical -- Example: seeking a secondary or elementary counseling position.
  2. How do your professional experiences relate to that goal? It is helpful to review the educational experiences you have from the start of your training program up to and including your present work. It is here that you can introduce yourself by resume and description of how you fulfill various counseling roles -- include your philosophic statement about counseling and how it relates to your professional experiences (citing specific coursework or unique experiences is helpful).
  3. Items and documents that indicate what you have done. Brainstorm the variety of items that relate specifically to your academic and training experiences -- Example: Academic transcripts, certifications, practicum and internship supervisors evaluations, classroom projects or presentations, audio and video tape examples of your counseling, in-service experiences, awards, honors, peer evaluation forms, etc.
  4. Choosing the items that best illustrate your achievement toward your goal. It is important to remember that items that reflect skill acquisition and development are as important as your academic transcript.
  5. How to present the selection of items. Example -- File? Binder? Box? Electronic format? Carefully consider which format best suits the presentation of your materials. Of critical importance is the manner in which you organize your materials. A clear roadmap for the reader is essential. Nothing detracts from your portfolio more than the random placement of items that fail to follow an orderly and consistent sequence.