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									                 Community-Oriented Public Health Practice
          Community-Oriented Capstone Project
                                     Revised July 2010

The 2 Year Community-Oriented Capstone Project is a major undertaking. It should be
viewed as an opportunity for students 1) to work in a community setting or health-related
agency of their choice, 2) to immerse themselves in solving a public health problem, 3) to
develop, expand and hone their public health skills, and 4) to gain specialized,
sophisticated experience in an area of particular interest. It is an individualized
experience; a supervised component of the COPHP curriculum that you can customize to
meet your own learning and experiential goals.

Having spent your first-year practicum experiences working with a local health
department, you are free in your second year (beginning in the summer between the first
and second years, if desired) to craft your Community-Oriented Capstone Project from a
virtually unlimited range of venues; e.g., community clinics, health departments, public
or private human service organizations, and international projects. A minimum of 9 credit
hours are required for you to conduct the project from conception and planning stages to
the final oral and written presentations.

In conducting the Capstone Project, you will work closely with a supervisory committee
composed of a UW/COPHP faculty advisor and an on-site mentor. Both will assist in
planning the project, monitoring your progress, reviewing project-related documents and
products, and participating in project evaluation and grading.

The Capstone Project reflects the COPHP program’s emphasis on problem solving,
effective change, and community involvement. Its broad goals are as follows:

Experiential Goals: To contribute to solving a community health problem in a
meaningful, effective, and culturally competent fashion; specifically,
    To work to solve a public health problem in a community setting.
    To find and apply evidence-based solutions to a defined community problem.
    To work productively with other people and to develop successful community
      partnerships and solutions.
    To explore problem-solving methods in the contexts of specific communities and
    To understand the organizational, political, economic, and social contexts that can
      promote or constrain public health interventions.

Academic Goals: Both the COPHP class work and the Capstone Project are structured to
assure that students achieve core public health competencies in such skill areas as

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 -1-                            Revised July 2010
assessment, communication, policy development, and cultural awareness. Following are
general academic goals for the Capstone Project:

      To develop advanced public health assessment and problem-solving skills.
      To develop comprehensive knowledge in an area or areas of special interest.
      To evaluate the successes and weaknesses of the project though either formal
       evaluation and analysis or reflection.
      To hone communication skills and use them to summarize findings in
       professional-quality written and oral presentations.

       The Capstone Project is an individualized opportunity to apply and
       extend the public health skills learned in other settings, develop new
       skills, expand professional network, and gain specialized knowledge that
       can be used to advance the student’s future career and effectiveness in
       public health. Indeed, the experience, contacts, skills, and work products
       of the Capstone Project can be viewed as important components of each
       student’s “portfolio” and as major assets in the student’s resume.

                         What is a Capstone Project?
The Capstone Project is a year-long activity in which you work with a community
organization or public health agency to a) identify and contribute to the solution of a
public health problem, and b) summarize, present, and evaluate this effort. Your criteria
for choosing a Capstone Project are that it should:

   1. Address a need and/or have direct, practical value to a community organization
      or public health-related agency.

   2. Involve an identifiable activity (or set of activities) with a clear endpoint and
      produce a specific “product” that can be described in detail and evaluated
      formally or through reflection. It is not sufficient to have an “experience” —that
      is, help with, work in, observe, or staff a public health project. The Capstone
      Project must result in a product that the student can point to as her/his own.
      Examples of products include:
       An implementation plan for a public health program
       A public health intervention
       A curriculum
       An evaluation (report)
       A needs assessment (report)
       A communications campaign (advertisements, video, etc.)
       A training program
       A policy analysis
       Policy development
       Proposed legislation
       A community mobilization effort

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 -2-                             Revised July 2010
   3. Provide opportunity to apply and extend specific public health skills, knowledge,
      and experience in an area of special interest to the student.

   4. Be relevant to improving the health of a community, advancing social justice,
      eliminating health disparities, or improving public health practice.

   5. Be evidence-based. It is NOT sufficient just to DO something for the Capstone
      Project. You must build on—or place in the context of—what is known (i.e.,
      “evidence”). It is poor practice to a) be unaware of the theory underpinning an
      intervention, b) “re-invent the wheel,” c) fail to apply experience of others in
      developing an intervention, or d) use methods and interventions that have been
      shown to be ineffectual. Therefore, project activities must be planned and based
      on the published literature and ad hoc research (e.g., talking to experienced public
      health professionals) that can inform you about relevant theory, experience, and

   6. Include an evaluation or self-evaluation component (described below).

   7. Be summarized in a written report and orally in a rigorous, thoughtful, and
      professional manner. advisor

The organization or agency in which you conduct your Capstone Project can be
anywhere—domestic or international. It should meet the following criteria:

   1. Have an identified need that can be addressed with the problem-solving skills
      attained during COPHP cases and other academic work.

   2. Provide an on-site mentor who can meet with you regularly and who is willing to
      provide substantive guidance and assistance.

   3. Provide necessary resources (desk, data, access to clients, etc.) to enable you to
      carry out the project.

   4. Enable you to apply skills and competencies learned in the academic program.

   5. Have an organizational mission and values consistent with the program’s
      emphasis on social justice and equity.

   6. Provide an opportunity to interact with diverse populations in community settings
      and with public health practitioners.

Sites may be domestic or international. Examples of appropriate sites include:

          Health departments
          Local, state, federal, and international governmental human service agencies

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 -3-                             Revised July 2010
          Non-governmental human service agencies
          Community-based organizations (CBOs)
          Advocacy organizations
          Government policy-making bodies
          Community clinics
          Community centers
          Community coalitions
          Hospitals, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities
          Schools
          Child care and day care centers
          International non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

                               Process and Timeline
The Capstone Project consists of four phases:1) Planning, 2) Doing, 3) Evaluating and
Reflecting, and 4) Summarizing and Presenting.

