Capstone Experience

The Capstone Experience is threefold: CESP 3901, the Integrative Community Engagement Project, and the final reflection, Integration and Contextualization. 

CESP 3901

CESP 3901 is the capstone seminar that students must take in order to complete the program. Students typically take this class during their final undergraduate year (senior year). Students will register for this class just as they would their regular classes. It is 1 credit, graded A-F, and will NOT count towards the 8 required community-engaged learning credits. 

CESP 3901 is similar in format to other senior major project capstone classes. Students will complete the ICEP while taking the class, but not in the class - similar to how a senior thesis is written as part of the major class but not in the class. The instructor (CCEL professional staff) will provide support and resources to help students design, plan, and implement their project. The class will also focus on community engagement in students’ future career goals. 

In order to receive a permission number to register for CESP 3901, the following prerequisites must be completed:

  • At least 300 community engagment hours (or a concrete plan to complete 400 hours by graduation)
  • 8 community-engaged learning credits (or a plan to complete them by graduation)
  • 5 out of 6 reflections (all reflections in Year 1-3 on progress report)
  • All advising appointments
  • The ICEP Planning Workshop (where more information about the ICEP is presented)

Students who have met all prerequisites should contact [email protected] for a permission number. 

Integrative Community Engagement Project (ICEP)

While the ICEP is completed concurrently with the class, the ICEP is NOT graded as part of the class. The student can pass the class without submitting the ICEP. There will be assignments aimed at helping the student complete the ICEP that will count towards their grade, but the completion of the ICEP will not factor into their CESP 3901 grade.

The goal of this project is to use the skills, knowledge, and experience students have gained through their academic training and community work to complete a project that benefits a community organization. This means that students serve as a project manager, but are working in partnership with others to make it happen (in fact- the most successful projects engages many others in the process and outcome). CESP requires that an ICEP project has to have a community partner, has to meet a community need (as identified by you and the community org), has to be sustainable beyond the student' time at the organization, and has to be completed before the CESP distinction is received. 


Curriculum creation: The student designs a college prep curriculum for the after school program. The student gathers necessary information for college prep, formats it into workshops with activities and a powerpoint slide. The organization continually uses it as part of their fall programming to help students apply to college.

Manual/guide creation:  The student partners witha relatively new organization that hasn’t worked out all the details of new volunteer orientation. The student creates a new volunteer manual and powerpoint slide to help train in new volunteers.

Digital print/media/communications: The student creates promotional materials/templates, such as flyers, brochures, facebook posts, for an organization’s monthly doughnuts with dads event.

Research: A student is doing research with a UofM lab on how homelessness affects the development of children. The research is being done in partnership with a shelter The student conducts interviews with families and writes up a summary of their findings. The findings are presented to both the University and the shelter. 

Other possibilities: Events (must be an event the organization will continue hosting after the scholar is gone)

Register for an ICEP Planning Workshop

*This workshop is required in order to receive a permission number to register for CESP 3901. Email [email protected] to schedule your ICEP Planning Workshop.

Integration and Contextualization (Digital Story)

The final reflection is completed in the class as an assignment; it’s 40% of the CESP 3901 class grade. Students will first write a script and then gather media to create their story. All digital stories will be shared with the whole class on the last day of class. CCEL staff will typically chose 1-2 stories to be featured in the Scholars Reception.