How Capstone has changed at CSUMB: Is it for better or worse?

Over the years, the capstone festival has changed and been constructed in ways that have California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) students and professors questioning the future.

Capstone has always been a way for students to showcase what they’ve learned in their years of attending CSUMB in one project, which varies by major, and is presented at the capstone festival.

Some students and professors have noticed the lack of attention there is now for these capstone festivals and would want them to be a higher priority. 

“When I first started working here 24 years ago and for many years afterward, the capstone festival was a widely attended university-wide event celebrated across the campus every semester, especially in the spring,” said David Reichard, a professor of history and legal studies. “Faculty, staff, administrators and students would visit different majors’ events.” 

As the campus grew in enrollment there were capstone projects that had to be shifted in terms of what they looked like and how they were celebrated at the festivals. 

“This scaling up challenged departments and CSUMB as a whole to sustain the models we had and the kinds of ways we celebrated student work. HCOM (humanities and communications), for example, had to adjust project formats and the festival itself to accommodate more students,” said Reichard. 

Along with this, professors haven’t seen much presence of staff, faculty and families within these festivals. 

“I want to see more of my colleagues and families come and I want it to be this weird mix of pressure and joy, I want them to be proud and want them to say hey these last four years I have worked my tail off and I want to show that my family’s sacrifice was worthwhile,” said Joel Ryman, the capstone director of business. 

Some students also have some opinions on the changes in this circumstance and how it seems some majors get more attention than others. 

“I felt like the HCOM department alongside our dean not only let us down by not showing more support and attention to us HCOM students but it almost felt like a spit in the face the way that they shrugged us off,” said fourth-year Octavio Valdovinos.

While the organizers of the capstone festivals haven’t been the best at helping in the HCOM major, specifically capstone professors have been doing everything they can to support students. 

“I think CSUMB is the one with the issue. I don’t know if it’s the president or dean but Professor Reichard is doing a great job in order to make sure all of our work is being shown,” said fourth-year Ignacio Maravilla. 

Overall, professors and students want support when it comes to capstone and the festival. It would be helpful if more staff and faculty showed up along with students who haven’t taken the class yet, many say.

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