Capstone Project

All students must complete 6 hours of Capstone coursework which may include one of two options as the final requirement for the degree: a) MLAS 681, Capstone Project; or b) a non-credit bearing MLAS Portfolio. Oral competency will be demonstrated through a formal presentation at the MLAS Program Forum.

MLAS 681 Capstone Project (6 credit hours- may be taken over two semesters)
Most students enrolled in the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program conclude their degree requirements by writing an independent project under the direction of a faculty supervisor. The graduate project is interdisciplinary in scope and reflects an emphasis or interest that the student has discovered in the MLAS program.  The Final Project, which includes but is not limited to a work of written analysis, may involve academic research, applied research or creative work. Often, students choose to amplify a paper or topic from a previous class.  The Capstone Project is a formal process that requires the development and submission of a proposal, structured study with a faculty supervisor, and exit interview with faculty supervisor and the MLAS advisor (who serves as the second reader of the project).  The completed project is retained in the MLAS archive in Ramsey Library.  (Grading S/U/IP). Students who receive an IP grade for MLAS 681 will have two (2) additional semesters in which to complete and defend their projects.

MLAS Non-credit Portfolio Option
Students who select the Portfolio Option must still complete 30 credit hours in the program, taking an additional 6 hours of elective credit. The Portfolio Option will be completed independently within the student’s final semester. There is no class to register for to complete the Portfolio Option. The student’s MLAS advisor serves as the portfolio advisor. The portfolio will be submitted at the end of the semester to the MLAS Program Director and the Graduate Council for review and approval. The following items must be submitted to satisfy the requirements for the Portfolio option:

•   A cover page with the student’s name, date, and title of the project.
•   Three substantive papers from separate courses that represent their best work.
•   A 10-12 page reflective narrative placing the papers in the context of the student’s intellectual journey through the MLAS program.
 

MLAS Capstone Project Archives

Complete Capstone Projects are available to the public through UNC Asheville's Ramsey Library Special Collections. Though the projects are not available online, the Special Collections web page allows for browsing completed projects by year of completion, title and author. See the Forms page for Sample Title Page and Sample Signature Page layout requirements.

MLAS 681: Traditional Research Thesis Project Guidelines

The research-based final project, of approximately 60-65 pages of text, is grounded in the scholarly literature and draws from research in at least two disciplines. The work should demonstrate the following:


• ability to plan and conduct research, to analyze, compare and synthesize scholarly materials
• skillful academic writing and careful use of the appropriate citation format
• potential for the work to be published in an appropriate forum
• a well formulated thesis supported by relevant evidence
• clear conclusions that flow from the thesis and are supported by the evidence
• oral presentation of the project

MLAS 681: Non-traditional and/or Creative Project Guidelines

The creative project should be based on the student’s artistic and academic background and help her to heighten skills in a form she has previously practiced and studied. In the past, these have included fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, film, video, photography, and sculpture. Written creative projects should be approximately 60-65 pages in length for prose and approximately 30 pages for poetry. In addition, the student submits a 5-page artist’s statement that addresses the development of the project, personal aesthetics, approaches used, and artistic influences. The work should demonstrate the following:
• familiarity with and understanding of the genre’s or medium's conventions, traditions, and contemporary practitioners
• theoretical approaches and craft techniques well-suited to the content
• high aesthetic standards
• potential for the work to be published or exhibited in an appropriate forum
• clear relationship between the work and the artist’s statement
• oral presentation of the project

MLAS Portfolio Option Guidelines

The portfolio will be completed independently within the student’s final semester. There is no class to register for to complete the Portfolio Option, instead students take an additional 6 credit hours of electives to earn the 30 credit hours required for the degree. The student’s MLAS advisor serves as the portfolio advisor. The portfolio will be submitted at the end of the semester to the MLAS Program Director and the Graduate Council for review and approval. The following items must be submitted to satisfy the requirements for the Portfolio Option:

•   A cover page with the student’s name, date, and title of the project.
•   At least three substantive papers from separate courses that represent their best work.
•   A 10-12 page reflective narrative placing the papers in the context of the student’s intellectual journey through the MLAS program.

Recent Capstone Projects

2016

On April 29, 2016, candidates for the Master of Liberal Arts degree presented their Capstone Projects in Whitesides Hall Forum. Each Capstone Project is the culmination of the student’s experience in the MLAS Program through a research or creative project. Thank you to all who attended.

Jason Decristofaro, "A Song Cycle on Mortality:  Reimagining Four Sonnets of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz as Four Songs on Life and Death"
Capstone advisor: William Barres

Nina Flagler Hall, ““FRESH FOODS AND FRESH PRODUCES AND THINGS: Tracing the Disappearance of Food in Asheville’s East End Neighborhood”
Capstone advisor: Erica Abrams Locklear

2015

On December 4, 2015, candidates for the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences degree presented their Capstone Projects in the Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall. Each Capstone Project is the culmination of the student’s experience in the MLAS Program through a research or creative project. Thank you to all who attended.

