Senior Capstone

DCP 4290 | Process & Procedures

The Sustainability and the Built Environment (SBE) Program views DCP 4290, our mentored Senior Capstone course, and its student-led project, as the most effective way to nurture the passion and innovation in our students using the tools, skills, and knowledge earned throughout their college career with us. An SBE Senior Capstone project serves as a celebration of sorts and a culminating experience delivering a polished product that showcases student abilities and readiness for the job market. While the DCP design disciplines create a portfolio of their studio work, our SBE students might view their Senior Capstone as a way to share the art and science of critical thinking and interdisciplinary problem solving as they explore the opportunities and constraints around a challenge of sustainability and the built environment of interest to them.

What to Expect | Mentors

SBE Senior Capstone mentors provide a deeply valued service to our students and the program overall. While often faculty and staff within the College of Design, Construction, and Planning, mentors may originate from other teaching, research, outreach, and/or operational units across the broader University of Florida institution, or even from public, private, or non-governmental organizations with mutual interests.

Mentors should be skilled in the topical domain of the project being undertaken by the mentee and be capable and willing to guide their project design, development, deployment, data collection, data analysis, and public communication. The typical commitment necessitates mentors engage in the following activities summarized below.

  • Facilitate periodic mentorship meetings (e.g., 30-minutes weekly or bi-weekly based on student needs);
  • Support student mentee progress via sporadic asynchronous communications (e.g., responding to questions, project troubleshooting);
  • Attend live, synchronous midterm and final presentations;
  • Read and offer feedback on the final project paper; and
  • Provide the SBE program with a final student grade for the course.

What to Expect | Student Mentees

We congratulate our program seniors for arriving at this final required course in your SBE curricula. A brief overview of the process is provided below. A more in depth explanation of, and preparation for, the Senior Capstone projects is provided in the curriculum of DCP 3200 Methods of Inquiry, a core course within the SBE program and a pre-requisite for the Senior Capstone.

Project Initiation

Students are strongly encouraged to identify a project and a mentor at the end of DCP 3200 course or no later than two weeks before the start of the semester in which they will enroll in the DCP 4290 course. In order to register for the capstone, a student must complete the capstone registration form that requires a written description of the proposal along with both the student and mentor signatures. For all projects which may interact with human or non-human subjects, we request that students complete the IRB Auto-Determination Tool to evaluate if a full IRB submission is required by you and your mentor.

Public Presentations

Students are required to make two public project presentations using approved visual support software. The attendees will include each student’s mentor, plus available faculty from the SBE Governing Board, SBE faculty, SBE student advisors, and other SBE students.

Midterm Presentation

Approximately halfway through the semester, students are required to make a midterm presentation (10-12 minutes) to describe their progress to date and delineate their next steps to complete their project. After the presentation, an additional 8-10 minutes of audience interaction via questions, discussion, and feedback will be provided.

Final Presentation

At the end of the semester just prior to the institutionally scheduled reading days, students are required to make a final presentation (20-25 minutes) to describe their project in full. After the presentation, an additional 15-20 minutes of audience interaction via questions, discussion, and feedback will be provided. Students will also share their multimedia vignette with the audience.

Final Deliverables

The deliverables outlined below must be submitted no later than two days before the last day of class (e.g., on Monday if the last day of class is on Wednesday). For those students who are applying for High Honors or Highest Honors, the paper submitted will be forwarded as your Honors submittal. See the UF Gator Cloud Collaboration Tools link below for more information and access to software services from Microsoft, Google, Dropbox, and others made available for free to students attending the University of Florida.

