As part of AAC&U's ongoing Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative, AAC&U released The LEAP Challenge—... Read more
Mounting and Sustaining Successful College Capstones
With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, AAC&U’s project Mounting and Sustaining Successful College Capstones has focused on analyzing best practices in capstone projects and courses at a group of eight varied colleges and universities. This project has provided groundwork for AAC&U’s new major initiative, the LEAP Challenge. At the heart of the LEAP Challenge is the invitation to colleges and universities to make Signature Work a goal for all students and the expected standard of quality learning in college. Signature Work involves a student pursuing a significant project on a problem he or she defines that draws upon the student’s cumulative and integrative learning and cultivates and demonstrates critical thinking, communication, and problem solving. Capstones can be a key opportunity for students to complete Signature Work.
The eight institutions that participated in this project all have robust capstone programs, usually required for all students. These institutions see the capstone as a culminating experience, typically within the major, in which the student undertakes significant research or creative work resulting in a written thesis, exhibit or performance, or community-based project. The project schools demonstrate that many different types of institutions, as well as different models of capstones, can be effective in reaching the goal of meaningful capstone experiences for all students.