Students and Families Gather for CGS Annual Tradition, Capstone Ceremony
On Friday evening, more than 40 CGS alumni who are current juniors, gathered in the Katzenberg Center with proud family members and reconnected with their sophomore CGS professors for the Capstone Awards Ceremony.
A tradition running for almost 40 years—since 1977—the Capstone project challenges CGS sophomore students to create a practical, comprehensive solution to address a timely, real-world problem, while drawing upon the key skills and interdisciplinary approach that they learned over their two years at CGS. Students work on teams of six or seven, carefully researching the issue at hand, constructing arguments for and against the different sides, and presenting findings in a 50-page paper and via an oral argument. Each faculty team chooses a winning Capstone group, recognized for completing this project with distinction. Friday night’s Ceremony honored such groups.
Decades ago, Capstone projects were fairly rare in academia. Now touted as one of the “10 best practices” in undergraduate education (AAC & U), capstone projects are increasingly assigned in institutions that are trying to design projects that will encourage students to integrate what they have learned and apply it to solving real-world problems. National and global surveys of job recruiters show that the criteria that employers are most looking for in candidates are 1) critical thinking and problem solving skills and 2) oral and written communication skills. “That pretty much sums up the aptitudes that the Capstone project helps students develop, and that these award-winning students have demonstrated so ably,” shared Dean Natalie McKnight.
The 2015 topic, Ethics, Politics, and the Law, encouraged students to explore areas such as big data and digital privacy, affirmative action and higher education, war crimes, the economics of climate change, genetic privacy, and more. Professors were very impressed with the thorough research and level of detail in which students evaluated such areas, along with the viability of the proposed solutions.
Each member of the winning groups received a certificate, and one group was chosen at random to attend a BU men’s hockey game in the Snapple luxury box at Agganis Arena, courtesy of the Dean of Students.