Planning the Capstone Project
The first thing you must do is identify a project that meets your expectations, the COPHP
program’s expectations, and is do-able. In essence, finding a good project is like
researching a “learning objective” in your PBL courses. This is a process that can take
weeks or months. It is good to get started early, ideally in your first year but certainly no
later than September of your second year. First, become clear about what kinds of
projects, populations, or problems you are of interest you.

      Are you interested in certain population groups, e.g., immigrants?
      Are your interested in a specific problem are area, e.g., reproductive health?
      Do you want to work with a specific organization or type of organization (e.g., a
       rural health department)?
      Do you want experience in a specific public health challenge, e.g., developing a
       media campaign, conducting a program evaluation, or performing epidemiologic

Then, aggressively, search for opportunities in your areas of interest. Use all of the
resources that you have available to identify individuals, agencies, and opportunities
related to your interests: personal contacts (faculty, contacts, colleagues, etc.), the web,
print resources. Be active. Ask around. Call people. Arrange to meet with people to let
them know your interests and your needs (i.e., doing a 2nd year project), and also your
skills and ability to help. Often, a person with whom you meet will give you names of
other people to contact. Follow up on these leads. Do not be shy and do not avoid. If you
cannot arrange a meeting, try to talk with them on the phone, or worst of all, via email.

Be energetic and relentless in seeking out as many potential projects as possible.

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                  -4-                              Revised July 2010
At some point, you must decide which of the potential projects you have identified you
wish to pursue. For many of us, this is truly one of the hardest parts of the process.
Usually, there is no perfect project and no obvious front runner. But waiting, and waiting,
and waiting until the perfect project comes along can be disastrous. You may wind up,
many months later, with a project that could have been well underway. So please avail
yourselves of your advisors or other faculty if you find yourself stymied.

While you are selecting your Capstone Project, you should also be identifying a faculty
member to be your primary faculty advisor for the project. This person should be
someone with whom you feel comfortable and who has expertise in the area where you’ll
be working. Although we prefer that you select a faculty member from the COPHP
faculty, you can choose someone from outside the program, provided that they are on the
UW faculty and are willing to supervise the project according to the expectations
described in this document and the Capstone Project Contract (Appendix B).

Because, in your second year, your project faculty advisor is normally your program
(academic) advisor as well, please to sure to notify the Program Director if your project
advisor is not on the COPHP faculty, so we can be sure that you have someone to go to
for program-related issues (requirements, courses, career planning, etc.)

When you have chosen your project and project site, and you have received provisional
approval from someone at the site, you must prepare and submit a 4-5 page proposal
(see Appendix A), describing

      what you plan to do,
      why it is of importance,
      where and with whom you will be doing it, and
      how you plan to go about doing it.
      what you hope to get out of the experience.

At this stage, we are not expecting a comprehensive background analysis, literature
search, or detailed work plan, but these components of the project are important to
prepare as soon into the project as possible.

One copy of your proposal should be given to the faculty advisor you have selected and
two copies should be submitted to the program office (to the Program Director) for
review. The Director will provide substantive feedback on the proposal—perhaps
including some required modifications or a request for resubmission—within two weeks
of submission.

Once you have approval for your project, you should fill out and obtain signatures on the
Capstone Project Service Learning Contract (Appendix B). Copies of the signed
agreements should be given to the faculty advisor, on-site mentor, and the program
office, and you should keep a copy.

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 -5-                             Revised July 2010
For some projects, it may be necessary to submit a University of Washington Human
Subjects application. Usually this is necessary only if you are conducting a research
study. Your advisor and the program faculty should be able to tell you whether a Human
Subjects application is necessary for your project. If it is necessary for your project, the
Human Subjects Review process should be completed before any actual research is

The next step, before you begin conducting your project, is to develop a detailed work
plan. The work plan is for you and your advisors to plan and track your activities; it is
not necessary to submit the work plan to the program office. Further, you will conduct a
comprehensive background analysis and literature review. This process may continue
while you begin to conduct your project, but beginning this research early is essential in
orienting yourself to both the local context of your project and the relevant scientific
evidence base (both theory and experience) for what you plan to do. Appendix C contains
a form that you might find useful to organize your background research about the
community or organization involved in your work. A synthesis of your background
research will be part of your final written report and is described in more detail in
Appendix D).

Conducting the Capstone Project
This phase involves the actual conduct of your project. The details will vary; these may
involve curriculum development, community mobilization, political action, data analysis,
evaluation, program planning, program implementation—it depends on the purpose of
your particular project. As a general guide, the work involved should amount to about
180-240 hours, or 9-12 hours per week during Autumn and Winter quarters, i.e., 3 credits
per quarter (HSERV 595c). This represents simply the program’s minimal requirement.
You are free to spend more time on this project.

During this time, you should meet with your faculty advisor at least twice per quarter
and your on-site mentor at least every two weeks. It is important that the whole
committee (faculty advisor, on-site mentor, and student) meet all together at least once a
quarter and more if helpful or needed. If you are doing an international project, you will
likely need to complete all of your fieldwork in the summer between your first and
second years. You can still register for your capstone credits during Autumn, Winter and
Spring of your second year- there is no need to register (and pay tuition) during the

Evaluation and Reflection
Nothing that we do is perfect and we can all learn from our mistakes. Therefore, a critical
aspect of the Capstone Project is a thoughtful evaluation of the project itself. Some
projects may involve a structured, formal evaluation, which will help provide information
on the success of the project. In addition, however, we expect each student to reflect and
comment on the experience, answering the questions listed below. It may be helpful to
keep a journal or log to record and monitor your progress, difficulties, victories, and

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                  -6-                              Revised July 2010
      What worked, what didn’t?
      What would you do differently if you could do it over?
      Did you meet your Individual Learning Objectives?
      What was most (and possibly least) valuable about the experience?
      What did you learn about yourself from the project?

