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ERIC Number: EJ992935
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jul-30
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
College Too Easy? UCLA Makes It Tougher
Berrett, Dan
Chronicle of Higher Education, Jul 2012
During a review of undergraduate programs at the University of California at Los Angeles, Judith L. Smith, vice provost for undergraduate education, was struck by an uncomfortable realization: Too many majors demanded too little from students. Some students could graduate without ever taking a senior seminar or completing a substantial research project. The result is that students could "be pedestrians and walk through the major." Just as UCLA had done when it revised its general-education requirements, the university saw that it needed to reboot its upper-level undergraduate courses. The institution coalesced around the idea of capstones, which are cumulative projects that students complete near the end of college. Officials instituted capstone projects, unusual for a university of its size. They have had some success, but there are trade-offs. Lopsided student-to-faculty ratios do not enable frequent contact with professors, and the sheer variety of disciplines can mean an equally wide array of cumulative experiences, all of which may be called a capstone, but which have few similarities.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California