All academic departments are charged with engaging in assessment periodically. This task provides faculty members (and students!) to take stock of program virtues and limitations, the better to ensure excellence in all curricular and co-curricular activities.
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology has embarked on an assessment project that has focused first on the sociology major, and then on anthropology. The first task guiding our work has been one of establishing learning goals and objectives, in answer to the question, “What skills, knowledge, and abilities do we expect majors to have attained when they are graduated from our institution?” The links below provide overviews of the learning goals and objectives for both undergraduate programs in the department.
With these goals as our foundation, the department has engaged in data collection using multiple methods. We have conducted an Alumni Survey; performed exit interviews (which we’ve recorded and transcribed); examined co-op reports (to trace the linkage between coursework and co-op experiences); run focus groups; and now begun to analyze student papers from a subset of core courses.
We hope this exercise will help guide our efforts at enhancing the major, and will provide a model from which other departments can learn. The findings have already begun to instruct us in our thinking about program innovation.
Below are the learning goals and objectives for each undergraduate program.
1. Identify and describe principal features of the discipline and practice of anthropology.
2. Apply theoretical concepts from the discipline of anthropology to current social phenomena.
3. Identify and describe how anthropology has analyzed systems of power and inequality, including race, caste, gender, and class.
4. Describe and analyze how various cultures have been impacted by and engaged with globalization, colonialism and imperialism, and other contemporary and historical operations of power and inequality.
5. Describe what constitutes ethnographic data and how it is generated and created.
6. Identify and explain the ethical implications embedded in anthropological research, such as researcher positionality.
7. Identify and analyze anthropological debates and communicate them effectively in multiple media.
1. Identify and describe key features of sociology as a discipline and a practice.
2. Define theory and describe its role in building sociological knowledge.
3. Compare and contrast basic theoretical orientations, including the historical context of the times and cultures in which they were developed.
4. Identify and describe key features of inequality in several contemporary societies, such as structural and intersectional inequalities in the United States; uneven power relations between the global North and the global South; and legacies of colonialism and imperialism.
5. Describe and apply the most commonly used research approaches, both qualitative and quantitative.
6. Describe the procedures sociologists follow to ensure ethical treatment of participants in social research.
7. Communicate sociological claims and arguments effectively, including showing an appreciation of culturally diverse audiences.