  • Project Paper
    • A minimum paper length of 40 pages is expected (inclusive of title page, outline, abstract, report body, tables, figures, and resources). Appendices and related supporting documentations (e.g., survey instrument, raw data collected in the field) are welcomed, but do not count toward the minimum page length.
    • Sources must be curated, cited (in an author-date style), and cross referenced within the work, alongside a complete list of references included at the end.
    • The paper is submitted in PDF format.
  • Public Presentations
    • Presentations are delivered synchronously to a live audience, in person and/or online (via Zoom), so as the SBE student may practice their public speaking and communication skills.
    • The midterm and final presentations are submitted as website URLs for the software service used and/or for the Google Drive link where your slide files are stored.
  • Web-Based Multimedia Vignette
    • Each student must prepare a short-format, audio-visual, multimedia vignette that engages viewers for 3-5 minutes.
    • Vignettes may take one of the following three forms:
      • An “Abstract” summary of the Senior Capstone project;
      • A “Public Service Announcement (PSA)” to educate viewers about any sustainability and the built environment topic of interest to the student; or
      • A “Journey” story about the student’s experiences at the University of Florida.
    • These vignettes will be archived online and made accessible asynchronously to the general public via a website permalink from an appropriate multimedia software service, such as the following:
    • The course name and number, SBE program, project title, student’s name and date must be included at the beginning of the multimedia vignette. At the end of the vignette, acknowledge your mentor and others who contributed to your work.
    • The multimedia vignette is submitted as a website URL.

Tools & Forms

Past Students, Mentors, Projects & SBE Alumni Contacts

A searchable spreadsheet of all archived SBE Senior Capstone students, mentors, and project titles is available to University of Florida institutional stakeholders as linked and embedded below. Feel free to use the Excel “filter” feature to search for specific students, mentors, and/or project topic keywords. The second worksheet includes links to the SBE Alumni Linked In profiles.

Highlighted Projects & Vignettes

Interdisciplinary Specialization | Student Examples

Project Abstract Vignette

In this five minute SBE Capstone Project Abstract vignette, Ryan Lester (Spring 2021 SBE Interdisciplinary Specialization) explains the opportunities and challenges of public engagement, resilience, and equity in ethnic minority populations of Nantucket, MA. Join him to learn more about the Envision Resilience Nantucket Challenge and the research he conducted with Morris (Marty) Hylton, III in the Preservation Institute: Nantucket (PIN), one of the nation’s oldest, continually operating field schools for historic preservation (circa 1972). Thanks Ryan!

Project Abstract Vignette

In this three minute SBE Capstone Project Abstract vignette, Danielle Decosta (Spring 2020 SBE Interdisciplinary Specialization) explains the true cost of sunlight in our modern lives. Join her to learn more about how sunlight empowers our bodies and minds, as well as why the green building movement focuses this free resource back into buildings to improve indoor environmental quality and occupant wellness. Thanks Danielle!

Public Service Announcement (PSA) Vignette

In this four minute SBE Senior Capstone Public Service Announcement (PSA) vignette, Tiffany Stewart (Spring 2020 SBE Interdisciplinary Specialization) provides a brief introduction on sustainable food systems, food security, and urban agriculture. She ends with a tutorial on how to build your own two-tiered, table-top planter box for small space urban herb gardening. Thanks Tiffany!

Geodesign Specialization | Student Examples

Project Addendum Vignette

In this ArcGIS StoryMap SBE Senior Capstone Project Addendum vignette, Sophia Palombo (Spring 2021 SBE Geodesign Specialization) explores if enterprise zones engender more equitable local redevelopment and revitalization. Join her to learn more about a simple potential index for gentrification in Gainesville at the Census tract level. Thanks Sophia!

Project Abstract Vignette

In this three minute SBE Capstone Project Abstract vignette, Rachel Weber (Spring 2020 SBE Geodesign Specialization) takes us on a virtual tour and describes the North Magnolia Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) in Ocala, Florida. Join her to learn more about how urban planning and geodesign can contribute to more vibrant communities, honoring our past, present, and future. The full ArcGIS StoryMap for the project can be found here. Thanks Rachel!

Public Service Announcement (PSA) Vignette

In this three minute SBE Senior Capstone Public Service Announcement (PSA) vignette, Jeremy Griffith (Spring 2020 SBE Geodesign Specialization) provides some lessons learned in his time serving as the President of the UF Students for New Urbanism (SNU) organization. If you dream of communities inspired by Jane Jacobs and identify as a NUMTOT, then Jeremy and his SNU crew await you. Thanks Jeremy!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Answers, coming soon…
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