Letter to Capstone Faculty 8/19/2016

The following letter from Carina Self, Associate Dean of Academic Effectiveness, and Tamara Von George, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, was sent to faculty teaching integrative capstone courses in the Fall 2016 term.  If you would like to participate in the Capstone Assessment Project discussed in the letter, please contact Carina at carina.self@granite.edu.  Liz Gauffreau, Director of Individualized Learning

Dear Capstone instructors,

As per our discussion on July 13, we are writing to see if you have any questions or concerns about the Capstone Assessment Project and your involvement in that project this fall.  (If you are not teaching a Capstone course this fall, please file this for future reference.)

At the meeting, we agreed to do the following:

  1. Review the shared capstone outcomes that were developed by five GSC faculty members last fall (see attached).
  2. Consider what assignment already exists in your capstone course that asks students to demonstrate these kinds of learning.
  3. Document which of the shared outcomes you do NOT ask students to demonstrate in your course.
  4. Work to modify an assignment (or two) to make these outcomes more apparent in the work that students produce as part of your capstone course.

If you have not been able to make progress on these four items, please let us know.

Once you have done these four steps, we would ask that you use the shared capstone rubric this fall term to assess students for the assignment or assignments that address the outcomes.  We do not expect you to use this rubric for grading, but other faculty members have found it helpful to complete the learning assessment when they conduct grading, as the student work is fresh in your minds at that point.

Again, this assessment will not impact students’ grades in your course nor will it have other academic consequences for individual students.  This project is about generating information that will enable you and other colleagues to improve teaching and learning in courses and programs where improvements are needed (not just Capstone courses).

In the next few weeks, we will send you some resources to help you with this process when you get to the point of grading.  We will not be building the shared outcomes rubric itself into Moodle, so you have a choice to either:  (a) record your assessments in an excel spreadsheet that we will provide or (b) complete individual rubrics for each student by highlighting the level of performance for each student on each criteria, then saving them individually by student name.  In either case, we will make available to you an assignment in our Capstone Design Project Moodle shell so that you can submit the assessments, linked to student names, in a secure environment.  (Email is not a good place to share data about student performance, I think.)

Thank you again for being part of this important work.  This process will help us all know how our students are doing with their learning near the end of their time with us.  We hope it will be useful to you as instructors and to the institution as we work to design programs that prepare our students well for their future endeavors.

If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please contact one of us soon.  We would love to talk with you!


Carina & Tamara

Carina E. Self, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Academic Effectiveness

Granite State College

Rochester Campus

(603) 822-5440 (x440)


Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.”  Studs Turkel