Examining Senior Seminar and Curricular Reform at an HBCU
By Matthew B. Platt, Morehouse College
Since its publication in 1991, the Wahlke Report has been a focal document among political scientists who care about curricular design. However, the Wahlke Task Force does not get enough credit for recognizing the fundamental connection between curricular design and Dungeons and Dragons (DnD). A great DnD campaign is about providing the player characters (PCs) with an escalating set of engaging encounters that require them to develop new skills, abilities, strategies, and tactics to progress to higher levels. At the end of the campaign, the PCs are tested by a “boss fight” that requires them to use all that they have learned to survive. In other words, it is a program of sequential learning that culminates in a senior capstone in which students “integrate knowledge from the totality of their program” (Wahlke 1991, 57). As in DnD, students should have had fun, perhaps made some friends, learned a lot, and appreciated the challenge of their boss-fight senior project.