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Skidmore College
English Department

Departmental Senior Seminars in Literary Studies and Advanced Projects in Creative Writing: Honors and Works of Distinction Procedures and Timeline


This handout provides a summary of departmental honors and works of distinction procedures for senior seminars in literary studies and advanced projects in creative writing. It also offers a recommended timeline for meeting these goals.

Procedures for honors and works of distinction

  1. All students submit their work at least one week before the final day of class.

  2. For those projects that receive an A or an A+, the chair will appoint a second reader.

  3. The second reader will have no effect on the assignment of an honors or work of distinction designation.

  4. The second reader reads the final work and participates in a capstone conference with the student and the instructor.

Recommended timeline

  • Students submit their work at least one week before the final day of class. This allows instructors:

    • sufficient time to identify honors and works of distinction projects and locate second readers

    • a final class meeting to synthesize the capstone experience

  • In the weeks preceding submission of final projects, the instructor may notify the chair of promising work so as to begin the process of identifying potential second readers. Second-reader determinations can also be made as the instructor reads the final versions.

  • The seminar instructor, the second reader, and the student participate in a capstone conference, ideally sometime between the final day of class and the final day of the semester. In the event of early departures from campus, capstone conferences could be conducted remotely.

Capstone conference rationale and goals

The capstone conference signals to students the degree of respect that the English Department ascribes to their labors. In this sense, the capstone conference is the most significant moment in which the department honors the work of our best and most industrious students. The role of the second reader in this conference is not to suggest short-term revision (which students will already be engaged in throughout their capstone seminar) but rather to serve as a sophisticated interlocutor who might help the student think further about the scholarly and real-world implications of their labors.