Capstones & Signature Work

AAC&U's Capstones and Signature Work project, funded by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, is working with eight institutions on integrative learning, capstones signature work, and culminating experiences. This initiative, part of The LEAP Challenge, is the next frontier in AAC&U's ongoing educational change initiative, Liberal Education and America's Promise, or LEAP. The LEAP Challenge calls for all college students to pursue their own “signature work,” integrating and applying their learning to complex problems and projects that are important to the student and important to society. All students, not just the most fortunate students, can and should be afforded the opportunity to produce capstones and signature work throughout their undergraduate experience.

These LEAP Challenge Institutions will be working on culminating signature work projects and how to prepare students for them. They will examine which of their students currently complete capstones and signature work, identify gaps in students' access to capstones and signature work, and investigate plans to organize curricula and programs so that all students are well-prepared to engage in significant capstone and signature work before they graduate. When done well, capstone and signature work projects represent liberal education at its best—helping students become critical thinkers skilled in analysis and argument.

LEAP Challenge Institutions

The LEAP Challenge Institutions participating in the Capstones and Signature Work project are:

  • Augustana College (IL)
  • Bates College (ME)
  • Clark University (MA)
  • College of William and Mary (VA)
  • Connecticut College (CT)
  • Elizabethtown College (PA)
  • Nebraska Wesleyan University (NE)
  • Oberlin College (OH)

These institutions will become partners with AAC&U in showing how capstones and signature work can become essential and expected, rather than available and optional.

Key partners in AAC&Us efforts to make excellence inclusive, LEAP Challenge Institutions will become leaders in developing new connections between the content of liberal and general education, the needs of today's students, and the needs of the wider society. Other cohorts of LEAP Challenge Institutions are working in different projects on related aspects of advancing inclusive excellence and signature work. See LEAP States, Roadmap, GEMs, STIRS, and VALUE.