Senior Project Information

Overview

The Race and Ethnic Studies senior project is a significant component of the Race and Ethnic Studies curriculum and is required of all majors. (For a full description of the program’s graduation requirements please consult the college catalog.)

2012 senior project presenters

All graduating majors must complete an intersectional research paper, or a comparable creative project demonstrating knowledge of more than one disciplinary approach to the study of race, ethnicity, and/or indigeneity. The project’s specifications may be determined by the student in consultation with either their RACE 398: Independent Research supervisor or senior project committee.

Options for Completion

Currently, students may complete the senior project one of two ways depending on whether they wish to earn academic credit.

Option 1: Senior Project (credit-bearing through RACE 398: Independent Research)

In late fall of senior year, students will identify a topic and notify the program director and senior projects coordinator. They will also advise of their intention to undertake RACE 398: Independent Research to receive academic credit for their senior project research. If a student chooses this option, the student is exempt from the committee process described below in option two and instead should include a reflective component about how the project fulfills program ILOs and integrates previous coursework in Race and Ethnic Studies into their independent research activities. The student will present their work during the senior project poster session and reception. On Reading Day, the RACE 398 faculty supervisor will advise the program director of whether the student has satisfactorily completed the senior project. The program director will then notify the registrar.

**NOTE: Beginning in spring 2021 (contingent on college approval), RACE majors may take a research seminar pilot that introduces students to knowledge and cultural production in Race and Ethnic Studies. This new spring course will also provide a class structure and workshop community for senior majors to develop and complete their capstone projects. Offered annually, this course will also be open to juniors who wish to complete this degree component during spring of junior year. Concentrators may also register by permission of the instructor.

Option 2: Senior Project (non-credit bearing)

In late fall of senior year, students identify a topic, complete the proposal worksheet (scroll below), and notify the program director and senior projects coordinator. They will then be assigned a three-person faculty member “project committee” whose expertise align with the students’ area of interest or creative/critical approach. (Each project committee will work with a maximum of five senior projects grouped according to topic and approach. Students may also want to consult with faculty who have expertise beyond their committee who can provide further guidance.) While undertaking their projects, students should receive formative feedback, which may take the form of consultation with the committee as a whole or with individual members as arranged by the students.

2013 senior project presenters

The students will then present their work as part of the RACE program’s annual May senior project poster session and reception. They will also submit to their project committee 2-3 page reflective statements addressing how their projects fulfill program ILOs and integrate their coursework in Race and Ethnic Studies. The project committee will provide summative written feedback to their project advisees, certify the senior projects’ satisfactory completion, and relay their decisions by Reading Day to the program director, who will then notify the registrar.

Senior Project Outcomes

In October 2019, the Race and Ethnic Studies faculty approved the following intended learning outcomes to guide senior project evaluation.

Students will demonstrate:

  • Interdisciplinary and intersectional creative or critical approaches to the study of race, ethnicity, and/or indigeneity.  
  • Synthesis of their coursework in Race and Ethnic Studies by developing a project that builds off of their previous study in a RACE elective or extends a capstone in a discipline or another interdisciplinary field.
  • Reflection on how their senior projects meet RACE program ILOs. Specifically, student projects should demonstrate through research or creative work the ability to examine core concepts and theoretical approaches within the field of race and ethnic studies.  
  • Engaged community praxis such as participating in RACE’s annual senior project poster session and reception.
Senior Project Timetable
2015 Senior Projects Presenters (L to R): Victoria Green, Kelsey Peterson, Kyle Foster, Tosaka Thao
2015 senior project presenters
December 6

Please complete the senior project proposal worksheet (scroll down below), and email it to the program director and senior projects coordinator by December 6. Students may consult the program website for past senior project examples and meet with a RACE program faculty member to explore possibilities.

December 15 

By December 15, students not intending to register for RACE 398: Independent Research will be assigned to a project committee and may consult with individual committee members as desired in order to complete their projects. Students are responsible for contacting and communicating with their committees.

Mid-April

The senior projects coordinator will advise senior majors of poster design opportunities offered by DiSCO. Students will develop their posters and send them to DiSCO for printing. They will forward their senior project titles and 2-3 sentence senior project descriptions to the coordinator.

Early May

Students will present their findings during the annual senior project presentations and reception traditionally held in Buntrock Crossroads. By May 1, they will submit their reflections to their project committees for review.

Reading Day

Project committees and RACE 398: Independent Research supervisors notify the program director whether the senior projects have been satisfactorily completed. The program director then informs the students and the registrar.

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Senior Project Proposal Worksheet
  1. In 300 words, describe your topic and critical or creative approach.
  2. Will you enroll in RACE 398: Independent Research to receive academic credit for your senior project research? (Yes/No)
  3. Which RACE program faculty members have expertise that will support your project?

Please email your responses to the program director (dobbs@stolaf.edu) and cc: the senior projects coordinator (alatiyat@stolaf.edu ).

(Revised: November 2019)