Multidisciplinary Approaches to Culminating Student Experiences

Michael G. Strawser, Robin Yaure (Eds.)

by Amber McCord (Texas Tech University), Lindsay M. McCluskey (SUNY Oswego), Nisha Gupta (Centre College), Andrea Hamilton (Department of Defense at Wright-Patterson AFB), Susan Wildermuth (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater), Amanda R. Martinez (Davidson College), Karen Head (Missouri University of Science & Technology), Kevin Dvorak (Nova Southeastern University), Shirley O’Brien (Eastern Kentucky University), Russell Carpenter (Eastern Kentucky University), Ahmet Aksoy (Columbia College-South Carolina), Cassandra L. Carlson-Hill (City of Madison, Wisconsin), Laura Evans (Penn State Brandywine), Danielle Johnson (University of South Florida), Kathleen J. Kennedy (University of Arizona), Amanda Joyce Hall (Murray State University), Amanda M. Main (University of Central Florida), Javier Alvarez Jaimes (North Carolina Central University), Sharrah A. Lane (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Jacob Moore (Penn State Mont Alto), Nikki DiGregorio (Towson University), Amanda J. Rich (York College of Pennsylvania), Patricia R. Payette (University of Louisville)

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“Multidisciplinary Approaches to Culminating Student Experiences” provides a practical and inclusive overview of one of the lesser-known high-impact practices (HIPs). This useful text is not only multi-disciplinary, it is also multi-layered.
A new instructor (or an instructor new to culminating experiences) should benefit from the transparency of the approach, as editors and authors break down the concept into its constituent parts using clear and jargon-free language. Also, several chapters include supplemental resources, notable highlights of which include assessment rubrics (chapter 2, assessment), sample reflective assignments (chapter 3, reflection), and portfolio planning guides (chapter 8, portfolios).
That said, even faculty who have engaged in these practices previously will find much to inspire and elevate their practice, particularly because the larger framework allows for the sharing of practice across levels (e.g., early undergraduate, advanced undergraduate, graduate) as well as disciplines and institutions.
Last but not least, the impact is not limited to the classroom, as the authors articulate potential implications for administrative practice, curriculum design, program assessment, and further scholarship.

Dr. Laura E. Cruz
Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence
Pennsylvania State University

Despite the relatively recent popularity of culminating experiences, a multidisciplinary and practical resource that provides information for all types of culminating student experiences is not yet available. The idea for this volume arose because of the recognition that a holistic and applied resource for those looking to have general knowledge of different ways to assess student learning, especially at the undergraduate level was lacking. This text seeks to fill a gap and provide a historical context for culminating experiences, suggestions for assessment, foundational knowledge for different types of projects, and finally approaches to using these experiences in various disciplines. Because of the information desired, experts in their field from a wide variety of disciplines were approached to be chapter contributors. This resource focuses predominantly on undergraduate students but many of the chapters can either be applied to both undergraduate and graduate students (e.g., thesis) or specifically focus on the graduate student population (e.g., dissertation).

List of Tables and Figures
Michael G. Strawser
University of Central Florida
Robin G. Yaure
Penn State Mont Alto

Section 1: Culminating Experiences in Higher Education

Chapter 1 Defining Culminating Experiences
Lindsay M. McCluskey
SUNY Oswego

Chapter 2 Assessing Culminating Experiences: Balancing Rigor and Flexibility in the Design and Delivery of a Capstone Experience
Patricia R. Payette
University of Louisville
Nisha Gupta
Centre College

Chapter 3 Student Reflection
Andrea Hamilton
Department of Defense at Wright-Patterson AFB
Susan Wildermuth
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Section 2: Examples of Culminating Activities

Chapter 4 Thesis
Amanda R. Martinez
Davidson College

Chapter 5 Dissertation
Karen Head
Missouri University of Science & Technology
Kevin Dvorak
Nova Southeastern University
Shirley O’Brien
Eastern Kentucky University
Russell Carpenter
Eastern Kentucky University

Chapter 6 Applied Projects
Ahmet Aksoy
Columbia College-South Carolina
Amber McCord
Texas Tech University

Chapter 7 Comprehensive Exams
Cassandra L. Carlson-Hill
City of Madison, Wisconsin
Danielle Johnson
University of South Florida

Chapter 8 Portfolios
Kathleen J. Kennedy
University of Arizona

Chapter 9 Internships
Amanda Joyce
Murray State University

Section 3: Disciplinary Approaches to Culminating Experiences

Chapter 10 Business
Amanda M. Main
University of Central Florida

Chapter 11 Humanities
Javier Alvarez Jaimes
North Carolina Central University
Sharrah A. Lane
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Chapter 12 Natural and Applied Sciences
Jacob Moore
Penn State Mont Alto

Chapter 13 Social Sciences
Nikki DiGregorio
Towson University
Amanda J. Rich
York College of Pennsylvania
Laura Evans
Penn State Brandywine


Michael G. Strawser (Ph.D., University of Kentucky, 2015) is an assistant professor of communication at the Nicholson School of Communication and Media at the University of Central Florida. In addition, Dr. Strawser serves as the Program Coordinator for the Human Communication and Communication and Conflict programs at UCF. He teaches several courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels including business and professional communication, advanced public speaking, and teaching communication. His research is primarily focused on matters relating to instructional communication and communication education.

Robin G. Yaure (Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park) is a Professor of Teaching, Human Development, and Family Studies at Penn State Mont Alto. Her research focuses on pedagogical issues such as student persistence, exam preparation, social justice and the COVID-19 pandemic, infant sleep, and translational research. She is coordinator of the Penn State HDFS in Florence summer study abroad program and coordinator of the Penn State Mont Alto HDFS and Psychology baccalaureate programs. She is also the coordinator of the Civic and Community Engagement minor.

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Multidisciplinary Approaches to Culminating Student Experiences





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


1 B&W

Publication date

March 2024