While the College requires a SIP to graduate, Critical Ethnic Studies does not require a Senior Individualized Project as part of the major. We welcome CES SIPs that serve as a capstone project that builds on your frameworks, methodologies, skills, and experiences from the Critical Ethnic Studies major. Your work in the SIP should reflect deep understanding of core CES coursework. The SIP should also reflect the founding principles of Ethnic Studies: self-determination; solidarity among American racial minorities; educational relevance; and an interdisciplinary approach. Because CES SIPs are inherently interdisciplinary, we encourage our majors to plan early to develop the background and proficiencies needed to do advanced interdisciplinary work for their SIPs.
If you are interested in doing a CES SIP, you must follow our proposal process in the spring of your junior year. Seniors in the class of 2022 who intend to study abroad as seniors should let us know of your plans ASAP.
SIP Models and Preparation
Because of the interdisciplinary nature of CES SIPs, there are many forms potential projects might take. One might do a library-based research SIP that analyzes and extends CES concepts and frameworks, or applies those frameworks to historical or contemporary issues and texts. One might do fieldwork-based research (qualitative or quantitative) within a CES context. One might complete a creative project or a community based project or an internship-based project (which will require research and writing in addition to the work of the internship). ALL of these models (and others not listed here) require the following:
- At least intermediate-level background/coursework in the disciplines the SIP draws upon. (For example: one must have taken Intermediate Poetry to complete a CES SIP that involves writing poetry; or one must have completed Qualitative Methods to do a SIP that relies on ethnographic methods or other qualitative approaches.)
- Significant written analysis and reflection. (Individual projects may differ based on particular issues, but in general a one unit SIP would consist of 30-50 written pages, while a two-unit SIP would consist of 60-80 written pages, not including prefatory material and appendices.)
- A Preface that situates the project within the field and explores the way the project (and the student’s experiences in the major) stand in dialogue with CES coursework and methods—and with the field of Critical Ethnic Studies. (See below for details.)
- A clearly-defined, ethical process involving consistent communication with your SIP advisor, a work plan, IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval when needed, a demonstrated commitment to revision, and prompt compliance with deadlines.
In the spring of your Junior year, you will need to submit your proposal (guidelines below) to Dr. Amelia Katanski, co-director of Critical Ethnic Studies, no later than Monday of 4th Week. Upon receipt of proposals, faculty will convene to discuss each proposal. Students will be notified if their SIP will be taken by CES, and who their SIP advisor will be, by Friday of 5th Week. Students will then work with their SIP Advisor to develop their proposals further and lay out a work plan for the SIP term. They will also discuss the significant preparation that must be completed before the start of the SIP term. Final project proposals and IRB applications (when needed) will be completed by Friday of 8th Week. The College SIP registration form is due to the Registrar’s office by Friday of 10th Week. It is the SIP student’s responsibility to complete this form, get necessary signatures, and get it to the Registrar.
Your 4-6 page proposal should contain the following information:
- An explanation of what you intend to accomplish in your SIP—your project topic, research question, and goals. Explain, too, why you want to undertake this project and your own positionality in relationship to the project.
- An explanation of which theoretical frameworks you intend to employ and why
- A discussion of the methodology you intend to engage, including evidence you have the background (through coursework, as well as other kinds of experiences) to use these methodologies knowledgably, ethically, and effectively
- A discussion of how the SIP is a capstone project in CES and draws upon your previous coursework and experiences (including list of relevant courses you’ve completed. Note you must complete intermediate level coursework in the disciplines the SIP draws upon (both CES and other disciplines).
- Indication of the quarter(s) in which you would like to do your SIP; the number of units (1 or 2) you propose for your SIP; and a list of three potential faculty advisors. As you compile this list, think of the ways in which your project intersects with faculty expertise both in terms of content and methodology. Please understand we will ultimately match you with your SIP advisor based on our own knowledge of our expertise, workload, and availability.
