Alicia Cook in Human Development offers students a significant professional challenge in the capstone course for the major. Students respond to an RFP from the city, county or state for a support-services initiative. Her major criterion: a well-written proposal could be implemented today if funding came through. She directs students to write the proposals as if they will be sent to the funding agency, and she reads and responds as a reviewer for that funding agency. In her experience, students continue to revise these proposals even after she gives them final feedback. And the combination of the professional context and group work raises "the bar of standards" for preparing the proposals. The assignment was developed collaboratively in the department, so all faculty know what students need to be able to do in the capstone course.
In addition to the group-generated proposal, students write a 2-4 page individual reflection on their writing and learning after they submit the proposal.