Reference List Entry:

Park , Matthew, Paul Hansen, Guy Risko, and Joshua Walker. 2023. "Just a Few Minutes of Your Time: Using Qualitative Survey Data to Evaluate and Revise a Capstone Project at an Early College Network." In Cultivating Capstones: Designing High-Quality Culminating Experiences for Student Learning, edited by Caroline J Ketcham, Anthony G Weaver and Jessie L Moore, 125-136. Elon, NC: Elon University Center for Engaged Learning.

About this Book Chapter:

The Bard Early College Network includes ten schools that, through dual-enrollment courses taught by faculty with terminal degrees, allow students to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree simultaneously, tuition free. In their third and fourth years on a Bard Early College campus, students enroll in the Bard Seminar Sequence, a four-semester sequence of interdisciplinary courses that emphasize close reading, critical inquiry, and scholarly writing. During their fourth and final semester of Seminar, students complete a capstone project that culminates in a ten-page research-based essay and presentation. The Seminar capstone project serves two primary functions: it highlights and reinforces the academic skills that students have developed over several years, and it prepares them for the increasingly independent work that will be asked of them as they pursue bachelor’s degrees and careers. Students across the Bard Early College Network come from a multitude of educational backgrounds and bring a wide variety of interests and ambitions to the Seminar classroom.

While the BHSEC campuses are unique in that they employ a traditional college faculty in a public high school setting, the writing-as-a-process elements of the capstone research project would look familiar to instructors of first-year writing at any college or university. The thorniest capstone-related issues faced at the BHSECs, which include an academically diverse student body and the coordination of instructors from multiple departments located in multiple cities, makes this chapter especially relevant to institutions facing similar challenges.