This week, while the majority of students are stuck in their daily routines, students of the film department will be out of class. This vacation from coursework is actually anything but that, as film students will undergo the first of the year’s portfolio reviews. Students that are starting off their senior seminar projects, or are just finishing up their fundamental courses will be involved in this process.
Film professor Thomas Brandau has been involved in the portfolio review process at MSUM since the program first came about four years ago.
Like any form of assessment, these reviews can be somewhat stressful for students, he assures students that it is to be a supportive and positive experience.
“We use portfolio review as an opportunity to assess how we are doing and how the students are doing,” he said. “It is supposed to be all positive.”
According to Brandau, the reviews are a “two-way street” for students and professors.
“It is how we assess how well our students are doing in our program how well we are serving them in the curriculum we offer,” he said.
Students involved in the review process have specific information that they are expected to share with professors depending on how far along they are in the program.
Students who are taking part in their first portfolio review are expected to share something from their first three production classes. Meanwhile, students in their senior year will share their senior seminar project or the thesis of their project.
“It’s not just them showing work,” Brandau said. “It’s also them tying in some of the history, criticism and theory that they have learned.”
According to Brandau, many students have a hard time with this aspect of the reviews, but he encourages students to, even though they may not want to, integrate these ideas into their presentation, as it is “really important” that students ask how what they have learned in their history courses have changed their own production.
Besides integrating what they have learned in their courses into the presentations, Brandau has other advice for students.
“There is no reason to lose sleep over it,” he said. “It is all supposed to a positive, beneficial experience.”
Brandau also encourages students to remember that it is a professional event.
“It’s almost as if they are coming to a job interview, or as if they were presenting to a grant organization,” he said. “We take it seriously.”
Students are encouraged to, like their professors, take the reviews seriously and also make an effort.
“Prepare,” Brandau said. “If you prepare there is nothing to worry about.”
BY ELLEN ROSSOW