- You will want to begin building an annotated bibliography of sources that inform your work. We understand doing research during the pandemic is difficult. We are not expecting you to have this bibliography done by week four. You will develop it throughout the quarter, in consultation with your SIP advisor. Annotations of 3-4 sentences each will summarize each source and indicate how it might contribute to or inform your project. Note this proposal bibliography is just a starting point. You will be expected, over the SIP quarter, to research and build a larger bibliography of resources that help you to put your project in dialogue with the field.
- Students planning to do SIP work in the summer (and/or are considering SIPs for 2021-22 involving travel) should develop a contingency plan taking into account potential limitations on movement, large gatherings, etc.
Proposal Acceptance, Sip Contract, and Registration
Proposal Revision and Acceptance:
After you are notified of your SIP advisor, you will work with your advisor to refine your proposal, develop an IRB application if needed, compile a list of resources, and develop a plan for the SIP term. The project will not be officially accepted until your revised proposal is completed.
All CES SIP students will complete, in consultation with their advisor, a SIP Plan that lays out a clearly-defined, ethical process involving consistent communication with your SIP advisor, a work plan, IRB compliance when needed, and a demonstrated commitment to revision. The SIP plan MUST be completed by the end of the term before your SIP term. You and your advisor may negotiate changes to this plan during your SIP term, but you must initiate such negotiations in writing (email) and recognize failing to follow the plan may result, at the advisor’s discretion, in failing the SIP.
Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval:
Any SIP involving research with human subjects (interviews, surveys, oral histories, community-based research, etc.) requires approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB). All IRB applications are due by the end of 8th week of your junior Spring Quarter. You can find IRB applications here. (This is also accessible on the dropdown Quicklinks menu from the Hornet Hive page.). It takes time to develop an IRB application, so please plan ahead.
SIPs are not officially registered until you file the SIP registration form with the Registrar (you can print a hard copy form on the dropdown Quicklinks menu from the Hornet Hive. Go to Registrar, then Forms—Students). It is your responsibility to turn in this form to the Registrar’s office by Friday of 10th Week of your Junior Spring quarter.
There are some funding sources for SIPs that meet certain criteria, including the Arcus Center, Center for International Programs, Environmental Stewardship Center, Center for Civic Engagement, and Center for Career and Professional Development, among others. Please check with these sources individually for application timelines and criteria. Please plan ahead and note the timelines for these processes may not align with the CES SIP proposal process timeline.
The SIP Quarter
Your SIP Plan should lay out your SIP process, including a timeline with intermediate deadlines you and your advisor develop together. You will also, in the Plan, lay out a meeting schedule. It is your responsibility to reach out to your advisor to schedule meetings, to provide advance notice if you need to cancel or reschedule a meeting, and to meet other deadlines. A CES SIP is not only about “product”–an ethical, purposeful process is also an important part of a CES SIP. Please note the process is a consideration in the assessment of your SIP and will be an important factor in determining whether a SIP is eligible for Honors.
As noted above, your SIP Plan will indicate specific intermediate deadlines within the SIP quarter, developed in consultation with your advisor. For all SIPs, the final copy (i.e. no more revisions) is due to the SIP advisor no later than Friday of the 2nd week of the quarter following the SIP quarter. While you may turn in a hard copy at your advisor’s request or your own inclination, you must turn in an electronic copy (pdf file) to your advisor by the deadline.
Evaluation and Honors:
SIP grades are due to the Registrar by the end of the 6th week of the quarter following the SIP quarter. The SIP advisor will assess the SIP, evaluating it based on the student’s ability to meet deadlines, respond to and incorporate feedback in revision, and produce a competent piece of work. The SIP advisor can submit a grade of CR/NC after this initial assessment. Or, if the advisor would like to recommend the SIP for Honors—because it represents exemplary work throughout (both product and process)—another faculty member within (or occasionally from outside of) the department will read it and assess it. If both faculty members feel the SIP warrants honors, the advisor will submit a grade of H.
