• Capstone Project

Integrating Inquiry and Impact, for the Good of Chicago

A Capstone Project is a high-impact learning practice that requires students to integrate and articulate their learning across a sequence of experiences.

In order to fulfill the requirements of the Chicago Studies Certificate, program participants must successfully complete and publish/present a major paper, project or product (including but not limited to a discipline-based research project, investigative journalism series, creative production, action research product, programmatic intervention, etc.) that:

Integrates academic knowledge and community-based experiences;

Addresses a current social issue in the Chicago area;

Builds upon existing assets and networks;

Aims at relevant and meaningful impacts for one or more Chicago communities;

Establishes or extends a legacy with University and/or external partners; AND

Presents its findings to relevant publics in the University and/or the broader community.

Capstone projects are adjudicated and validated by a small committee of faculty, staff, and community partner readers under the direction of UCSC/OCE, using established criteria and rubrics based on those published by the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) for high-impact practices. In the case of capstone projects based on or related to students’ formal academic work (e.g. senior thesis research), the adjudication committee’s role will be limited to assessing the capstone’s successful integration of students’ academic and community-based learning qua capstone project. Such evaluations should neither be taken as advice on the direction of students’ discipline-based academic research, nor considered substitutes for (or in competition with) formal academic evaluation of said works within students’ major(s).

Capstones must be presented as part of an annual Chicago Studies symposium, a new event that offers students the opportunity to present their work while elevating the profile of Chicago-focused scholarship within the University. Whenever possible, students should also directly present their capstones to relevant publics in the broader community as an expression of reciprocal benefit to those whose community-based knowledge has helped to inform their completion. Through UCSC, Chicago Studies can sometimes offer small presentation grants (Engaged Research Support Grants) to help College students share the results of their work with appropriate non-academic, external audiences.

Academic capstone projects (such as policy papers or applied research studies) may also be submitted for potential inclusion in the annual publication Chicago Studies.

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Capstones require prior approval, and a mandatory advising session to ensure that the idea is workable and sustained by appropriate levels of partnership.