Into the Labyrinth : A PhD Comprehensive Portfolio

Step By Step

"I think that even though we need to have some outline, I am sure that we make the road by walking. ... I see this thing as just unfolding as we go along" (Horton & Freire, 1990, p. 6-7).

     This comprehensive portfolio is a reflective moment to stop, look back, and look forward along the path towards completing my PhD dissertation. Although there is some sort of outline, I am unfolding this portfolio as I write. Now, I envision myself standing at the centre of the labyrinth. From this vantage point in the centre of the Joint PhD program, I share the steps that outline how I got here. First, I begin with academic growth gained within the course work from Doctoral Seminar 1 (July 2018), Cognition and Learning (Fall 2018), Self Directed Study (Winter 2019), Doctoral Seminar 2, (July 2019), and the Research Colloquium course (Fall 2019). Second, I share the scholarly tasks that shape my unicursal yet non-linear path through peer reviewed publication, non-peer reviewed publication, grant applications, conference presentations, and additional scholarly tasks. Finally, from the centre of the labyrinth, I reveal my ontological, epistemological positionality in a literature review, an exploration of research frameworks that inform next steps toward completing the PhD dissertation, and an analysis of alternative dissertation presentations. These elements crystallize the competencies I have gained thus far, as evidence of my readiness to complete my research and dissertation. 

     I recognize the imperfectness and embrace the "unfinalisability" (Midgley & Trimmer, 2013) of this comprehensive portfolio document. While espousing to demonstrate knowledge, understanding, competencies, and synthesis, this portfolio also "embraces, reveals, and even celebrates knowledge as inevitably situated, partial, constructed, multiple, and embodied" (Ellingson, 2009). This portfolio is shaped by ontologies and epistemologies that will also frame my dissertation research. These elements will be explored in greater depth in The Centre of the Labyrinth section of this portfolio. I first outline a brief description of the Joint PhD courses, followed by a deeper reflection and analysis of learning and experiences from these courses.

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