As students majoring in the Foods and Nutrition program at UPEI, you are preparing for the privileged role of a nutrition professional. Being a nutrition professional involves a great deal more than just wanting to help others have a better life. Careers in this field involve significant personal reflection to enhance your personal awareness, a rigorous process of professional preparation and a growing knowledge and understanding of how societal influences are involved in professional practices.
One aspect of this preparation process is the development of a professional portfolio. The portfolio provides you with the opportunity to reflect on your learning and integrate that learning into a more holistic understanding of your future role as a professional (whatever that profession might be). Your portfolio will document your learning journey to-date.
Reasons to complete a portfolio:
There are many reasons to create a professional portfolio. In an interview setting, a portfolio provides proof of your skills and abilities. Instead of just talking about what you can do you can show the interviewer your portfolio filled with work samples you have created, lists of skills you possess, letters of recommendation, and your professional goals. It may just give you the competitive edge you need to get the job!
Creating a professional portfolio provides opportunities for you to:
? Integrate the learning that has taken place in all your required and elective classes;
? Articulate how various experiences have contributed to your learning;
? Link theory with your practice;
? More fully develop your logical and critical thinking and writing abilities;
? Use your personal creativity and expression; and
? Develop your reflective abilities.
The time and effort you put into the development of your portfolio is a true investment in your career.
What is a Professional Portfolio?
A professional portfolio is a collection of documents and usually includes:
Statement of originality A paragraph stating that this is your work and asking your readers to keep it confidential
Professional (or work) philosophy A brief description of your beliefs about yourself and the food and nutrition profession
Career goals Your professional goals for the next two to five years
Brief biography A brief narrative of yourself written in the third person.
Resume A brief summary of your education and experiences
Skill areas Tabbed sections containing information on the different types of skills you want to promote such as: management, education, communication, research etc.
Each skill area may contain: A reflective statement indicating why you have included this particular work sample. Physical examples of your work. Evaluation comments, forms or rubrics for course assignments. Letters of recommendation
Works in progress A brief list of work, activities, projects or efforts you are in the process of completing
Certifications, diplomas, degrees Copies of certifications, diplomas, and degrees earned.
Scholarships, and awards Copies of special awards and recognitions you have received. Include a list of any scholarships or awards you have received.
Community or volunteer service Work samples, letters of recognition, photos of completed projects, programs and brochures relating to community service projects and/or volunteer experiences.
Professional memberships/affiliations Membership cards, citations and letters related to professional organizations.
References A list of people who can verify your character, academic record, or employment history.
What Supplies do You Need to Get Started?
o The portfolio should be organized in a 1.5 or 2? presentation binder. This allows you to have a cover page on the outside of the portfolio.
o The artifacts and reflective statements should be in sheet protectors. I suggest using top-loading ones to hold items more securely. Multiple-paged documents may be placed in one sheet protector. The reflective statements are to be on the left side of the binder, facing the artifacts to which they refer.
o Extended tabs, which enable the tab to be visible beyond the edge of the sheet protectors, separate the sections of the portfolio. An extended binder prevents the tabs from protruding from the edge of the binder.
o Artifacts that you prepare are to be word-processed. Other artifacts, (such as letters, evaluation forms etc.) are to be in their original form.
o Your Professional Portfolio must be neat and professional in appearance, with all components (tab labels included) typed or word-processed unless otherwise indicated.
Instructions for completing your professional portfolio:
Cover Sheet: To be placed on the outside of the binder. Information on the cover should include your name, degree program, University of Prince Edward Island, and date.
Title Page: This will be the first page of your Professional Portfolio. It should be a single sheet of paper that includes your name, contact information, degree program and major information. You can personalize this page with font style, colour, etc. It is important to remember that this is a professional document and will communicate to others who you are in the professional world.
Table of Contents: The second page should list all the components of your Professional Portfolio along with a system to quickly and easily locate any particular item in your portfolio. Tabs used to separate the sections of the portfolio will have labels consistent with the table of contents. I do not recommend numbering pages as this is not very flexible when you want to add an item to your portfolio.
Statement of Originality & Confidentiality: The third page of your portfolio should include a brief statement indicating that this is your work and asking your reader to keep it confidential.
Professional (or work) Philosophy: A statement of professional philosophy is a reflective piece, generally 1 to 2 pages long that summarizes your core values and beliefs and how those values and beliefs have influenced your career choice. You will need to reflect on your personal knowledge, skills, and personality and your vision for the future as a nutrition (or other) professional. Think about what you hope to accomplish with your foods and nutrition degree and how ‘who you are’ has impacted on ‘who you want to be.’ The writing activities that you will be doing in class will help you with this section of your portfolio.
Career Goals: If you don?t know where you are going ? how are you going to know how to get there? We will be working on this in class as well. Goals are usually written for two to five years from now. Where do you want to be? What do you want to be doing? Make sure your goals are measurable. They should be specific enough so that you will know when you have achieved them.
Brief Biography: Write a short summary of your education, work experiences, memberships, community service activities and your professional interests. Keep it conversational in style. Try to make it interesting and not a boring list of everything you have done in your life. Try to imagine reading it out loud to someone. Does it give that person insight into who you are and what experiences you have to offer?
Comprehensive Resum?: A complete 2 page resum? using either a functional or chronological format.
Skill Areas: These will be examples and explanations of artifacts demonstrating your knowledge and skills in at least 2 of the areas identified in your resume. Keep in mind that these artifacts should represent your best work, not an all-inclusive compilation of materials. Be selective. Each artifact must be accompanied by a reflective statement that describes:
? the type of learning experience that you completed that contributed to your learning in this skill area (ie. library research, volunteer experience, group project, field trip)
? a description of the learning experience (a step-by-step description of what you did)
? reflection on the experience ? what did you learn? How has this contributed to your professional development? How do you see this experience contributing to your professional career?
Note: Feel free to include the other components as listed above (certificates, awards etc.). However, these will not be included in the evaluation of your portfolio.
? Remember, creating this Professional Portfolio is a rigorous process. Through this portfolio, you are beginning the process of learning to write professionally. This may be quite different from writing you have done in the past. Be gentle with yourself! Allow yourself time ? good reflections can?t be done in one sitting.
? Part of my role is to be a coach to help you successfully develop your Professional Portfolio. Email or come and see me if you have questions, problems, confusions, ideas for learning experiences.
? Don?t wait until the week before the due date. Students tell me that this assignment always seems to take longer than anticipated.
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