On Wednesday, September 22, students of the Class of 2022 briefly presented their senior projects and responded to questions from the Senior Project Committee during a Quick Pitch session. Those whose proposals were initially rejected also had a chance to challenge the Committee’s decision.
Taking place in the spring semester, senior projects at Concord Academy are advanced, three-credit courses of independent study. Unlike departmental studies, CA faculty advisors will not be teaching the course but will still be offering guidance to students. Projects are required to be either interdisciplinary or experiential, with most falling under the former category. In the proposal form, applicants were asked to provide the purpose of their project, essential questions, names and roles of project advisors, as well as a description of how the learning journey will be documented and showcased. Since specificity of the proposal is critical to the evaluation process, students also submitted focused timelines divided into a minimum of two-week increments to track their progress. January will mark the official beginning of senior projects, followed by two peer-review sessions. Final presentations will be held on May 24, 2022.
This year, the number of pitches received by the Senior Project Committee reached an all-time high, arriving at a total of 35 projects selected for approval. “It’s very rare—almost all proposals were picked,” said Alyse Ruiz-Selsky ’05, Director of Studies. “Every applicant was strong.” There was also a categorical rise in the number of collaborative projects. “We’re normally pretty stringent because having multiple participants elevates expectations, but this year, for the first time ever, we approved a group of three,” remarked Ruiz-Selsky. All students would have to demonstrate commitment to the academic rigor of what is equivalent to a three-credit major.
For Ruiz-Selsky, it is always enthralling to discover what students end up being interested in. Projects spanned across myriad fields and disciplines such as economics, engineering, world-building, civil rights history, fashion, sustainability, and beyond. Drawing inspiration from various courses and elements of the CA community, seniors also utilized this opportunity to explore and enhance the school mission statement, such as designing a sex education curriculum and examining CA students’ relationship with privilege. 23 faculty members across 12 departments will be advising the senior projects, all eager to support their students on this journey of discovery, and in some cases, self-discovery. The intersection of topics is also markedly more expansive and significant this year. “This makes me excited about who we’re going to group up later in the year as part of the peer-review process,” said Ruiz-Selsky.
To learn more about this year’s senior projects, be sure to attend the final presentations happening in May. The CA community looks forward to seeing the fruits of thought and labor of the senior class.