HomeResearch SeminarsCapstone Experiences Research Seminar Seminar Participants Share: Section NavigationSkip section navigationIn this sectionCapstone Experiences Research Seminar Seminar Leaders Seminar Participants Seminar Logistics Call for Applications Seminar Showcase Elon Statement on Capstone Experiences Olivia Anderson, University of Michigan Dr. Liv Anderson is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Michigan (UM) School of Public Health. Prior to her appointment at the School of Public Health, she worked as a research associate at UM’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching where she developed expertise on micro- and macro-level assessment and evaluation as well as faculty/graduate student professional development in teaching. Her current research and practice focus on the development and evaluation of novel teaching methods and the development of competency assessment methods for faculty. She currently teaches four courses including the Master-level capstone course, a professional development course for teaching, Nutritional Biochemistry and Nutrition in the Life Cycle. Janet Bean, University of Akron Janet Bean is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Akron (Ohio), with a specialty in Composition and Rhetoric. She serves as Coordinator of General Education and co-leader of the Institute for Teaching and Learning. Through this research seminar, she plans to study how institutions develop, support, and sustain capstone experiences. Her research interests also include the assessment of learning, particularly the intersection of general education outcomes and capstone experiences, and reflective writing. She brings experience with qualitative research—ethnography, case studies, teacher research, and discourse analysis—and a strong interest in narrative methodology. Christina Beaudoin, Grand Valley State University Christina Beaudoin is an associate professor and department chairperson within the Movement Science Department at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Allendale, MI. Dr. Beaudoin teaches a major required capstone course within Exercise Science as well as a general education “Issues” capstone course. Interestingly, Grand Valley State University recently revised the university’s catalog description of capstone courses to better define the capstone experience across the institution and align with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) definition. The question that Dr. Beaudoin is most interested in further examining is the landscape of contemporary capstone experiences (CEs) and what will be important to the future of effective CEs. As a participant in this research seminar, Dr. Beaudoin is extremely interested in multi-institutional studies allowing for further exploration of factors associated with the effective design, development, and assessment of CEs to promote positive experiences for all students and faculty. Caroline Boswell, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Caroline Boswell is an Associate Professor of History and Humanities and the Director for the Center of the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Her research interests in the capstone experience stem from its recent implementation as a requirement in the general education curriculum at UWGB. She wishes to investigate how we may to bring high-impact capstone experiences to scale at institutions with limited resources. In particular, she wishes to explore structures that support students who may lack the navigational capital to self-select into the experiences with the highest impact. She is also interested to learn more about the relationship between the capstone and the senior year experience, and, as a faculty developer, to consider how we may best support instructors who struggle to meet the variety of demands—internal and external—placed on this culminating and transitional experience. Sarah Dyer, University of Exeter Sarah Dyer is an Associate Professor of Human Geography at the University of Exeter in the UK. She teaches across the undergraduate programme and is BA programme director in the department. Sarah is also module convenor for the University’s postgraduate academic practice module ‘Creating effective learning in Higher Education’. This role provides her with insights from peers into the challenges of teaching in different disciplines across the University. Sarah is the director of the University’s Education Incubator, an initiative for developing and spreading innovative and effective educational practice. Sarah is interested in developing research which examines the way in which diverse student groups experience capstone projects, how different students can best be supported, and how the faculty development needs such support requires. Morgan Gresham, University of South Florida St. Petersburg Dr. Morgan Gresham is an associate professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where she serves as the writing programs coordinator and chairs the General Education Committee. Her scholarship brings together feminism, computers and composition, and writing program administration. She is particularly interested in the role of capstones for the assessment of upper-division General Education requirements. Jennifer Hill, University of the West of England Jenny Hill is Associate Professor in Teaching and Learning at the University of the West of England Bristol, UK. Coming from the interdisciplinary and pedagogically reflective subject of geography, she is comfortable working with multiple modes of educational practice and scholarship and she is enthusiastic to work with international colleagues to learn more about and enhance the student experience at the capstone level. Jenny is interested in interrogating how capstone experiences can meet diverse student (and associated stakeholder) needs, and how all students can be supported to engage effectively in them. She is particularly interested in if/how we can develop effective curricular and co-curricular integration of capstone experiences to render them more authentic and relevant (incorporating issues of identity, ownership, transfer and transformational learning), having researched and theorised in the areas of undergraduate research, Peer Assisted Learning, graduate attributes and assessment for learning. Trina Jorre de St Jorre, Deakin University Dr. Trina Jorre de St Jorre is a