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Objectives and Outcomes

History

Program Learning Objectives, Outcomes, and Assessment Measures

Objectives

  1. Students will learn the general course of human history in multiple areas of the world.
  2. Students will learn to understand the world contextually, that is, to interpret human experiences and the meanings people have given them in relationship to the place and time in which they occurred.
  3. Students will learn to understand, analyze, and evaluate both evidence and arguments.
  4. Students will learn to explain how and why important events happen and change over time occurs.
  5. Students will learn to create knowledge and communicate it to others both orally and in writing.

Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of the chronology, narrative, major events, personalities and turning points of the history of the United States, Europe, and at least one non-Western area.
  2. Students will offer multi-causal explanations of major historical developments based on a contextualized analysis of interrelated political, social, economic, cultural and intellectual processes.
  3. Students will correctly extract evidence from primary sources by analyzing and evaluating them in relation to their cultural and historical context (avoiding anachronism, ethnocentrism, and ethnomorphism) and use that evidence to build and support an argument.
  4. Students will evaluate secondary historical sources by analyzing them in relation to the evidence that supports them, their theoretical frameworks, and other secondary historical literature.
  5. Students will write an original research paper that locates and synthesizes relevant primary and secondary sources and has a clear, coherent and plausible argument, logical structure, correct grammar and proper references (footnotes and bibliography).
  6. Students will present orally their research or a summary of another’s research in an organized, coherent, and compelling fashion.

Assessment Measures

A direct source of evidence used to assess the program’s success in achieving outcomes three through six will be the core research courses that will be required of all new majors once the revision of the major currently underway is completed. Several courses are responsible for achieving outcomes one and two and could serve as a direct source of evidence for it. Those that should be regularly taught in the next few years are Hist 001, 002, 010, 011, 020, 021, 174, 175, and 181. Specific metrics for the outcomes are the following:

  1. A number of introductory survey courses can be used to evaluate outcome 1: Grades from the objective question section of the final exam of one or more of these courses will be reported for history majors.
  2. A number of introductory survey courses can be used to evaluate outcome 2: Grades from the essay section of the final exam of one or more of these courses will be reported for history majors.
  3. Hist 301W. Students in this course must write a research paper based on primary sources. In addition to the overall grade for the paper, the instructor will assign a grade for the use of primary sources and report this.
  4. Historiography class. Students in this course will write a research paper evaluating competing interpretations in the secondary historical literature. In addition to the overall grade for the paper, the instructor will assign a grade to the student’s evaluation of the secondary literature and report this.
  5. Senior capstone seminar. Students in this course will write a lengthy original research paper that both uses primary sources and evaluates competing interpretations in the secondary historical literature. In addition to the overall paper grade, the instructor will assign specific grades for the following, which will be reported:
    1. the location of relevant primary and secondary sources.
    2. the synthesis of these sources.
    3. the coherency and logical structure of the paper.
    4. the paper’s grammar.
    5. the paper’s footnotes.
    6. the paper’s bibliography.
  6. Senior capstone seminar. As part of this seminar, students must orally present their research. Grades on this oral presentation will be reported.

As an indirect source of evidence used to assess the program’s effectiveness in achieving its objectives, the history program will conduct surveys of graduating seniors, asking them whether they feel they have achieved the six learning outcomes of the major.


 

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