From the Teaching column in the April 2009 issue of Perspectives on History
Capstone Courses: Introduction
Noralee Frankel, April 2009
For years the AHA Teaching Division has been interested in the capstone course. History departments have been changing their capstone courses for a variety of reasons. With the push for more accountability, these courses have become more important as a way to assess a history major’s learning experience. They help answer the question asked in accountability circles, “What is the value added by being a history major?” The Teaching Division commissioned—after inviting proposals—articles from several professors who had some experience with capstone courses. The division is now pleased to offer a Perspectives on History forum on the topic, which will be published in two parts. The first part is published here and the second will be in a fall issue. The three essays published here are by Tim Schroer (Univ. of West Georgia), who takes a reflective overview of the question; Mary Stockwell (Lourdes Coll.), who provides an account of her personal experiences in teaching a capstone course; and Wendy Pojmann, Bruce Eelman, Barbara Reeves-Ellington, and Scott Taylor (Siena Coll.), who give an interesting report on what was obviously a collaborative enterprise in their department.
—Noralee Frankel is the AHA’s assistant director for women, minorities, and teaching.