Summarizing and Presenting the Capstone Project
Although the Capstone Project should be an activity (informed by scholarly background
research), an essential part of the process is to summarize (in written, oral, and poster
media) what you accomplished. Because faculty are convinced that the development of
good communication and presentation skills are important aspects of your training, we
place great importance on the summarization and presentation of your Capstone Project.
Normally, the work for this will take place in the Spring Quarter of your second year,
although you certainly should be thinking about this from the outset. Generally, you will
register for 3 credits of HSERV 595c in the Spring Quarter for this work.

The program will ask for three, and possibly four, summaries from you.

1. Written report: a formal, professional, detailed, and comprehensive written report on
what you did and what you learned. Generally, this report will be between 20 and 40
pages, but it is the quality and content of the report, and not its length, that will be
evaluated. A complete first draft of the report should be submitted to your advisor
and your on-site mentor five weeks before the end of the quarter in which the student
plans to graduate (generally Spring Quarter). If agreeable with the members of the
committee, you may submit drafts of sections of the report individually, as they are
completed. The final report is due one week before the end of that quarter. (An
outline for the report is given in Appendix D.)

2. Agency presentation: a summary/presentation of your project for —and to—the
agency in which you worked. The format of this presentation should be determined in
discussions with your on-site colleagues. It is possible that a summary of the report above
or the program presentation (described below) will be satisfactory. It is more likely,
however, that the agency will want a more focused or, perhaps more community-oriented
report, such as a town meeting or a presentation at a staff meeting, etc. In any case, this is
something that needs to be negotiated early on in the project. Make sure that your faculty
advisor knows the date and time of this presentation so he or she can attend.

3. Oral presentation: During the last week of Spring Quarter, the program will organize
a special meeting for the presentations of the Capstone Projects. Each student will have
about 13 minutes (10 minutes for the presentation and 3 minutes for questions) for a
formal oral presentation. All first- and second-year students, as well as faculty, and guests
(including on-site mentors) will be invited to attend. An outline for the presentation is
found in Appendix E.

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                  -7-                               Revised July 2010
4. Poster presentation: Students may want to produce poster presentations of their
projects. These posters can be displayed at the time of the Oral Presentation Program, and
if ready in time, at the School’s “Practicum Day” in May. Details and instructions on how
to produce a poster presentation can be found at:

There are many guides available—at the UW, on the Web, or in books—to assist you in
developing a poster, e.g., Kelliher GJ, Sachdeva, AK. How to present a scientific poster. J
of Cancer Ed. 1996; 11(1):11-16.

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 -8-                             Revised July 2010
Forms and Documents
To keep the amount of busy-work to a minimum, but at the same time, to provide a
system of for accountability, tracking, and feedback, we will ask for the following
documents from you:

Document/                Purpose                 When Due           Submitted to       Description found
Milestone                                                                                     in:
Project         To summarize the proposed       By the fifth week   Faculty advisor    Appendix A
proposal        project; to enable faculty to   of Autumn           and program
                evaluate feasibility and        Quarter.            director
                adequacy of project; and to     Ideally, before
                make suggestions for            any fieldwork
                enhancing the quality of the    has begun.
Project         To assure that the student,     By the end of       Faculty advisor,   Appendix B
contract        faculty advisor, and on-        Autumn Quarter      on-site mentor,
                site-mentor are in                                  and program
                agreement about the intent                          director
                of the project and their
                respective responsibilities
Community/      To organize background          At the onset, or    For student’s      Appendix C
organization    information about the           before the          own use
background      community and agency in         Capstone Project
outline         which your Capstone             begins
                Project is situated
Human           To assure, when necessary,      Two months          Human Subjects     http://www.washington
Subjects        that Human Subjects             before you need     Office (need       .edu/research/hsd/
application     protections are not             to contact          signature of
                infringed by the work           subjects or         faculty advisor)
                undertaken in the project       access
                                                identifiable data
Project         To give an accounting of        By the end of the   Three copies:      Appendix D
written         the goals, background,          9th week of         faculty advisor,
product         methods, accomplishments,       Spring quarter      on-site mentor,
                and implications of the                             program office
                project; to provide a                               (final version)
                vehicle for evaluation and
                reflection on the strengths
                and weaknesses of the
Project         To share in oral and poster     Last week of        Faculty,           Appendix E
presentations   formats the goals,              Spring Quarter      classmates,
                background, methods,                                invited guests
                accomplishments, and
                implications of the project
Project         To provide a mechanism          Last week of        Faculty advisor,   Appendix F
evaluation      for the student, faculty        Spring Quarter      on-site mentor,
forms (4)       mentor, and site-mentor to                          program office
                provide constructive feed-
                back to one another

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                          -9-                                 Revised July 2010
Below is a suggested timeline for your Capstone Project activities. You are encouraged to
begin early. Even though there is a range of months for each of these activities, they
should precede more or less in sequence (e.g., you submit your proposal before you
submit your contract; submit your contract before you start the project itself, etc.). The
black cells represent important targets or deadlines. A complete draft of the final report
must be submitted to both the faculty advisor and on-site mentor at least a month before
the last week of class of the quarter in which you plan to graduate.

