Senior Capstone Projects
In colleges around the country, students enroll in a capstone course during their final semester. This type of course was designed to ensure that students could demonstrate their degree program learning outcomes. In other words, the capstone was the time and place that ensured that all of the major courses students completed added up to set of knowledge and skills that they could show others when they graduated. For some colleges, the capstone was viewed as much more than that.
At Purchase College, the Senior Project has long been a hallmark of a student’s experience. Students create and produce a finished project that clearly illustrates the way they’ve incorporated all they’ve learned over the years. These projects are stored and cataloged by the library for future generations to review and recognize the tremendous creativity and hard work that have made these projects a unique crowning achievement of students’ degrees.
In the past, some may have perceived that the students coming into the Liberal Studies degree programs had too many and varied course-work and experiences throughout their lives to enable the same cohesiveness with their projects. Therefore, LBS created a single semester capstone experience that focused on writing. We are now moving towards aligning with the rest of the College.
The Liberal Studies capstone still takes place over one-semester and will require students to conceptualize a project that demonstrates their ability to synthesize coursework in their area of study. Each unique project will stem from a literature review or community needs analysis, and be accomplished through empirical, field-based research on or off-campus. Each project will culminate in a presentation to a campus audience (it may be only your class) and be supplemented by substantial written documentation.
In order to streamline the process for generating these projects, six course sections will be offered during the Fall 2018 semester (and one is available during Summer 2018). These capstone courses will be facilitated by faculty with expertise in researching a question you may pose that integrates your undergraduate course work (i.e. how do communities ensure that everyone has enough to eat? are there productive ways to address the rise of fundamentalism?). After considering how best to research their key question, students will create and produce a final product (ePortfolio, paper, magazine, film, etc.) that demonstrates their conclusions to date.
Similar to the senior project, the capstone is required for all liberal studies students. The unique demands of this new format have led us to schedule course sections as a modified hybrid format whereby the f2f sessions will provide guidance about how to conceptualize and produce a completed project by the end of the semester. The non-class sessions will be a combination of experiential, field-trips and one-on-one meetings.
As with capstones around the country, the Liberal Studies projects will be used to demonstrate the following learning outcomes:
- The ability to articulate and communicate clearly in written and spoken forms.
- Research skills, including the ability to analyze and synthesize information.
- The ability to think critically, independently, and creatively.
We look forward to seeing completed projects by graduation.