Student assembling print

Capstone Senior Seminar

You apply academic learning to the context of contemporary local and global communities in your Capstone Senior Seminar:

  • Student in classInvestigate and analyze complex issues and draw reasoned conclusions, providing comprehensive support for those conclusions.
  • Effectively communicate ideas, solutions, and plans through a variety of media that include a substantial writing component.
  • Work effectively in collaboration with fellow students or community entities to create a product that demonstrates your ability to connect academic learning and critical thinking skills with today's issues.

Choose from seminar topics such as:

Africans in the Diaspora: Explore the activities and experiences of African people who live outside the African continent from the earliest times to the present. Examine the migration of Africans to Europe, Asia, and the Americas,  and the economic, political, and cultural contributions of Africans in the Diaspora, especially as it relates to elements of African culture such as religion, music, art, literature, language, and folklore.

The Changing North American Landscape: The technological conveniences and material prosperity that we enjoy in the 21st century United States is largely a product of how people have used the abundant natural resources of this continent. Examine one central question - how do people influence the environment and how does the environment influence people?

Service Leadership: Identify a service leadership project, conduct thorough research regarding associated issues, participate in service that addresses the issues, and complete a major research paper about your work.

Environmental Communications: Begin with an important case study - the causes and effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on New Orleans - then consider various theories and leadership techniques and apply these theories to an environmental problem you choose, examining the quality of the answer these techniques offer, and designing an effective way to communicate the best solution to the problem as a service to the larger community.  

Notes being taken on a tabletThe Physics Circus:  A physics circus is a performance of oversized and awesome demonstrations, linking art and science through creation, production, and performance of a show designed to entertain and amaze audiences of all ages while teaching them basic science.    

News Literacy: Provides the necessary analytical and critical-thinking abilities to sift information and recognize the difference between facts, inferences, and opinion in a First Amendment environment where the number and variety of news delivery platforms has increased exponentially and a sense of information overload is pervasive.

Entrepreneurship & Culture: Study an American business and its founder as a reflection of the social, political, economic, philosophic, artistic, scientific, and technological theories and conditions at the time of the firm's establishment.

Light, Sight, and Insight: This course investigates various ideas about the nature of light, especially its pivotal role in theories about  the cosmos  and in theories about the mind. We will look at the following, and maybe a little more, all in terms non-scientists can understand:  the current understanding of light as a wave and a particle, how questions about light helped lead to the theory of special relativity and to quantum mechanics (and cell phones and ipads), what vision reveals about the brain, and the relationship between seeing and knowing.

Petri dish

From DNA to Homo sapien: Demonstrate the basics of genetics and how DNA is structured and provides the recipe for life as the predominant informational molecule, and apply this knowledge to your own life as a citizen of a democratic republic.

The Future of Food: Explore how food moves rapidly through global markets, and how individuals, movements and government policymakers hotly contest ideas about food safety, farm subsidies, new biotechnology, marketing practices, and the means of production, distribution, and regulation that should prevail within and between nations.

Science and Spirit: Explores the interface between leading-edge science and the spiritual insights of the great wisdom traditions, identifying common denominators, areas of conflict, and possibilities for synthesis.

Postmodern Condition: Explore a spectrum of "third alternatives" to  MacIntyre's Modernist dualism forged in the last half of the twentieth century, as well as the variety of intellectual positions (philosophical, aesthetic, social, gendered, etc.) that claim the "postmodern" sobriquet.

Our Food, Ourselves: Takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the subject of food - how humans obtain it, produce it, and distribute it, and the crises that result from improper management of food resources - and explores how we relate to the land and environment, and the need to build sustainability, health, and food security.

Berkshire Art, Industry, & Tourism: Considers the historical, social, and economic impact of agriculture, industry, culture, and tourism on Berkshire County. Offers an integrative perspective on industrial development, the role of the arts, and the impact of tourism on Berkshire County throughout the 19th, 20th, and now 21st century. 

America on the World Stage: Explore answers to several current and controversial questions, including:  What is - and what should be - America's role in the world today? And, what circumstances led America to be perceived alternately as imperialist (devil) and emancipator (angel) at different times in its history?

Food, Nutrition, & Culture: Integrate knowledge from several disciplines as an introduction into the emerging field of the sociology of food. Critically analyze modern-day issues related to food and work in groups to examine the cultural meanings of food, its production, distribution, preparation, and consumption.  

Reading W.E.B. DuBois: This course centers on an examination of W.E.B. Du Bois' classic text Souls of Black Folk. The Souls of Black Folk combines, among other forms,classic elegy; autobiographical sketches; sociological studies; short fiction; theology; political protest; musicology; historical profiles; biblical allusion; and Greek mythology.