Capstones have been a part of higher education curriculum for over two centuries, with the goal of integrating student learning to cap off their undergraduate experience. In practice, capstones are most often delivered as a course or include a significant project that addresses a problem or contributes new knowledge. This edited collection draws on multi-year, multi-institutional, and mixed-methods studies to inform the development of best practices for cultivating capstones at a variety of higher education institutions. The book is divided into three parts: Part One offers typographies of capstones, illustrating the diversity of experiences included in this high-impact practice while also identifying essential characteristics that contribute to high-quality culminating experiences for students. Part Two shares specific culminating experiences with examples from multiple institutions and strategies for adapting them for readers’ own campus contexts. Part Three offers research-informed strategies for professional development to support implementation of high-quality student learning experiences across a variety of campus contexts. Cultivating Capstones is an essential resource for faculty who teach or direct disciplinary or interdisciplinary capstone experiences, as well as for faculty developers and administrators seeking ways to offer high-quality, high-impact learning experiences for diverse student populations.
A Series on Engaged Learning and Teaching Book. Visit the books’ companion website, hosted by the Center for Engaged Learning, for book resources.
Series Foreword --Jessie L. Moore and Peter Felten Introduction. Capstone Experiences in Undergraduate Education --Jillian Kinzie, Caroline J. Ketcham, Anthony G. Weaver, and Jessie L. Moore Part 1. Understanding the Landscape of Capstone Experiences -- Anthony G. Weaver, Caroline J. Ketcham, and Jessie L. Moore 1. Frames, Definitions, and Drivers. A Multinational Study of Institutionally Required Undergraduate Capstones -- Janet Bean, Christina Beaudoin, Tania von der Heidt, David I. Lewis, and Carol Van Zile-Tamsen 2. Capstone Influences and Purposes --Russell Kirkscey, David I. Lewis, and Julie Vale 3. Institutional Considerations for Capstones on Campus. Perspectives Based on National Data on Senior Culminating Experiences --Dallin George Young, Tracy L. Skipper, and Rico R. Reed Part 2. Exploring Capstone Experience Models --Caroline J. Ketcham, Anthony G. Weaver, and Jessie L. Moore 4. Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way. Implementing a Capstone Experience for General Education --Carol Van Zile-Tamsen, Janet Bean, Christina Beaudoin, David I. Lewis, and Tania von der Heidt 5. Preparing Students for the Fourth Industrial Revolution --David I. Lewis, Janet Bean, Christina Beaudoin, Carol Van Zile-Tamsen, and Tania von der Heidt 6. How Two Australian Universities Achieved “Capstones for All”. A Change Management Perspective --Tania von der Heidt, Carol Van Zile-Tamsen, David I. Lewis, Janet Bean, and Christina Beaudoin 7. Adapting a Capstone. Projects and Portfolios across Four Courses and Three Institutions --Sandra Bell, Frederick T. Evers, Shannon Murray, and Margaret Anne Smith 8. Just a Few Minutes of Your Time. Using Qualitative Survey Data to Evaluate and Revise a Capstone Project at an Early College Network --Matthew Park, Paul Hansen, Guy Risko, and Joshua Walker 9. Students-as-Partners and Engaged Scholarship. Complementary Frameworks --Andrew J. Pearl, Joanna C. Rankin, Moriah McSharry McGrath, Sarah Dyer, and Trina Jorre de St Jorre 10. Designing Democratic Spaces. Public-Facing Civic Capstone Courses --Cindy Koenig Richards, Nicholas V. Longo, and Caryn McTighe Musil Part 3. Supporting Capstone Faculty and Staff --Jessie L. Moore, Caroline J. Ketcham, and Anthony G. Weaver 11. Understanding Faculty Needs in Capstone Experiences --Morgan Gresham, Caroline Boswell, Olivia S. Anderson, Matthew J. Laye, and Dawn Smith-Sherwood 12. The Development of Capstone Assignments Using a Faculty Community of Practice Model --Silvia Reyes, Nelson Nunez Rodriguez, and Sarah Brennan 13. Peer Reviewing to Support Quality Assurance of Capstone Experiences. A View from Australia --Michelle J. Eady and Simon B. Bedford 14. Positionality and Identity in Capstones. Renegotiating the Self Through Teaching and Learning --Moriah McSharry McGrath, Sarah Dyer, Joanna Rankin, and Trina Jorre de St. Jorre Conclusion. Committing to Equitable, High-Quality Capstone Experiences -- Caroline J. Ketcham, Jessie L. Moore, and Anthony G. Weaver
Editors and Contributors
“Cultivating Capstones helps us rethink the culmination of the degree, not as the pinnacle of a cloistered baccalaureate experience, but instead invigorated by external connections on all sides. Increasingly our students situate us amid multiple, competing responsibilities. In turn, educators need the tools presented here to cultivate feedback and agency, partnerships across institutions and communities, civic engagement and scaffolded independent research. In case studies and interviews, the authors make a powerful case for synthesizing learning from the whole degree in ways that respect and leverage the broader ecosystem of our students’ complicated lives.”
Ken O’Donnell, Vice Provost, California State University Dominguez Hills, and Editor-in-Chief of Experiential Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
"We know from powerful research like the Gallup Purdue Index that completing a project that lasts a semester or more is transformational to not only students’ immediate college experience but also to their future selves. That said, simply calling something a “capstone” does not make it so. This volume fills an important gap at the nexus of research and practice on this high-impact educational practice, and should be required reading for all those interested in designing and delivering a truly vibrant and impactful capstone experience."
Kate Drezek McConnell, Vice President, Curricular & Pedagogical Innovation and Executive Director, VALUE, American Association of Colleges & Universities
“Whether you’re new to capstone experiences, a seasoned capstone course instructor, or somewhere in between, you’ll find in this book vivid and varied examples of capstone models and practical guidance for supporting faculty and staff, so that students can reap the benefits of this high-impact practice. Given that capstone experiences embody the integration and application of learning, and can serve as much-needed bridges from college to career, I recommend it to all higher education leaders committed to truly serving students and ensuring their long-term success.”
Isis Artze-Vega, College Provost & Vice President, Academic Affairs, Valencia College