CAA to discuss capstones, senior seminars


Logan Raschke

Kai Hung, a biology professor, laughs during the Sept. 5 2019 CAA meeting in Room 4440 of Booth Library. The council voted to approve 21 nursing program items and to consider weighted GPAs during the admission process.

Corryn Brock, Editor-in-Chief

Capstone courses as senior seminars will be a topic of conversation during the Council on Academic Affairs at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Witters Conference Room in Booth Library.

The topic has been a part of CAA conversations since the Spring 2021 semester when it was approved by the council.

When discussed in the Spring 2021 semester, the proposal stated it would allow students to take the capstone course as a way to fulfill the senior seminar general education department.

Departments were not required to create capstone courses, but students in departments with capstones had the option to take a capstone course in their department rather than a senior seminar.

The proposal was originally brought forward because senior seminars were not holding up to their original purpose.

According to the proposal, “the Senior Seminar (SS) requirement had noble and reasonable beginnings. It was intended to require students to step outside their major fields for one class in their Senior years, allowing them to see how their field of study connected to the larger university mission. Although students in the course would be non-majors, it was mandated that the course be rigorous enough for a Senior-level class.”

Additionally, the courses were meant to serve as an assessment for the learning goals of the university.

General Education Coordinator Grant Sterling, the person who brought the proposal forward, said the proposal was necessary because of several courses not meeting all five learning goals.

“A capstone course in the major could be designed to meet almost all of the original parts of the (senior seminar) vision,” Sterling said. “Capstone courses in the major are likely to be rigorous, to be staffed by the best professors in a department, to require students to bring together ideas from multiple prior classes, and are certainly much more likely than (senior seminar) to be taken seriously by students.”

CAA will also be discussing committee members for the General Education Committee.

No items will be voted on during the meeting but three items are set to be added to the agenda for the Sept. 23 meeting. The items include revising the Electronic Writing Portfolio requirement for the clinical laboratory sciences major, a new computer science course focuses on teaching computer science and a revision of the exit evaluation requirement for the psychology major.

Three items from Interim Associate Dean Michael Cornebise are listed for executive action for the council to consider.

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]