                                        Year 1                    Summer                    Year 2
                            O   N   D    J   F    M   A   M   J    J   A   S   O   N   D   J   F   M   A   M   J
Think about what you
would like to do for your
Research possibilities
Find a faculty advisor
Background research
Select a project/site
Submit proposal
Submit contract
Conduct project
Prepare reports and
Submit draft of report
Submit report*
Oral presentation*
*These are due during the last week of spring quarter. The Program Coordinator and Director will
let you know the dates of the final deadlines.

                            Evaluation and Feedback
A formal monitoring system to ensure satisfactory progress will be based on continuing
dialogue between the faculty advisor, mentor at the agency where the project is
undertaken, and the student. The faculty advisor and on-site mentor provide guidance and
final determination regarding acceptability of the quality of the final product.

Informal meetings among the student, faculty advisor, and on-site mentor should occur at
least twice a quarter to discuss progress and problems and to get informal feedback. The
student may choose to meet with the on-site mentor and the faculty advisor separately or
together, depending on topics, needs, and logistical considerations. The faculty advisor
and the on-site mentor should talk at least twice per quarter to assure that their
expectations and perspectives are consonant, or at least, clarified.

At the end of the Spring Quarter—during either the last week of the quarter or exam
week—all three parties (student, faculty, and on-site mentor) should complete a Capstone

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                       - 10 -                                Revised July 2010
Evaluation Form (Appendix F) that will be shared with the others, with a copy going to
the program files.

You will be evaluated on:
    the quality of your project
    the quality of your background research
    the professionalism with which you conducted your project
    the quality (in terms of both content and presentation) of your final written report
      (Appendix D) and the final oral presentation (Appendix E)
    the degree to which your met your Individual Learning Objectives

A measure of project quality relates to the clarity of thought process, beginning with the
statement of the question or problem, through the final statement of conclusions or
recommendations. An additional measure of the quality of a project may also relate to
how effectively it contributes to carrying out the goals and objectives of the agency
where the project was done. For example, an evaluation of a program activity could result
in either confirmation of how the program is being carried out or point toward a set of
recommendations that could significantly influence future program direction. Or a project
involving the use of descriptive information and statistical evidence could provide an
analysis on which to base significant public policy determinations. In both instances, the
project could contribute significantly to the agency's mission and be appropriate as a
scholarly effort to be presented in the format of a professional and/or scientific journal.

The grade for the Capstone Project will be determined by the faculty advisor in
consultation with the on-site mentor. The Capstone Project must be of sufficient quality
to earn a grade of 3.0 to fulfill the program’s requirements for graduation.

         Responsibilities for Students, On-site Mentors, and
Below we list the responsibilities of the student, on-site mentor, and faculty advisor.

      initiate the Capstone Project by researching prospective sites, making community
       contacts, and presenting options to their faculty advisors.
      familiarize themselves with characteristics of the sites by contacting staff and
       identifying potential mentors.
      develop meeting schedules for the duration of the Capstone Project with their
       faculty-advisors and on-site mentors. (Students are also encouraged to seek
       assistance from other faculty members who can offer expertise and guidance for
       the Capstone Project.)

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 - 11 -                            Revised July 2010
      perform all of the tasks outlined in their project proposal and work plan,
       collecting and completing all forms, and producing all deliverables on schedule,
           o Project Proposal
           o Project Contract
           o Work Plan
           o Progress reports
           o Draft final reports
           o Final report
           o Oral Presentation
           o Community Presentation

      formally evaluate the quality of their Capstone Project experience and makes
       recommendation for improving the experience

Faculty advisors:
      work with students to help choose their Capstone Project sites
      advise students to assure that their projects have reasonable and appropriate aims
       and both is rigorous and feasible;
      work with students and on-site mentors, develop a schedule of regular meetings to
       monitor progress, problem-solve around issues that come up, and provide advice
       on background development, literature search, methods, and presentations
      assist students in preparing, if necessary, Human Subjects applications
      have principal responsibility for project oversight, ensuring scientific quality, and
       integrating project tasks with academic work, learning objectives, and students’
       career objectives.
      review and critique all project deliverables, including proposals, work plans,
       progress reports, drafts, and final reports
      are responsible for assuring that grades (for HSERV 595c) are submitted each
       quarter to the registrar (Usually, a grade of “N” will be given for all but the final
       quarter. These “N” grades will be replaced automatically when a final grade for
       the project is submitted.)
      have responsibility for evaluating student’s work
      assure consensus of the committee for assigning a final grade for the project.

On-site mentors:
      assist students in identifying community/agency needs and in formulating an
       appropriate, feasible, and edifying project
      share expertise, experience, and organizational values
      assist students in completing the Capstone Project Contract.
      meet with students and faculty advisors at the onset and occasionally during the

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                - 12 -                            Revised July 2010
      orient students to their sites, serves as an advocate for the student, introducing
       them to staff and familiarizing them with organizational procedures.
      mentor the project, providing expertise on community and organizational ethos
       and on appropriate public health approaches and practice skills
      help students to find appropriate working space and equipment
      assist students to obtain access to necessary data
      establish a regular schedule of meetings with student to monitor progress and
       problem-solve together with students
      review and comment on written products
      attend the final oral presentation
      contribute to project evaluation and grading.

                         Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a Capstone Project and a Master’s Thesis?
The Capstone Project should represent a scholarly effort of high quality and demonstrate
the development of the student's ability for independent professional-quality work in a
real-world, practice context. The project may answer a question of practical importance
or develop and test intervention, curriculum, or protocol for application within a
particular setting. A project should address a clear statement of the problem provide a
literature review that covers the important work related to the problem, with content
clearly relating to the statement of problem, goal(s) of the project, description of the
conduct and outcomes of the project, commentary on the results, and statement of
implications or conclusions, based on the results. The Capstone Project should also
include an evaluation (formal and self-reflective) regarding the success of the project, as
well as strengths and weaknesses of the approach used.

