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PPALS Capstone Project Guideline




The PPALS/Sanford PACT collaboration is not a traditional conference, but a course of study that ultimately leads to certification of the PPALS curriculum. The course is best thought of as an ongoing curriculum that does not end when everyone leaves Sioux Falls.

Participants of Track 1, Level 1 (Industry) are encouraged to complete a Capstone. There is no Capstone requirement for Level 2 participants. Participants who complete a Capstone and return the following or another year for Level 2 classes can apply to serve as a mentor for Level 1 attendees. Participants are also encouraged to submit a Case Study for potential use in a future PACT course.

While a Capstone is not required for completion of the course, participation in this aspect of the curriculum bestows an enhanced certification. 

What is a Capstone Project?

Traditionally, Capstone projects are found in undergraduate and graduate programs at leading colleges and universities, and are designed to serve as comprehensive, culminating projects that students are required to complete once they have finished their curriculum in their field of study and before they qualify for graduation. 

A Capstone project does not have to be an extensive, involved project. For example, participants can take an ongoing project they are already working on for their career or company and have that project double as their Capstone. 

          Two key aspects for the Capstone are: 

  • Demonstrating the skills that have been acquired during the course and using the information they have learned. 
  • Capstone projects will help PPALS to measure the effectiveness and value of the current curriculum.

How does this work?

Participants should develop an idea for their Capstone while attending the course. During PACT, participants will pick a mentor who will approve their project idea and work with them to complete the project. Any PPALS faculty can potentially serve as a mentor if they agree to do so. A Capstone can be a group effort and multiple attendees can work together to submit a project. 

Steps to complete a Capstone:

  • Create an idea for the project.
  • Pick a Mentor who will approve the idea.
  • Work with the Mentor to expand the project.
    • Participants should remain in touch with their Mentors post-PACT to work on this project. 
  • Complete the project.
  • Independent Review
    • Projects are reviewed by an educational specialist unaffiliated with PPALS.

What is the time frame to complete this project?

PPALS requests participants complete and submit their Capstones before the start of the PACT course for the following year (i.e., 1 years’ time). 

What happens next?

Participants retain ownership and copyright of their Capstone and will determine what happens with the project going forward. 

A Capstone can be shared with all PPALS alumni and faculty if so desired, either via email or as a presentation given as a PPALS Presents webinar or a members-only happy hour session (MOHH). In some cases, a project may contain information that is not for public consumption and the Capstone will not be shared. 

What else can be done with the project? Obviously, this depends on the topic and subject matter of an individual project. Some ideas include: 

  • PPALS will publicize the project across its social media platforms and website. 
  • Certain projects may be considered for future courses at PPALS. 
  • A project may be considered for a future educational purpose such as a webinar.
    • The webinar can be run by the author(s) of the project.
  • Professional development and networking.
  • Internal use – Some projects will be specific to the organization of the author(s).