Lecturer at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. She is interested in pedagogies that engage and empower students and her research focus is on assuring graduate capabilities, improving employment outcomes and incorporating the student voice into curriculum development. She is interested in the use of capstone experiences to foster graduate identity and engage students in the conscious development of attributes of importance to graduate employability and active citizenship. Trina has a PhD in reproductive biology and a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science (Hons) from the University of Western Australia, where she also taught and developed curriculum across a range of science and communication subjects. Russell Kirkscey, Penn State Harrisburg Russell Kirkscey is an assistant professor of English and technical and professional writing at Penn State Harrisburg. His research interests include health and medical rhetoric, communication ethics, health information technology, research methods, and pedagogy. His work has been published in Health Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, Journal of Usability Studies, Women and Language, Texas Speech Communication Journal, American Secondary Education Journal, and Technical Communication. He has taught courses on technical communication, advanced composition, professional report writing, public speaking, communication leadership, and organizational communication. Ketevan Kupatadze, Elon University Dr. Ketevan Kupatadze is the Senior Lecturer of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures. She was named Center for Engaged Learning Scholar for years 2017-19 to work on student-faculty partnerships in instructional design and curricular development. Her recent projects include the discussion-based, collaborative approaches to teaching. She is participating in the seminar on capstone experiences to enhance students’ learning in the course sequence (WLC 301-302-303) designed to prepare students for a semester abroad, help them get the most out of their stay abroad and, once they return, process their experience and increase their intercultural competence. The course is required for all majors and highly recommended for minors to pursue semester-long study abroad. The final task of the students is to prepare a multi-media presentation and an essay that shows their reflections on and thoughtful evaluation of cultural differences between C1 and C2 and the reasons for them. Matt Laye, The College of Idaho Matthew Laye is from The College of Idaho, a small private liberal arts school in Caldwell, ID. He is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Health and Human Department where he teaches Exercise Physiology, Research Methods, Health and Wellness, and several other courses related to health and performance from a physiological perspective. His interest in the CEL projects stems from his department recently revamping the curriculum to include a capstone experience and he wants to explore the best practices across multiple types of learning institutions which make the culminating experience an impactful and memorable one for students as they enter the “real” world. Dr. Laye is really excited to join the Center of Engaged Learning’s team to research, learn, and interact with others across disciplines and institutions in exploration of the “how” Capstone Experiences are implemented. Dave Lewis, University of Leeds Dr. Dave Lewis is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Pharmacology and Bioethics in the Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, UK. An in-vivo pharmacologist by training, his research focused on the brain’s control of the cardiorespiratory system. Currently focusing on the development and evaluation of innovative, research-based education, his interests are two-fold; the creation and delivery of education and Continuing Professional Development in the use of animals for research, both in the UK and the Emerging World, and final-year undergraduate capstone research experiences. With substantial personal experience of Capstone projects, having developed a suite of ten different Capstone options for his students, he is leading a large-scale, multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research project in the UK, investigating student and Faculty expectations for Capstones, their outcomes, and impact on student career choices and employability. In 2018, he is seconded part-time to the Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence to further this work. Moriah McSharry McGrath, Portland State University Moriah McSharry McGrath is a non-tenure track faculty member in Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. Topically, her research interests center on the interplay between public health and urban planning. In terms of capstones, she is interested in differences between interdisciplinary and discipline-specific curricula as well the contributions of community-based learning, including international experiences. Equity and intercultural issues ae another area of interest—specifically, access to capstones for students from underrepresented backgrounds and assessment of cross-cultural skills that these same students bring to the experience. Prior to her current position, she was on the faculty of the Public Health program at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Dr. McGrath earned her PhD in Urban Studies from Portland State University; completed a joint masters’ degree program in Sociomedical Sciences and Urban Planning at Columbia University; and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Feminist and Gender Studies at Haverford College. Andrew Pearl, University of North Georgia Drew Pearl serves as the inaugural Director of Academic Engagement at the University of North Georgia, and as an Assistant Professor in UNG’s EdD program in Higher Education Leadership and Practice. Dr. Pearl‘s administrative focus is the facilitation, institutionalization, and assessment of community-university partnerships in the context of community-engaged scholarship. His research examines the roles and professionalization of boundary-spanning individuals in community-university partnerships, student motivations to participate in service-learning, student learning outcomes (personal, civic, and professional) from service-learning experiences, faculty member motivations