A thesis is a research effort explicitly directed at creating new knowledge of a
generalizable nature. The thesis involves posing a question based on the current state of
knowledge (or lack of knowledge) about an issue, reviewing the literature on that
problem, developing hypotheses, planning a research design (usually a data analysis
approach) to confirm or refute the hypothesis, conducting data analysis, clearly
presenting the results of the analysis, carefully considering the strengths and weaknesses
of the design, relating the results to previous evidence, and commenting on the
implications of the work. A thesis may involve quantitative or qualitative research
methods, or both. It usually involves analysis of data collected by someone else (e.g.,
vital statistics or data from a faculty research project).

The following table                Capstone Project                   Master’s Thesis
characteristics of the
Capstone Project and a
Principal intent          To identify and solve a problem of      To create new

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 - 13 -                           Revised July 2010
                          practical importance to a public        knowledge
                          health agency or a defined
                          community; to improve public
                          health practice or community health
Is the report/thesis a    Yes—the student must identify and       Yes—student must
“scholarly” project?      synthesize evidence relevant to the     identify and synthesize
                          project. The student must also          relevant to the research
                          identify local historical, social,
                          organizational, economic, and
                          community contexts in which the
                          Capstone Project will occur.
Is this a research        It can be IF it has direct, practical   Yes
project?                  usefulness to the sponsoring agency,
                          organization, or community
Is data analysis          It can be IF it has direct, practical   Usually
involved?                 usefulness to the sponsoring agency,
                          organization, or community
Does the student          Yes, including a self-reflective        Yes
critically evaluate the   evaluation of the project
results and quality of
the project/research?
Principal audience        Agency, organization, or community Larger professional
                          where the project is conducted; in    community
                          some cases, the larger professional
Is the project/thesis     Yes (most likely in practice-oriented Yes
report publishable in a   journals)
professional journal?

Can I do a research project as a Capstone Project?
As noted above, you can do what might be called a research project IF it has direct,
practical usefulness to the sponsoring agency, organization, or community. The project
should serve a function to the sponsoring organization and not be a purely curiosity-
driven research project.

Can people work in teams on the Capstone Project?
Yes, but teams must be limited to two persons. The students must prepare individual
proposals and contracts that should specify the specific activities and products for which
each student will be responsible. In instances when students propose working as a team,
the final written reports and oral presentations should address significantly distinct
aspects or facets of the effort.

Can I do my project using experiences that I have had—or will have—in a job or
summer employment?

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 - 14 -                           Revised July 2010
Yes, providing that the project a) represents an extension of previous work or a new
original effort, b) meets the criteria and requirements of a Capstone Project (pages 2-3),
such as a scholarly base, written and oral reports, etc; and c) is your own work.

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 - 15 -                           Revised July 2010

                       PROJECT PROPOSAL OUTLINE
The Capstone Project is a major undertaking. It is an opportunity for students 1) to
immerse themselves in solving a public health problem, 2) to develop, expand and hone
their public health skills, 3) to work in a community setting or agency or their choice, and
4) to gain sophisticated experience in an area of special interest.

To assure that each Capstone Project is appropriate, adequately rigorous, and feasible,
we require that students prepare and submit for review a Capstone Project Proposal that
succinctly outlines the project (generally, fewer than 5 pages) before any major
commitment or work is initiated. If the fieldwork will happen in the summer, this
proposal should be handed in at the end of Spring quarter of the first year. The student’s
faculty advisor and the Program Director will review the proposal and will provide
approval and/or feedback within a week of receipt. Once this proposal is approved, the
student will be expected to develop an in-depth literature/background review and work
plan as two of the first tasks of the project.

   1. What?
           a. What are the objectives of the project? What do you hope to accomplish?
           b. What will be the product(s) of this project (e.g., an evaluation report, a
              strategic plan, a policy analysis, a curriculum, an implementation plan for
              new programs, educational materials, etc.).
           c. How will this benefit the community or target audience?
           d. What are your learning objectives for this project? (e.g., skills,
              knowledge, perspectives, experiences that you hope to gain through this
              work) List 5-10 Individual Learning Objectives for this experience.
           e. How will you present or communicate a summary of your project
              results to the agency or community with whom you worked?

   2. Where?
           a. Where will you conduct your project?
                  1. Provide a thumbnail sketch (about a paragraph) of the
                     community or locale.
                  2. Provide a thumbnail sketch (about a paragraph) of the agency
                     with which you will be working. Include address, phone, and
                     contact information.

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 - 16 -                           Revised July 2010
    3. Why?
             a. What is the problem you are addressing?
             b. How does this project fit with the needs and mission of the community
                or agency where you will be working?
             c. Why have you chosen this specific project/solution/approach—as
                opposed to other options—to address this problem?
             d. Briefly, what evidence from the literature can you cite to justify this
                choice or approach? This should be fleshed out in the full project report.

    4. Who?
             a. Name and contact information for UW faculty advisor
             b. Name and contact information for site or agency mentor

    5. How?
             a. What methods (generally) will you use (analysis of available data,
                literature review, surveys, focus groups, etc. Does not need to be detailed.
                Your work plan will describe your “methods” in more depth.)
             b. What resources (data, access to human subjects, etc.) will you need to
                conduct this work?
             c. Is it likely that you will need to get Human Subjects or other approvals or
                cooperation for this work?

