What is it?

To better prepare COMD students to face the scrutiny and harsh realities that they may encounter after graduation, the COMD department is implementing a Sophomore Review. The purpose of this review is to better support our students as they move through our program by nurturing strengths and identifying weaknesses early on. Presenting work is a learned skill students need to practice. By introducing this expectation early in their college experience, students can better develop these necessary skills and become more accustomed to refining and improving their assignments.  

Participation in the Sophomore Review will be required of all COMD students entering the BFA degree and is based primarily on creative performance rather than GPA. The Sophomore Review is a process that provides an opportunity for the COMD faculty to review the entirety of a student’s studio coursework to date. The review is an assessment of students’ overall preparedness for junior-level work and provides feedback as to next steps if areas of weakness are determined. The Sophomore Review is also the point when COMD students decide what they want to focus on in the BFA program. 


All foundation students will be required to present an ePortfolio of their design projects after completing COMD2400 Communication Design II, or completion of 60 credits.

The focus of the Sophomore Review is on the totality of the projects presented, with emphasis placed on the ability to demonstrate the expertise needed to be successful in upper-division courses. The review process serves as both an advisement milestone AND a way to assess and guide students toward a successful creative career.

Students are expected to showcase at least 2 final projects in their ePortfolio from each of the foundation classes they take during their AAS degree (see courses listed below). Supporting documentation such as research, a writing sample, contextual statements, and sketches can be included and also contribute to the evaluation as secondary elements.


  1. ePortfolio Creation
    In their first semester, students create a COMD specific ePortfolio on the OpenLab. This templated, WordPress site is pre-populated with categorized posts for each of the COMD foundation course.
  2. ePortfolio Content: Courses Throughout the first two years, in each COMD AAS course students are required to archive their best coursework from each class. This process, guided by course leaders, is integrated into the two-year Foundation curriculum and the department culture. Course leaders will:
    • identify required or recommended class projects from AAS courses 
    • identify dates in semester for faculty to encourage students to uploaded work to ePortfolio, i.e. MidTerm and Final
    • provide guidelines to both faculty and students outlining dates, details, and deadlines 
  3. ePortfolio Curation: In COMD2400 students will devote a portion of the semester to curating their  OpenLab ePortfolio coursework archive in preparation for the Sophomore Review. At this point, students meet one-on-one with a faculty member to evaluate their readiness for graduation (AAS) and upper-level study (BFA). Students are reviewed on a standard rubric, provided feedback, and assigned an advisor to guide them.

Guidelines & Handouts

Here are guidelines for faculty teaching foundation courses that can be downloaded and shared with faculty and students, providing additional details about the required assignments for ePortfolios:


Courses Included

Benefits to Students

  • One on one portfolio review at associate levels with an advisor
  • Sense of ownership over their work 
  • Better preparedness for presenting and talking about their work  
  • Comfortable taking criticism and revising their work  
  • Advisement and career advice  
  • Support for all students (AAS, Transfer, BFA)  
  • Better preparedness for COMD4801 Portfolio Portfolio Requirements 

Benefits to Department

  • Ensure a stronger connection to students earlier on.
  • Create more meaningful, personal and impactful advising.
  • Offer guidance and support when needed.
  • Highlight and nurture student toward a creative career.
  • Create better SP and Portfolio outcomes.
  • Make students more comfortable in presenting.
  • Place emphasis on quality not just grades.
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