Reference List Entry:

McGrath, Moriah McSharry, Sarah Dyer, and Trina Jorre St Jorre. 2023. "Positionality and Identity in Capstones: Renegotiating the Self through Teaching and Learning." In Cultivating Capstones: Designing High-Quality Culminating Experiences for Student Learning, edited by Caroline J Ketcham, Anthony G Weaver and Jessie L Moore, 203-214. Elon, NC: Elon University Center for Engaged Learning.

About this Book Chapter:

This chapter argues that fostering inclusive and transformative capstone experiences requires understanding the interplay of various identities and social positions in the learning context. Diversity is generally viewed as a characteristic of the student body or a state to be pursued, camouflaging the fact that social identities are a set of power relationships that both structure social interaction, such as capstone experiences, and that are themselves restructured through social interaction. This notion is explored in relation to both student and faculty identities recognizing that faculty identities are often subsumed by their institutional role and/or the presumption that their academic training has socialized them to the milieu. Through embedded qualitative research at five English-language universities in high-income countries, we identified moments and processes where diversity, identity, and inclusion are (re)negotiated through social interactions as a strategy for our research to find “openings” where hegemonic power can be disrupted in favor of inclusive excellence. Authors conceive capstone experiences as a “project of becoming” for those involved. As the culminating experience, the capstone represents both the pinnacle of and also the cusp of transition beyond students’ university career. From these findings, salient and hidden aspects of diversity and identity are identified that affect capstones and offer a set of curricular tools to improve capstone quality through more inclusive approaches to teaching.