    6. When?
             a. Provide a timeline for this work, including the following tasks:
                     1. Literature review
                     2. Development of work plan
                     3. Conduct of project (may/should involve steps, tasks)
                     4. Write-up of project
                     5. Presentation to community and agency

Be sure to take time to think carefully about and articulate you Individual Learning Objectives for the
Capstone Project. To a large extent, the Individual Learning Objectives are the definitive description of
what you hope to get out of the project. These should be specific and expressed in such a way that you
and/or your committee can assess whether you have met them. Here are some examples:

To develop content expertise by reviewing the literature on family planning programs for adolescents
To (successfully) conduct focus groups of migrant farm workers
To (learn how to) do a (successful) program evaluation
To develop a health education curriculum for middle school boys in bullying-prevention
To (successfully) analyze a data set, using SPSS
To plan a media campaign on obesity, using the most current thinking on health education media
To learn how to make a professional quality health-related video
To assist community boards to be more effective in their governance roles
To practice community organizational skills
To get involved in developing legislation

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                         - 17 -                                 Revised July 2010

                             COPHP Capstone Project

The terms of the field experience and the obligation of all partners should be clearly understood
and entered into by signature of agreement.
The Service Learning Contract needs to provide fair measurement of the extent to which the
interests of the three partners are served.
     The student is entitled to a meaningful practical learning experience that builds on
         experience and coursework.
     The host agency is entitled to a responsible adult learner with a serious commitment to
         the agency's goals and to delivering a service or product of value to the agency.
     The academic department is entitled to reasonable evidence that both sides of these
         commitments have been fulfilled before it gives the student a passing grade.

Details of the signed contract include:
    Statements of the student's project objectives, which should clearly express the activities
        to be performed, the services to be provided, and the end products expected
    Statements of the student's learning objectives
    Expectations include attendance, punctuality, and productivity
    The student's responsibilities—projects, academic assignments, meetings, readings,
        presentations, post-internship evaluations
    The on-site mentor’s responsibilities—host orientation, resources, training, projects,
        networking and career development activities, statement of successful completion and
        recommendation, post-field experience evaluations
    The faculty advisor’s responsibilities—curriculum, advise student, provide means for
        structured reflection upon and reporting of progress and results, sustain contact with the
        on-site mentor

The Practicum Field Experience is based on an agreement between three parties, each of whom
has specific responsibilities that are necessary to make Field Experience an effective service
learning experience. Responsibilities are outlined below.

The COPHP Program will:
 Select students capable of providing service to the agency.
 Provide students with classroom and assigned learning activities that will enable them to function in their
   field assignments.
 Provide regular advising to student teams in collaboration with agency mentors.
 Develop and conduct regular student/faculty and student/on-site mentor learning conferences.
 Evaluate the student’s performance in collaboration with the on-site mentors.
 Evaluate the quality of the service-learning associated with field experience in collaboration with the on-
   site mentors and the students.
 Make modifications in future curricula to address educational problems identified in evaluations of
   fieldwork experiences.

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                    - 18 -                              Revised July 2010
The on-site mentor will:
 Develop outcome objectives for the field experience assignment to guide the student team in their
 Provide regular supervision to students in collaboration with university advisors.
 Provide adequate work space, support, and supplies to enable the student to function effectively as a field
   work student in the agency,
 Participate in student/mentor/adviser conferences,
 Evaluate the student’s performance in collaboration with university advisors.
 Evaluate the quality of the service-learning associated with field experience in collaboration with the
   university advisors and the students.
 Make modifications in agency systems to address service-learning problems identified in evaluations of
   field work experiences.

The student will:
 Actively participate in classroom seminars and assignment activities to develop knowledge and skills to
   enhance effective participation in field experience activities.
 Carry out duties as outlined in the Capstone Project proposal and agreed to in this contract, including
   written and oral reports.
 Evaluate the quality of the Capstone Project experience in collaboration with the university advisors and
   the on-site mentors.
 Make recommendations regarding opportunities for improvement of the Capstone Project experience.

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                   - 19 -                              Revised July 2010
                               COPHP Capstone Project Contract

This form should be completed after your interview with your on-site mentor.
Name________________________________Student #________________
Name of Agency/project _________________________________________
Phone/e mail __________________________________________________

Your Primary Service Deliverables (use additional pages if necessary)
Your Primary Learning Objectives (use additional pages if necessary)
Your Primary Responsibilities and Duties (use additional pages if necessary)
As a service learner, you are given the opportunity for a unique and valuable experience. To undertake in
this assignment as a representative of the University of Washington School of Public Health and
Community Medicine, your instructor and yourself, you must:
    1   Fulfill your agreement as to your duties, hours, and responsibilities to the best of your ability. Be
        professional—punctual, polite, and respectful of agencies’ policies, rules and regulations.
    2   Respect the confidentiality of clients of the agency.
    3   Give notification in advance if you must miss or be late for an agency appointment. If advance
        notification is impossible, call as soon as possible thereafter.
I have read and agree to the agreement and the guidelines as outlined above.
________________________________________                                 ___________________
Student Signature
I have read the agreement and agree to supervise or provide supervision for the student

______________________________________                                   ______________________
On-site Mentor                                                  Date

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                          - 20 -                                  Revised July 2010
I have read the agreement and agree to provide consultation to the on-site mentor and
academic supervision to the student.

Faculty Advisor                                             Date

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                - 21 -                           Revised July 2010
UW COPHP Capstone Handbook   - 22 -   Revised July 2010

                            COPHP Capstone Project
                          Organizational Profile Template

1.      History and development. (When was this organization formed? Why? How has
        it developed over time?)

2.      Organization’s mission, goals, services, and values.

3.      Whom does it serve? (client demographics, eligibility criteria, service area)

4.      Service area.

5.      Type of organization (non-profit, for-profit, membership, etc.) and funding
        (major sources, operating budget).

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook               - 23 -                           Revised July 2010
6.    Federal, state, or local regulations followed.

