Who may serve as a Mentor?

There are no restrictions on who may serve as a mentor as long as you receive approval from the project advisor and the Director of SAGES. The mentor need not have any association with Case Western Reserve University or any other academic institution. While it is preferable that the mentor have a Ph.D., this is not a requirement. Note, however, that the further removed the mentor is from the CWRU campus community, the more carefully the student and mentor may have to justify her or his suitability to serve in this capacity.

Who may serve as an Advisor?

The Advisor must hold a faculty appointment at CWRU that allows that faculty member to supervise and issue a grade for an independent study-type course.

What are the restrictions on the number and type of people who serve on the Advisory Committee?

You must have at least three people on your advisory committee, although you are free to add additional members as long as your Mentor, Advisor, SAGES Capstone Coordinator for your College/School and Director of SAGES all approve. If the Mentor and Advisor are one and the same, you will have to identify two additional committee members; otherwise you need only identify one additional member. It is recommended, but not required, that one member of the committee have an appointment from a department in which the student is pursuing a major. Otherwise there are no restrictions on the membership of this committee, other than the approvals indicated above. The Advisory Committee members do not have to be CWRU faculty members.

Can UCAP 395 be taken PASS/FAIL?

NO! UCAP 395 is part of the General Education Requirements of the university and therefore must result in a letter grade using the scale A-F.

How is the grade assigned?

The assignment of grades is left largely to the discretion of the faculty advisor, although the advisor is expected to seek the counsel of the mentor and advisory committee. With the wide range of Capstone projects expected under the auspices of UCAP 395, it is impractical to establish firm, universal guidelines for grading. Students should discuss with their advisor how the grade will be determined before committing to the project.

How long may a project run?

Projects may run either one or two semesters. The number of credits in any given semester may vary from 1 – 6 (and need not be the same in two consecutive semesters) but only 6 total credits may be accumulated. If the project will extend across two semesters and the second semester is required, then a grade of R must be given at the end of the first semester. At the end of the project a Change of Grade Form must be filed so that the R grade can be changed to the final grade for the entire project. (Both semesters must have the same grade since under these circumstances, this is considered a single course.)

Must a two semester project run across consecutive semesters?

Projects which require more than one semester should ideally be pursued in consecutive semesters. Otherwise there may be administrative problems handling the R grade at the end of the first semester. While it is possible to overcome this administrative issue, the project advisor and student may have to make special arrangements with the Registrar’s Office and the Office of Undergraduate Studies in these circumstances. (Gaps due to summer sessions are not a problem.)

Can a student work on a project over the summer?

Students should be registered for UCAP 395 while they are doing significant work on their Capstone project. UCAP 395 may be taken during the summer, as long as all the parties to the project agree to this and the total time commitment to the project is equivalent to that of a course pursued during the fall or spring semester with the same credit.

When should I start making arrangements for UCAP 395?

You should start making arrangements for your capstone experience weeks and preferably months before the semester in which you plan to take UCAP 395. You will likely find it takes several weeks to set up your advisory committee and negotiate all the parameters required in the contract for UCAP 395. The deadline for filing the contract is effectively a few days before the end of the DROP/ADD period for the semester in which you plan to take the course, and this assumes that the Director of SAGES will approve your contract and issue a permit for you to register for the course without requiring any changes to the contract.

Can work done previously be used for UCAP 395?

This general answer to this question is NO. Credit for UCAP 395 should only be given for work done while the student is registered for the course. Many CWRU students start research or other suitable capstone experiences long before their senior year. While this may form the basis for a UCAP 395 project, it is not a substitute for the effort expended during the time the student is enrolled in UCAP 395. It is expected that certain gray areas may arise in this regard; if the Mentor, Advisor, appropriate SAGES Capstone Coordinator and Director of SAGES all agree to a particular arrangement, then it may be allowed.

Can the work done for UCAP 395 also be part of a paid position, such as work in a research lab, internship or a co-op experience for which a student is compensated?

Different academic disciplines have different cultures and different ideas about the ethics of this type of situation. The default answer is NO; students should not be paid for taking a required course, particularly since most other students won’t have the same option. Work done for UCAP 395 should be in addition to any such paid work, although these efforts may be closely related to each other. If the student, Mentor and Advisor feel that circumstances justify an exception, they may ask the Director of SAGES to allow it.