The ProGen Practicum is a program that has been developed and implemented annually since 2021, by its founder, Jan Joyce. The objective of the program is to help prepare participants for certification through BCG by practicing the main elements of the BCG portfolio.
Mixing a combination of techniques, the program aims for significant improvement for each participant from giving and receiving peer reviews as well as receiving individual mentor feedback.
The Practicum syllabus covers the following elements:
Deconstruction of a published case study (warm-up)
Writing a common case study*
Writing your own case study
Revising your own case study*
Document work, including transcription, abstraction, document analysis, identifying a research question, and crafting a research plan
Kinship Determination Project (KDP)
Writing a common KDP.
Writing your own KDP
Revising your KDP*
* Individualized mentor feedback provided.
Unique techniques are provided throughout the program that maximize learning. These include:
- Utilization of “common” research subject for the first case study and family narrative.
- Peer review techniques to isolate concepts, case study, citations, sources, analysis, and more.
- Application of BCG rubrics to each appropriate assignment.
Little outside reading is required other than Genealogy Standards, the BCG Application Guide, and the BCG Rubrics.
Writing is the core of this program. The majority of your time will be spent writing, as most of the research will have been done prior to beginning the program.
Giving and receiving peer feedback is an important aspect of the program. It maximizes learning when you receive a variety of constructive feedback comments as well as when you are forced to constructively critique others. “Aha” moments occur when you realize how well a peer addressed an opportunity.
You will receive individual feedback from the mentor on four assignments (noted above with the single asterisk). This feedback will be posted in the Basecamp forum, and other students will be able to access it if desired.
An example of the common proof argument will also be provided for you to compare against your own (noted above with a single asterisk).
- Time: A significant time commitment is required. Students spend between 15 and 60 hours for each assignment. Assignment cycles vary between 4 and 6 weeks. Thus, plan on up to ten hours a week on average.
- Commitment: Dedication to this educational opportunity is required. It is suggested that no other major commitments are on your calendar.
- Recommendation: A positive recommendation from your ProGen mentor and coordinator is required for program acceptance.
- ProGen: Participating students must have successfully completed ProGen and ideally, GenProof.
- Attendance: Review the calendar. You must be able to meet and participate in all of the planned meetings.
- Attitude: A great attitude and flexibility will go a long way in this program. It is still being tweaked and tested, and your input to improving it is appreciated.
- Work Level: Your work sample must meet educational and experiential requirements that will make you, and your peers, successful in this program. This will be assessed in advance of matriculation.
- Certification: Your goal is to become certified.
Before Program Begins
- If you are accepted into the program, these pre-program activities are required.
- Identify your own research subject(s) for the proof argument and family narrative. Use ProGen assignments if possible. There is not enough time to do new research. The assignments must meet the requirements of the BCG Application Guide, so confirm yours do. For example, the Case Study (Proof Argument) must be a question of significance usually regarding identity, relationship, or activity.
- Begin reviewing documents for the common assignments (in Basecamp).
- Familiarize self with the BCG Application Guide and Rubrics and Genealogy Standards.
Meetings and Calendar
- Assignments are due two Sundays before the meetings (see orange shading on calendar).
- Peer feedback is due on Sundays, two days before the Tuesday meetings (see green shading on calendar).
- Meetings will occur approximately every five weeks on Tuesdays as per the calendar (see yellow shading).
- Tuesday meetings are expected to begin at 12 noon ET / 9 am PT and may take up to 120 minutes.
- The cost of the program in 2024 is $600.
- No refunds will be given after the student has committed to the program if the student drops out.
- If the enrolled student does not perform to expectations for any reason and is asked to leave the program mid-term, a portion of the program enrollment costs will be refunded, calculated as follows: $200 non-refundable. Remaining balance prorated by the number of assignments completed.
Julie Ann Smith-Morrow
ProGen Practicum 01
Our small peer group worked with each other and mentor Jan Joyce for about eight months. We took deep dives into deconstructing peer-reviewed articles, and into three requirements for portfolio submission to BCG, including Requirement 3 — BCG Supplied Document Work, Requirement 5 — Case Study, and Requirement 6 — Kinship-Determination Project. After preparing and submitting our own portfolio assignments, we reviewed the work of one or more peers and received feedback from Jan. We joined in regular Zoom sessions to discuss our work and the program. We were asked to prepare our own work as if we were submitting to BCG, and to evaluate our peers as critically and thoughtfully as a BCG judge. I studied the BCG application guide and the rubrics for evaluating new applications for BCG Certification and applied the requirements and standards to our work. I learned much from preparing the assignments and at least as much from reviewing my peers’ work and learning about different approaches that can be successful. It was particularly enlightening to read varied reviews.
I experienced “Aha” moments in seeing how well the BCG application guide lays out the requirements for each portfolio element and how careful study of the BCG standards and rubrics allow both preparation and review of our work. I was surprised with the great value of giving and receiving peer review. Another unanticipated but wonderful benefit of the Practicum is that several of our group are continuing to work together in practicing and reviewing others’ work.
For me, the ProGen Practicum built on valuable ProGen and GenProof experiences. ProGen introduced a broad range of professional genealogy topics, and peers came with different experiences and professional aspirations. GenProof was a notch above ProGen — serious and especially focused on BCG standards and rubrics in developing genealogical proofs. The ProGen Practicum builds on educational experiences from both ProGen and GenProof and is tailored for someone serious about preparing a portfolio for BCG. The Practicum provided more than “demystifying” the certification process and created a niche for me to practice portfolio preparation and review. It also better prepared me to anticipate and understand judges’ comments.
