Lack of Communication Over New FILA-450 Requirements


Katie Baker

On Sept. 15, Associate Professor World Languages and Cultures Grace Martin led the first informational meeting for FILA 450 in Cole Hall. The meeting was for December and April graduates and counted as the first professional development meeting of five that seniors are now required to complete.

Mackenzie Hammack, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va.- Bridgewater College has added a requirement to attend professional development events held by Career Services to the FILA-450 portfolio project, leading to confusion and frustration from some seniors.

Seniors are now required to attend five of the events, which includes an overall information session on the portfolio assignment. The new requirements took effect this semester, and the goal is for students to attend the events the semester before their portfolio is due.

Seniors are required to register for these events through Handshake, which is the scheduling app that the Center for Career Development, formerly known as Career Services, uses. Director for the Center of Career Development Jennifer Nelson explained that this app is used rather than Penji, a service used by other departments, due to the job search functions the app offers.

Information about these new requirements has largely only been made available to seniors through emails and a Canvas page that they have access to. However, seniors, including those graduating in December, were not given access to this Canvas page until October.

“It’s rough,” said senior Kat Zablocki. “I wish that they had given us more information over the summer. I feel like they could have given a heads-up at the beginning of August, instead of well into September, to communicate anything.” 

Currently, the FILA-450 WordPress site with general information is also out of date. Due dates for the spring semester have been updated, but the new requirements have not been added. The website states, 


“The only way that BC has communicated with me about the new expectations for the FILA-450 is through email stating that all seniors must attend one of the seminar meetings to learn more about the FILA-450 project,” said senior Lexi Lease. “Otherwise, there has been no discussion from professors or the people in charge of this program to help guide us through the process.”

One criticism that the new element of FILA-450 is facing is the fact that it shortened the timeline for seniors graduating this December. December graduates will have to attend the professional development requirements this semester while working on their portfolios, whereas future seniors will attend the events before making their portfolios.

“I can see where they’re trying to be helpful in helping us get ready for ‘our futures’ by requiring us to go to five different professional development sessions, but it feels really rushed for December graduates,” said Zablocki, who is graduating in December and had to complete the events and portfolio this fall.

“Adding on the components about the requirement for students to go to multiple different events in the semester before the portfolio is due provides them with more context for making it all make sense and for putting it together,” said Associate Provost Jamie Frueh, who played a part in creating these new requirements.