The Capstone experience is a required component of the student teaching experience conducted in Education 490 for Middle Grades majors and ESL majors, and in Education 491 for Elementary, Integrated Education, and Special Education majors. Candidates in special subject and content areas complete Capstone requirements in their major departments.
Candidates are required to demonstrate a range of abilities whose acquisition is stated as central to the Mars Hill University mission, the goals of the Liberal Arts in Action (LAA) curriculum, and national and state standards for teacher education programs. Candidates must engage in action research, which is the type of research activity most frequently engaged in by K-12 teachers because it addresses real-life problems and produces information that can be immediately used to improve student learning and behavior in their classrooms. Candidates must demonstrate competencies in the following areas: framing and refinement of research questions; systematic observation; purposeful dialogue; analysis and synthesis of information and ideas; the application of primary and secondary research methods; critical thinking; interpretation of data; creative problem solving; professional decision making; writing and speaking for professional audiences. Program coordinators and the Department Chair of Education direct the Capstone experience.