Because of the ProGen Practicum, I am more prepared to create my portfolio. I know many ways to improve my work. I know more about completing work and receiving review on portfolio pieces. The Practicum has been a game changer for me!
What ProGen Practicum Alumni Are Saying…
ProGen 43, GenProof 51, ProGen Practicum 01
This is one of the most in depth genealogical educational experiences I’ve had. It fills a much-needed gap in regards to writing and feedback. Like ProGen, this Practicum was intensive, what you put into it, is what you will get out of it, both with writing and feedback. It is not a commitment you can simply breeze through. I really wasn’t surprised by how much time I spent on each assignment, and when I saw how many hours my peers were committing, I knew this group was going to be successful for me. During the Practicum I realized I knew more than I thought, but that knowledge was rough and needed polishing. After finishing the Practicum, I am more aware of how to incorporate the GPS and BCG rubrics. I am also aware of the aspects I need to continue to work on before I apply for certification.
ProGen 43, ProGen 55 Coordinator, ProGen Practicum 01
Thinking about going “on the clock” for BCG certification? Don’t think you are ready just yet? The ProGen Practicum program honed my skills and provided helpful critiques on assignments that mimic the portfolio requirements. It took what I learned in both the Boston University Genealogical Certificate Program and ProGen and took it to the next level. Feedback from smart, like-minded peers and our knowledgeable credentialed mentor ensured we met genealogy standards and provided areas for improvement. I gained the confidence to pursue my next step on the journey for certification and feel more ready than ever.
ProGen 34, ProGen 50 Coordinator, ProGen Practicum 01
Coming to the genealogy profession later in life, I jumped right into the Boston University Genealogical Certificate Program followed by ProGen. Along the way, I took institute courses, watched webinars, and participated in local, state, and national society meetings and conferences. I aspired to gain certification through BCG but was always looking for the next educational opportunity to make me feel like I was ready to go on the clock. The ProGen Practicum was the best test of my overall ability to meet Genealogical Standards and closely follow the BCG rubrics to determine my readiness. Having the group prepare a common proof argument and common KDP using the same research was an exciting method of learning. Reading and providing feedback to peers where we all came to know our subjects was my favorite piece of the practicum. Receiving excellent mentor feedback following the peer reviews meant so much. I learned from my peers and mentor things I didn’t have experience with before. The collaborative effort of all of our personal experiences as professional genealogists was invaluable. I witnessed growth amongst each class member, and especially myself. This practicum experience was worth every minute and was truly a culmination of my journey towards certification.
ProGen 44, GenProof 54, ProGen Practicum 01
Practicum – one word, WOW! This course took my writing to a new level. ProGen is a good start but Practicum picks up where ProGen leaves off. We concentrated on proof arguments, family narratives and document work. We dug into the nooks and crannies of each. What really makes this course sing are the students – our group was highly motivated and dedicated. Each of us was committed to being honest with our feedback. Yes, sometimes the feedback stung a little bit but I signed up for honest feedback. And I got it. And it made me a better writer. And gave me more confidence for my ultimate goal – to submit a portfolio. Be prepared to work at this. One piece of advice. Start working immediately on each project – none of them can really be left to the last week! Practicum is the best course I have taken on writing. Again, one word – WOW!
ProGen 25, ProGen Practicum 01
I not only learned a great deal about the BCG application instructions and how to apply them to the work elements, but I also learned about my strengths and weaknesses as a genealogist. I was surprised how much my peers and I improved our writing and organizational skills. We are all experienced genealogists. We’ve produced case studies, KDPs, and document analysis before, but none of us had tackled the projects quite like this. This was eye opening. Excellent learning opportunity.
The Practicum is the pinnacle of similarly formatted classes. By the time you’re done with the Practicum, you’ll see an exponential increase in your documentation skills. You’ll elevate your work to the highest standards. If you want to know you are ready to create your portfolio or if you want to answer all the “how to” questions about the required element work pieces, this is the Practicum for you. At the end of the Practicum, you’ll either know that you’re ready and be fully prepared to start working on your portfolio or you’ll know exactly what and how to improve.
ProGen 49, ProGen Practicum 02
My experience in the ProGen Practicum has gone far beyond my expectations. I recently completed ProGen 49 and valued the experience and the connections I made with my colleagues; Practicum took that to the next level for me.
First and foremost, Jan Joyce is a terrific coach and mentor. The design of the 10-month program included challenging assignments aligned with the BCG portfolio elements, encouraged dedicated participation, and provided engaging discussions with colleagues. Know you aren’t alone though – you will have a cohort of other genealogists with whom you will likely develop a wonderful, close friendship.
This is an intensive course; be prepared to dive in deep and spend time understanding your weaknesses. Since taking the program, I understand the BCG application process and the rubrics far more than I had before. I am more confident in my genealogical writing, analysis, and research skills. If I question something I am working on, I go back to the copious amounts of notes and feedback I have received to refresh my memory on the best approach. All of this was valuable, and I plan on “going on the clock” for certification in 2023!
ProGen 42, ProGen Practicum 02
Kelley Conner Lear
ProGen 52, ProGen Practicum 02
Digging into all the details of assembling a BCG-worthy portfolio was invaluable. We fully submersed ourselves and
received amazing feedback along the way—both from our mentor, and each other. The evolution of my approach,
methodologies, and writing can’t be overstated. This is a must in my book for anyone thinking about BCG
you so much for everything your poured into this.