7.      Governance (board composition, partners, affiliations with external agencies,

8.      Staff composition (number, disciplines represented, training, organizational

9.      Relationship to community and other agencies (partners, collaborators,

10.   Current challenges, visions, and organization’s priority needs (list three).

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                - 24 -                           Revised July 2010

                              WRITTEN PRODUCT

Final report
The final written report for the Capstone Project (20-40 pages) should contain the
following elements:
    I.     Abstract
           A. Maximum length: 300 words. Should have the following five titled
                subsections: Specific Aims; Setting; Methods (or Intervention); Results;
    II.    Introduction:
           A. Specific Aims—What are the specific objectives of the project? Who will
                benefit from it?

           B. Problem statement—What is the significance, magnitude, and importance
              of the problem in both a national and local context?

           C. A review of scientific knowledge, evidence, and experience and
              justification of motivation for your approach. (Students should search
              published information sources to understand the breadth of knowledge in
              their subject area, the historical and theoretical contexts of the work, and
              whether and how successfully similar work has been undertaken. This will
              involve searching academic articles as well as reports, news articles, and
              other non-traditional sources. The literature review will be part of the final
              written report.)

           D. Local Background—Historical, demographic, epidemiologic, and
              organizational context in which this project is being conducted.

   III.    Methods/Project activities (what you did)
           A. Description of the approach and steps you used to achieve your aims.
           B. A description of any data analysis or evaluation that was involved.

              1. Selection of study subjects
                      i)      Source
                      ii)     Sampling method/recruitment
                      iii)    Criteria for eligibility/exclusion of cases
              2. Data collection
                      i)      Source (e.g., questionnaire, interview, record review, vital

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 - 25 -                           Revised July 2010
                        ii)    Variables and measures used
             3. Data analysis

   IV.    Project results (accomplishments, learning)
          A. What was accomplished? This will generally be a description or summary
             of the products or activities you produced or were responsible for. If the
             accomplishments involve the creation of a long document or lengthy
             materials (such as a curriculum, plan, or video, you may want to include
             them as an appendix in your report.

   V.     Discussion and reflection—A critical evaluation of the successes and
          deficiencies of the project.

          A. What impact or effect did this work have on the community?
          B. What worked and why?
          C. What didn’t and why?
          D. How did the experience compare with your expectations and goals?
          E. What were the strengths and weaknesses of your work?
          F. What would you have done differently knowing what you know now?
          G. How does your experience compare or contrast with others (e.g., from the
          H. What are the implications of the project
                   i)         For the agency
                   ii)        For public health practitioners generally
          I. Next steps?

   VI.    References (in a standard format)
   VII.   Bibliography
   VIII. Appendices

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                  - 26 -                        Revised July 2010

                         PROJECT PRESENTATIONS

During the last week of Spring Quarter, we will hold a special program for the
presentation of your Capstone Project. Each student will have about 13 minutes (10
minutes for the presentation and 3 minutes for questions) for a formal presentation. All
first- and second-year students and faculty, as well as invited guests, will attend.

A suggested outline for the presentation follows. The number in parentheses indicates an
approximate number of slides for each section.

Title slide—Title, student (1)

      Aims of the project (1)
      Local context and motivation for the project (1-2)
      National context—scientific, evidence base, other experience, motivation (1-2)

Methods —What you did (2)

Accomplishments and Impact —What you accomplished (2)

Lessons learned, implications, next steps (1-2)

Acknowledgments (1)

Presentation to agency or community
Students should expect to prepare a “community product” for their host agency or
organization, in a form (full report, summary paper, etc.) arranged with their on-site
mentors. Students should determine the format of this presentation in discussions with
their on-site colleagues. The program presentation (described above) may be satisfactory.
It is more likely, however, that the agency will want a more focused, tailored,
Community-Oriented report, such as a town meeting or presentation to staff meeting.

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                - 27 -                           Revised July 2010

                            PROJECT EVALUATIONS
Both the faculty advisor and the on-site mentor will fill out the form on the following
page, according to the attached criteria. Ideally, the project will be completed and the
evaluations done in sufficient time for this feedback to be shared and discussed in-person
with the student. Students should give their faculty advisor and on-site mentor the
evaluation forms and evaluation criteria, and determine a time to discuss the evaluations
with each advisor and on-site mentor.

In order for the Director of the Program to certify the completion of the Capstone Project
requirement, four (4) evaluation forms must be submitted:

1.   The on-site mentor’s evaluation of the Capstone Project.
2.   The faculty advisor’s evaluation of the Capstone Project.
3.   The student’s evaluation of the Capstone Project experience.
4.   The student’s evaluation of the site.

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 - 28 -                          Revised July 2010
                        On-site Mentor’s Evaluation of Capstone Project

Student:                                         Date:
                                        Evaluation              Comments
Project objectives

Planning, conduct, and

Contribution of project to
organization or community needs

Working with colleagues

Working with community

Project product

        Helpfulness, appropriateness,

        Originality, creativity

Presentation to sponsor/community

        Organization and clarity

        Presentation style

        Appropriateness and


Areas for improvement:

Other General comments:

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                    - 29 -                      Revised July 2010
                      Faculty Advisor’s Evaluation of Capstone Project

Student:                                      Date:

                                     Evaluation                Comments
Project objectives

Planning, conduct, and


Working with colleagues

Working with community

Written product

        Organization, presentation


Oral presentation

        Organization, clarity

        Presentation style


Areas for Improvement

Other General Comments

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 - 30 -                        Revised July 2010
                              Criteria for Evaluating the Capstone Project