for community engagement, and organizational structures and impacts related to community engagement. His primary interest in the Research Seminar on Capstone Experiences is on providing access to these experiences to students from a wide range of backgrounds, the motivations and learning outcomes of students, and the institutional and organizational policies that can best facilitate these opportunities for students and faculty members. Joanna Rankin, University of Calgary Joanna is a tenure-track instructor in the Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, in Alberta, Canada. Joanna has a PhD in Critical Disability Studies from York University where she focused on the evolving place of disability in society, with a specific focus on social justice and public dialogue about disability. This led to a critical concentration on disability narrative and the ability to influence policy and practice through the sharing of fiction and biographical stories. Her current focus is on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and the applicability of this philosophy to Disability Studies in undergraduate student learning through face-to-face, practicum and online environments and the connections between premises of inclusivity and SoTL. Dawn Smith-Sherwood, Indiana University of Pennsylvania Dawn Smith-Sherwood (BA, Bates College, MA/PhD SUNY Buffalo) is Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), where she also serves as a faculty Living-Learning Partner to the Global Awareness Living-Learning Community and a member of the IUP Living-Learning Executive Team. Her primary research interest for participation in the Center for Engaged Learning Research Seminar on Capstone Experiences (CEs) concerns “the articulation between CEs and work, civic, and personal life for students, for faculty goals, for institutional missions.” She wishes to explore the ways in which CEs might best contribute to student attainment of university-wide student learning outcomes in programmatic, departmental, collegiate, inter-disciplinary, and general education contexts. She expects that her experience with using discipline-specific paradigms, such as the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ (ACTFL) Can-Do Statements, to design course and program outcomes will guide and inform her research seminar participation. Julie Vale, University of Guelph Dr. Vale is a teaching focused associate professor in the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph who is actively working on pedagogical research in the areas of student engagement in large classes, Problem Analysis, and Learning Outcomes. Engineering CEs and the assessment and use of associated Learning Outcomes as part of a continual curriculum improvement process are a mandated part of accredited Engineering programs in Canada. A key goal of those CEs is to prepare a student engineer to perform Professional Engineering work that serves societal needs (including ethical, environmental, safety, and legal concerns). Dr. Vale is part of a team of professors at UoG who are interested in how the program’s CE outcomes can be assessed and better integrated into the curriculum, how the accreditation process and policy affects CEs and their associated outcomes, and whether or not the existing program’s CE is adequately addressing societal needs. Carol Van Zile-Tamsen, University at Buffalo Carol Van Zile-Tamsen is the Associate Director: Curriculum and Assessment, UB Curriculum, and also serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor, Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology Department, Graduate School of Education at the University at Buffalo. In her past research, she has been primarily focused on self-regulated learning and strategy use in college students, as well as how instructional strategies can promote self-regulated learning. Now, as the UB Capstone Coordinator, she is interested in how the higher education community of faculty and staff are helping students develop this self-regulation and ownership of their own learning in preparation for the CE and for lifelong learning, as well as documenting that students have actually achieved goals for their ownership of learning based on their work in the CE. A related area of interest is the identification of instructional methods that foster students’ ownership of their own learning, particularly students from typically underserved populations. Tania Von der Heidt, Southern Cross University Tania is a senior lecturer in marketing. She hails from the School of Business and Tourism at Southern Cross University (SCU), a medium-sized regional university headquartered in Lismore, Australia, and in the top 50 of Generation Y universities globally. Through her 20 years as an academic in marketing, management and research methods she has deep experience in teaching, scholarship of teaching and learning, discipline-based research and service. For the research seminar Tania is most interested in working with engaged peers to better understand the landscape of contemporary capstone experiences (CE) both within the business discipline and across disciplines, notably the varying models of CE and effective CE curriculum design and how to increase SCU staff readiness to implement effective & explicit capstone units. The seminar dovetails with Tania’s current one-year capstone community of practice (COP) project at SCU – both are geared toward investigating and enhancing the high impact practice of capstone experiences. James Weiss, Boston College James Weiss founded the Capstone Senior Seminar Program at Boston College in 1990. With 25 faculty from 20 different departments, these Capstones do not fulfill specific requirements in a department or a major. Instead, they help students to “review and preview”: to review their entire education in light of the University’s specific mission as a liberal arts institution in the Jesuit tradition; and to preview their long-term commitments after college in the four key areas of career, relationships, citizenship, and spirituality. Prof. Weiss, an Episcopal priest, has taught at Boston College since 1979 (tenured since 1985) in the Theology Department where he teaches other courses on social justice and vocational discernment. During the Elon research project, he hopes to understand how other Capstone programs relate to the specific missions of their home institutions.