It goes without saying that a studio arts major should not have to complete the same type of senior capstone as an economics major or even an art history major. It should also go without saying that the senior capstone for each major should be equal in breadth and depth. We fear that this is not the case.
This year’s senior English and sociology majors were the first in their departments to complete their capstone projects without also having to sit for a comprehensive exam. In April 2018, the Collegian reported on these changes, citing student and faculty hopes that removing the exam would lead to a more “meaningful culmination” of the majors’ college careers.
When it was announced that English honors students would forgo the exam, many majors expressed a new willingness and excitement to take on an honors paper. Overall, these departmental changes did not necessarily make things easier for English and sociology students, but it gave them the time and energy to focus their efforts in a more meaningful way.
But while an English major might now be able to focus all of their energy into a 25-page thesis of their choosing, a drama major — for example — still faces the production of a full-length play, an oral defense of their work and a three-part written examination that takes place over the course of two days in the spring.
This discrepancy leads us to question whether or not every major is given the same opportunity to reach for a “meaningful culmination” of the hard work they have put in over their four years at Kenyon. We urge each department to reconsider their capstones, as the English and sociology departments have done, in order to help majors reach their highest potential.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Cameron Messinides ’19 and Devon Musgrave-Johnson ’19, managing editor Grant Miner ’19 and executive director Matt Mandel ’19. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, musgravejohnsond @kenyon.edu, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.