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Contemporary Perspectives and the Senior Capstone Assignment

As the capstone course of the College Studies program, Contemporary Perspectives draws upon the skills and knowledge developed in the preceding liberal arts and sciences courses College Studies and helps students connect the learning in their majors with their College Studies learning. Seniors explore major economic, political and cultural trends in the post-1945 world and complete a final research project which addresses an issue in the professions in light of current international trends.


Capstone Project Assignment: Global Trends and Your Profession


Write a 12-15 page research paper that explains the connections between a specific global or regional trend or issue and current developments in your professional field. Your paper must organize its factual evidence to support your arguments in three thesis-based sections (see details below). The paper’s content and arguments must be accessible to a general PhilaU audience (not just students or faculty in your major).


Your paper will be divided into three sections. Each section must have its own heading and be organized around its own thesis statement (4-5 pages per section):

  1. Global trend/issue (your choice, in consultation with your professor)

  2. Implications of the trend for your professional field worldwide

  3. Analysis of how this global trend is affecting your professional field in one specific country (choose from the country list provided by your instructor)

Content and Organization:

Section 1: Global Trend or Issue

This section describes and analyzes a specific global or regional trend. For the purposes of this assignment, a global trend or issue is a significant international social, economic, cultural or political development that is changing over time, especially since World War II.

Your chosen trend/issue must extend beyond your major or professional field; it cannot exist only or primarily in your field or major. In this section, you should describe the trend/issue’s history, size, characteristics, and ways in which different actors have debated their support or opposition to its’ development.

Global trends as defined here are historic movements which are occurring over time and which are the sources of both causes and effects of innovation, development, and change.

Section 2: Global Implications for Your Profession

This section must analyze how your professional field is responding to your global trend globally or regionally. It provides a valuable opportunity to demonstrate your ability to combine your College Studies education with the skills and knowledge you have gained in your professional major. In other words, you must demonstrate your ability to make liberal-professional connections. Here are questions you can ask yourself in order to accomplish this task:

  • Using two or three examples from outside of the U.S., discuss how your profession is responding to the trend introduced in Section 1.

  • Do differences in location and culture influence how professionals in your field are responding to this trend? What are the main viewpoints of leading professionals worldwide regarding this trend?

  • What conclusions can you draw about the significance of this trend for your professional field and about how your professional field worldwide is dealing with or responding to this trend?

Section 3: Impact on Your Profession: Country Case Study

This section must analyze the impact of your global trend on your profession as it is practiced in one of the countries on the list provided by your instructor. Focus on how the specific context of this country (economic, political, cultural, ethical, and/or historical factors) shapes or explains the impact of the trend upon your profession in that country. Explain what people can learn about your country by analyzing your trend and profession in that country.

Depending on your professional field and the country you are examining, Section 3 will present and support a thesis statement that focuses on:

  • the impact of your global/regional trend on your profession as a whole throughout the country;

  • the impact of your trend on one specific corporation, industry or organization within your profession in that country; or

  • the impact of your trend on the activities of one significant practitioner of your profession in that country.

You should conclude Section 3 by projecting into the future, speculating on how the trend in question might continue to impact your professional area both in the country you’ve addressed here and beyond, reflecting on the possible ramifications this may have for your field in the years ahead.


The Dr. Diane A. Pfaltzgraff Capstone Seminar Award

Each semester, the Contemporary Perspectives instructors review their students’ seminar projects to select nominees for the Dr. Diane A. Pfaltzgraff Capstone Seminar Award, which recognizes outstanding liberal-professional scholarship. At the end of the semester, a panel of Philadelphia University faculty members review the nominated papers to select the winners of the first place ($300), second place ($200), and third place ($100) awards.

The winning authors will be recognized at the senior awards event, and the winning projects will be posted on the College Studies web site as a showcase for our students’ accomplishments and as a resource for future Contemporary Perspectives students.