The capstone project is the culminating academic experience for students in the Ed.D. program. The capstone and its accompanying seminars will allow students to apply the analytic abilities, professional understanding, contextual knowledge and related skills they have accumulated throughout the program to a project for an external organization. The capstone project will be completed in two parts during students’ third year of study through two separate seminars.
In Capstone Seminar I and Capstone Paper Part I (3 credit hours), students will work in teams of 2-3 or independently with the approval of a faculty adviser. In this portion of the capstone project, students will meet regularly and work with a faculty adviser to identify, introduce and analyze a problem of practice, challenge, or complex phenomenon in an external organization. Students will investigate this problem and provide multiple forms of evidence that demonstrate a need to focus on the problem in the particular organizational context. Drawing upon program course work and their research, capstone teams will then design an intervention or process that implements learning, improvement or change to solve the problem in an approach aligned with the organization’s needs. They will present this first portion of their project to the organization and receive feedback.
In Capstone Seminar II and Final Capstone Project (3 credit hours), capstone teams and individuals continue to meet and work with a faculty adviser as they incorporate feedback from the external organization on the proposed intervention and integrate the content of the entire project into one narrative and final deliverable. While students are not required to implement the intervention, some choose to provide a detailed plan and evaluation strategy that, backed by extensive research, would result in the expected improvement in the organization or successfully address the organization’s challenges.