A SIP presentation is not required for CES SIPs, but students are encouraged to find a venue at which they can share their work more broadly, including but not limited to the Social Justice SIP Symposium, Sustainability SIP Symposium, or other gatherings on or off campus.
Every SIP completed in CES must include a preface. This preface should be a 6-8 page document connected to your SIP, but which is not included in the page guidelines listed below. The preface has two primary tasks. The first is to explain the stakes of your work. The second is to reflect on the process of writing the SIP and how it fits into your growth as a scholar during your time as an CES major. The specific way you do so will vary depending upon your project, but your Preface should include the following discussions:
- How important texts, courses, and experiences shaped your project and provided a critical and theoretical framework for how and why you constructed your SIP in the way you did.
- How your project draws upon and contributes to the field of CES.
- Why you made specific choices around materials and methodologies, and what these choices allowed you to do—in terms of both the content and the form of your project.
- What you have learned through your experience in the SIP about the processes of research and writing.
- What new awareness you gained about yourself as a CES scholar.
- How this project fits within the intellectual trajectory of your education at Kalamazoo College and beyond, and specifically your learning within the CES major.
- Finally, it is customary to include an acknowledgments section in your preface, where you thank your supervisor and any other people who have supported and helped significantly with your project.
While the Preface is probably the last part of the SIP you will write, it nevertheless will contain some of its most important work—since it will be the final place where evaluate the “so what?” of your project and where you articulate how your project serves as the capstone in your path through the major and in your K-Plan.
Parts of the Paper
In general, the paper will fall into three main parts: The Preliminaries, The Text, and The Reference Materials.
- Title page, followed by a blank sheet of paper
- Preface, including acknowledgements
- Table of contents, with page references
- List of tables, with titles and page references
- List of illustrations, with titles and page references
- List of appendices, with titles and page references
- Main body, with larger divisions, and more important divisions, indicated by suitable headings
- The References
- Appendices (materials not part of the narrative of the SIP but which may have been generated by or essential to the project)
- Pagination: Each page in the paper, except the blank sheet following the title page, should be assigned a number as explained below. The preliminaries use small Roman numerals, centered one-half inch above the bottom of the page. The blank sheet is neither counted nor numbered. The title page actually counts as the first page, but no number appears on it. The first number, then, is “ii” and appears on the page after the blank sheet. The remainder of the paper, including the appendices and bibliography, uses Arabic numerals, centered one-half inch below the top of the page. Number each page on which material appears. Begin with “1” and run consecutively to the end of the paper.
- Margins: The left margin must be at least one and one-half inches wide in order to allow for binding. All other margins (right, top, and bottom) should be one inch. Do not use right justification.
- Spacing: Use double spacing throughout the paper except for long quoted passages, which should be indented five spaces from the left and single-spaced. Bibliography should be also be single-spaced.
Additional Formatting Considerations:
Acknowledgements: Please observe the rules of courtesy. Give recognition to those who made significant contributions to your project. Acknowledgements can be included in the preface, or “Acknowledgements” can be its own section.
Title Page: The title page should contain the following. (See Sample Title Page below):
- The complete title of the project
- Author’s name
- Name and office of the on-site supervisor (if applicable)
- Name and department or program in which SIP was conducted
- “A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts at Kalamazoo College.”
- Year of imprint
Citation of Sources: You will be expected to use a standard citational format and style guide, such as Chicago, MLA, or APA, throughout your project. You will choose this format based on the disciplines with which your SIP is in dialogue, in consultation with your SIP advisor. Reference materials at the end of the body of the SIP include the Bibliography and/or Works Cited.
Sample Title Page
An Argument with the Given:
Critical Ethnic Studies as the Core of a Liberal Arts Education
Dr. Maria Jones
Critical Ethnic Studies Department
Dr. Maria Jones
A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
Bachelor of Arts at Kalamazoo College
For more information about planning for your SIP, please consult the Registrar’s page under Academic Planning.
CES SIPs can be found in the CACHE digital archive on the Library’s website under Special Collections.