              Area                        Unsatisfactory                      Satisfactory                    Outstanding
Project objectives                  Did not meet project objectives     Met project objectives           Exceeded project objectives
Contribution of project to          Project had or will have little     Project had or will have         Project had or will have
organization/ community needs       impact                              some impact                      considerable impact
Planning and organization           Did not adequately plan and         Appropriately planned and        Exceptionally well
                                    organize work                       organized work; met project      organized
Work habits                         Did not communicate with on-        Communicated satisfactorily      Communicated frequently
                                    site mentors; did not follow        with on-site mentors;            and effectively with on-site
                                    through on commitments              followed through on              mentors; thoughtful,
                                                                        commitments; shows               thorough, anticipatory work
                                                                        initiative                       habits; shows exceptional
Scholarship                         Did not adequately review           Adequately reviewed              Exceptionally thorough
                                    literature; did not adequately      literature; adequately           review of literature and
                                    research local background and       researched local background      assessment of background
                                    context; did not employ             and context; employed            and context; use—or
                                    appropriate, evidence, or theory-   appropriate, evidence or         advanced—state-of-the-art
                                    based methods in project            theory-based methods in          methods
Working with colleagues             Did not work well with              Worked effectively with          Demonstrated effective
                                    colleagues                          staff and co-workers             leadership and/or change-
                                                                                                         agent behaviors
Working with community              Did not work effectively with       Demonstrated ability to work     Developed exemplary and
                                    community                           with community members           sustained relationships with
                                                                        effectively and sensitively      community
Written product
        Content                     Does not adequately address all     Adequately addresses all         Demonstrates complete
                                    sections as indicated on outline    sections                         command of the subject
                                                                                                         matter; exceptional
                                                                                                         creativity or originality
                                                                                                         and/or new insights;
        Organization and            Poorly organized; sloppy; tables    Clearly organized; adequate      Professional visual
        presentation                and graphs not well constructed     tables and graphs                impression; journal-quality
                                                                                                         tables and graphs
        Writing                     Not well written (unclear, with     Clearly understandable, with     Clear, concise, professional
                                    grammar, punctuation, and           few, if any, technical writing   writing
                                    spelling errors common)             errors
Oral presentation
        Content                     Minimal content                     Interesting, useful content      Outstanding content
        Organization and clarity    Poorly organized; not clearly       Well organized; clearly and      Well organized; clearly
                                    presented; visuals poorly           concisely presented; good        presented; professional-
                                    constructed                         visuals                          quality visuals
        Presentation style          Rambling, distracting,              Concise; projects voice          Engaging, enthusiastic,
                                    unprofessional                                                       confident
Presentation to
        Content                     Minimal content                     Interesting, useful content      Outstanding content
        Organization and clarity    Poorly organized; not clearly       Well organized, clearly and      Well organized, clearly
                                    presented, visuals poorly           concisely presented, good        presented, visuals
                                    constructed                         visuals                          appropriately constructed to
                                                                                                         communicate with
                                                                                                         community audience
        Presentation style          Rambling, distracting,              Concise; projects voice          Engaging, enthusiastic,
                                    unprofessional                                                       confident
        Appropriateness and         Talks down or without conviction    Appropriate content and          Original or creative method
        effectiveness               to audience                         style                            of communication

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                      - 31 -                                    Revised July 2010
                        Student’s Evaluation of Capstone Project Experience

What I learned:

Individual Learning Objectives:
           Objective                       Was objective met?                  Comment
Use additional pages if

The positive aspects of this experience:

Your overall assessment of your learning, including what you learned above and beyond your
original Individual Learning Objectives:

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 - 32 -                    Revised July 2010
How well- prepared were you for this experience, and what could be done in the future to improve
preparation of the Capstone Project?

My recommendation regarding continued use of this placement is:

Definitely continue   _______

Do not continue       _______

Continue under conditions (please specify)__________________________________________________

            Student Signature

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook            - 33 -                        Revised July 2010
                                           COPHP Program
                               Student’s Evaluation of the Capstone Site



On-site Mentor___________________________________________________
Please read each statement below and select from within a scale range of 1 (disagree strongly) to 5
(agreed strongly) regarding your experience with your Capstone Project on-site mentor.

1.     Introduced me to other staff and helped me to
       establish collegial relationships with them.                _______

2.     Was usually available whenever I needed her/him.            _______

3.     Met with me on a regular basis to provide supervision.      _______

4.     Asked me to specify my learning goals.                      _______

5.     Treated me as an adult learner.                             _______

6.     Encouraged me to critically examine my performance.         _______

7.     Provided ongoing specific and constructive feedback
       about my performance.                                       _______

8.     Encouraged me to take initiative.                           _______

9.     Established comfortable personal/professional
       boundaries.                                                 _______

10.    Encouraged me to experiment with my own                     _______
       ideas and approaches.

11.    Was a positive professional role model for me.              _______

12.    Assisted me in exploring problem-solving options.           _______

13.    Encouraged me to expand my public health knowledge.         _______

14.    Encouraged me to collaborate with and learn from
       other staff.                                                _______

15.    Was sensitive to the multiple demands of my
       graduate experience.                                        _______
UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                 - 34 -                         Revised July 2010
Please read each statement below and select from within a scale range of 1 (disagree strongly) to 5
(agree strongly) regarding your experience with your Capstone Project site.

1.     Provided a desk and other resources for me to do my job.    _______

2.     Provided me with access to the necessary data files.        _______

3.     Allowed me to represent the agency by attending and
       participating in interagency functions.                     _______

4.     Was a supportive learning environment.                      _______

5.     Treated me with respect.                                    _______

6.     I feel this experience prepared me for public health
       practice.                                                   _______

7.     I feel this experienced help me get ready for public
       health employment.                                          _______

UW COPHP Capstone Handbook                - 35 -                          Revised July 2010

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