The Culture of Writing

W4. Senior Capstone Experience

W4 is the capstone of the writing experience at Washington College. All seniors complete discipline-specific writing as part of their Senior Capstone Experience, demonstrating at an advanced level the elements of critical thinking, writing processes, rhetorical knowledge, and knowledge of conventions that they have been developing in their previous writing experiences. In completing the SCE, students culminate their studies within a major and make public to the department and to the College the advanced levels of thinking, inquiry, and expression they have achieved.

Learning Goals (for Students)

  • Critical Thinking: the ability to raise questions and identify problems related to particular subjects or situations and to make thoughtful decisions based on that analysis, through writing, reading, and research;

  • Writing Process: the ability to use appropriate strategies for generating, developing, composing, and revising writing and research;
  • Rhetorical Knowledge: the ability to analyze and act on understandings of audiences, purposes, and disciplinary contexts in creating and comprehending texts;
  • Knowledge of Conventions: an awareness of the formal guidelines, ranging from matters of grammar and style to conventions of research and documentation that define what is considered to be correct and appropriate to writing in a particular discipline or context.
  • Requirements (for Faculty) 
  1. All SCEs must include a component of discipline-specific writing; though the types of writing experiences will vary by discipline, each SCE must integrate the four program learning goals at an appropriate and effective place within the course of the SCE. In some cases, this might be the final product (a thesis or paper); in other cases, this might be writing and research that leads up to or accompanies a final product that is not a thesis or paper: for example, a performance, an exhibition, a comprehensive exam, a presentation.
  2. Each department/program will assess the W4 as part of its assessment of the SCE.