Medal of Excellence

2019 Award Recipients
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Why complete the Medal of Excellence?
By completing the requirements for the Bush School Medal of Excellence, graduate students take advantage of educational and experiential opportunities that equip them to contribute positively to the professional world. Students who want to earn the Medal should begin their first semester by attending the required workshops and should meet with writing consultants, which will help them learn how to write reflections over their learning experiences to produce a well-developed ePortfolio. By the end of their second year, they must meet all of the ePortfolio and the Leadership Certificate requirements to earn the Medal of Excellence.
Degree-seeking Bush School students are invited to pursue this Medal of Excellence. Requirements for the Medal are described in the Medal of Excellence Completion Checklist. Students who satisfactorily complete these requirements will be awarded an engraved Bush School Medal of Excellence that will be worn at graduation. They will receive the medal and a certificate at an awards ceremony held in the spring of the year they graduate. Read more about the the first award recipient in The Daily Brief: The Online Chronicle of News at the Bush School and the award ceremonyAn overview of the program can be found at The Bush School website.

What is an integrative learning (reflective) ePortfolio?
An integrative learning ePortfolio requires the student to connect learning experiences in order to build a cumulative case for relevant competencies. The ePortfolio documents what the student has learned throughout his or her degree program through well-written reflections that support the competencies required for the type of work he is pursuing. Thus, the ePortfolio is not merely a showcase of writing samples produced from coursework; it is a collection of reflections about what the student has learned from interdisciplinary experiences, such as participation in leadership programs, courses, internships, and other experiences, in light of the careers they are pursuing. Students developing the ePortfolio are supported through workshops, online resources, and individual consultations with both the writing consultants and their academic advisors. 

Why create an integrative learning (reflective) ePortfolio?
  1. Employers value what they can learn about a potential candidate through the information an ePortfolio provides.  The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) sponsored an employer study to identify priorities in college students’ learning and success [1]. Four out of five employers indicated an electronic portfolio would be helpful in the hiring process to demonstrate students’ knowledge, skill, and work experience. Thus, you can use your ILP to explain how your participation in your degree program, including the coursework, individual interests, internship, and co-curricular activities, has prepared you for the career you are pursuing.
  2. Employers value applicants with higher-order thinking skills: “More than three in four employers say they want colleges to place more emphasis on helping students develop five key learning outcomes, including: critical thinking, complex problem-solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge in real-world settings” (AACU, p.1).  Thus, the ePortfolio prompts you to explain how you have applied these skills within your particular degree program and how you expect to use these skills in the future.
  3. ePortfolios allow flexibility in development and design. They can be used to demonstrate unique learning paths individuals take to reach their professional outcomes. Thus while students may be pursuing similar learning outcomes, the paths they take to reach those will look different and can be easily communicated through a strategically developed ePortfolio. In addition, the flexibility of an ePortfolio permits the student  to "make learning visible" [2] to those who need to know more than what they can learn from a resume or interview.
What skills will students develop preparing and ePortfolio?
Developing an effective ePortfolio requires students to (1) write meaningful reflections, documenting where, how, and when learning has occurred and to what to degree learning is transferrable to new contexts; (2) apply best practices for online writing, including the use of privacy levels best suited for their intended career paths; and (3) revise written work to demonstrate strong editing skills.  Beginning next fall, a zero-credit course, BUSH 602-600: Writing for the Medal of Excellence, will be offered to students who want to begin working on their ePortfolios while learning writing skills they can apply beyond the course.

How and when should you get started with your ePortfolio?
Visit the writing consultants as soon as possible to begin planning your ePortfolio. Keep an eye out for workshops on ePortfolio preparation to be delivered in the fall and spring. Workshop dates will be posted on the Bush School Writing website calendar at the bottom of the home page.

Where are the Bush School ePortfolio resources?
Use this resource to learn more about developing your Bush School ePortfolio.

Join our Bush School Medal of Excellence Facebook Group to participate in discussions about developing your ePortfolio and to receive important reminders regarding workshops and submission deadlines.

[1] Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2013). It takes more than a major: Employer priorities for college learning and student success. Hart Associates: Author. Liberal Education, 99(2).
[2] Batson, Trent. 2015. "What is an ePortfolio? is the wrong question" Batson Blog.  4 May. (4 May 2015).