Erin Weber Boss, “Homefront”
Content advisor: Peter Caulfield

Joshua Hughes, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and The Great Divorce: The Search for Faith in the Post-Enlightenment World”
Content advisor: Rodger Payne

Jake Sorofman, “Becalmed: Essays from a New England Childhood”
Content advisor: Tommy Hays

Genna Petruzzi, “The Negative Effects of Food and Beverage Advertising on Women's Dietary Patterns”
Content advisor: Ameena Batada

William Jackson, “Benefit of Sulfur Deposition Reductions for Brook Trout in the National Forests of Southern Appalachia”
Content advisor: Steve Patch

Loralee Kendall, “Some Dance: The College Years 1915 to 1919”
Content advisor: Dan Pierce

Matthew Hutchins, “Informing Climate Adaptation and Community Resilience in Asheville, North Carolina: A Framework for Assessing Vulnerability to Climate-related Hazards and Extreme Weather Events”
Content advisor: Rebecca Reeve

Sam Gibbs, “Breaking the Hyper-partisan Barrier: A Rubric for Achieving Common Sense Public Policy in NC”
Content advisor: Gerard Voos

Charles Corriher, “Years on the Force: Asheville Counterculture in a Changing City: 1980-2000”
Content advisor: Tommy Hays

Shannon Earle, “Give Us Our Daily Bread: Examining the Adequacy of Benefits of Federal Food Assistance Programs”
Content advisor: Ameena Batada

2014

On December 5, 2014, candidates for the Master of Liberal Arts degree presented their Capstone Projects in the Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall. Each Capstone Project is the culmination of the student’s experience in the MLAS Program through a research or creative project. Thank you to all who attended.

Becca Chambers, “Free Chickens”
Content advisor: John Wood

Virginia Buddenberg, “Contemporary Young Adult Dystopian Literature as a Reflection of and Reaction to the Millennial Generation”
Content advisor: Cynthia Chadwick

Laura Trentman, “Hidden Pines”
Content advisor: Tommy Hays

David Garver, “The Art and Science of Political Deception: The Political Artist and Neurobiological Mechanisms Underlying Human Vulnerability”
Content advisor: Angeldeep Kaur

Rachel Rhodes, “Stretch Marks: A Graphic Memoir”
Content advisor: Cynthia Canejo

Erica Mickey, “Do Your Thoughts Matter? The Mind-Body Problem”
Content advisor: Brian Dennison

Grey Jones, “The Wolves of Drowning Creek: A Novel in Progress”
Content advisor: Tommy Hays
Winner of the Margaret J. Downes Award for Excellence in a Capstone Project

Aubree Pierce, “Harvesting a Brighter Future: Improving Human and Environmental Health through Farm to School Programs”
Content advisor: Ameena Batada
Winner of the Margaret J. Downes Award for Excellence in a Capstone Project

2013

On November 22 and December 6, 2013, candidates for the Master of Liberal Arts degree presented their Capstone Projects in the Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall. Each Capstone Project is the culmination of the student’s experience in the MLAS Program through a research or creative project. Thank you to all who attended.

Morgan Perkins, "Relief Theory, a Sketch Comedy Film"

Ben Gillum, "Everything's Fine in Florida and Other Stories"

Peggy Franc, "Envisioning Home: Housing Options for the Baby Boomer Generation"

Peter Doyle, "Massive Open Online Courses: Will They Create Greater Opportunity or Inequality?"

Marjorie McGuirk, "The Melting Arctic and New Trade Routes"

Sean Buckley, "Mexitopia: A Critical Analysis of Contemporary Mexican Artists, Jorge Méndez Blake and Pedro Reyes"

Gretchen Lewis, "Relocalization of the Food System: Back to a Sustainable Future"

Jared Gold, "Native Pastures: Securing the Future of Farms and their Pollinators"

Jessica Starnes, "Appalachian Storytelling, a Film and Storybook for Children"

Stan Cross, "Finding Home: A Novel in Progress"

Tucker Cox, "Ulan Bator to Vladivostok on the Trans-Siberian Railway"

2012

Alaina Barnard,  "Earth odyssey: Interdisciplinary education in a cross-curricular English-Earth Science freshman academy course design"                                               Content advisor: Meg Moss

Elizabeth Becker,  "The political economy of fair trade certification and labeling: Implications for cocoa farmers"                                                                                 Content advisor: Heidi Kelley  

Maryedith Burrell, "Garlic Girl (chapters from a novel in progress)"                                                                                                                                                     Content advisor: Katherine Min

Katie Descieux, "Fresh from here: A report card for local food system projects in Western North Carolina"                                                                                             Content advisor: Gerard Voos, MLAS

Christy Lennox, "From Daffy to Donald: Animated propaganda employed by the U.S. during World War II"                                                                                             Content advisor: Chris Oakley 

Paul Lillebo, "Being a free white person: Naturalization law in the early U.S. republic"                                                                                                                     Content advisors: Holly Iglesias and Sarah Judson

Marcelle Martin, "Post World War II emigration from Belgium to Canada"                                                                                                                                           Content advisor: Bill Spellman

Andrea McClure, "The funeral industry and its impact on mourning and the environment"                                                                                                                   Content advisor: Volker Frank

Mark Merrick, "AA virtues: American literature and virtues for the good life"                                                                                                                                       Content advisor: Merritt Moseley

Jessica Pepper,  "The art of risk: sculptures and videos of performance art"                                                                                                                                       Content advisor: Brent Skidmore

Whitney Setser, "Real Appalachian women: Fiction that challenges deep-rooted stereotypes (three short stories)"                                                                               Content advisor: Tommy Hays

Sara Whaley,  "Sex objects and teen moms: The stereotyping of women on youth-focused reality television"                                                                                         Content advisor: Don Diefenbach

Katy Wyatt, "Consuming the American dream: Advertising imagery of the 1950s, 1980s and today"                                                                                                       Content advisors: Alycia Fogle and Brent Skidmore