Outcome 1

Students will demonstrate knowledge of the contributions of significant Western thinkers to ongoing intellectual debate about moral, social, and political alternatives.

Outcome 2

Students will demonstrate knowledge of the major trends and movements that have shaped and responded to this debate: e.g., monotheism, humanism, etc.

Outcome 3

Students will demonstrate the ability to think critically about moral, social, and political arguments in the Western intellectual tradition, evaluating the logic of these arguments and relating them to the historical and cultural context.

Outcome 4

Students will consider moral, social, and political issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.


Outcomes 1 and 2 were assessed in Fall, 2008 using embedded questions in the final exam for Western Humanities I. Outcomes 3 and 4 were assessed in Spring, 2009 using papers written for Western Humanities II.

Percentage of students assessed

Outcomes 1 and 2 (Fall): 266/900 = 30%
Outcome 3 (Spring): 300/850 = 35%
Outcome 4 (Spring): 279/850 = 33%



Outcome 1

Outcome 2

Outcome 3

Outcome 4
















Not Meeting






Reflection provided by Kenneth Asher, 2008-09 Western Humanities chair, and Beverly Evans, 2009-10 Western Humanities Chair.

The relatively high results in almost all categories indicate the ongoing success of the Western Humanities sequence. Roughly 70% of the students are doing a good or superior job in almost all areas. The one area where there seems to be a bit of an aberration concerns Outcome 4. The 18% of those listed in the lowest ranking is somewhat surprising. Of the 4 required outcomes, this one would seem to be the easiest to meet, since it only asks that students "consider" things from an interdisciplinary perspective. Therefore, one would expect it to be higher, if anything, than the other outcomes' results. The most logical explanation might be that the assessors must have lumped together those whose assignments called for an interdisciplinary approach, but who gave an unsophisticated response, and those who were not necessarily called upon to take an interdisciplinary approach to the assessed assignment. The other 3 outcomes, almost unavoidably, would be addressed by any assignment given in Western Humanities. However, as concerns outcome 4, it would be conceivable for a student to consider a question philosophically without taking into account historical circumstances, even though the course as a whole contained a substantial historical component.

The other point worth considering is the relatively low percentage of students assessed, only 35% even during spring semester. To some extent, this may be attributable to the number of part-time employees who teach the courses. Part-time instructors, who constitute a quarter or more of the Hum teaching staff, almost never respond. This is understandable, given that they are already being asked to do far too much for far too little. Nevertheless, that still leaves about 50% of the full-time faculty who did not respond in 2008-09. In the future, some incentive should perhaps be proposed to increase participation in the assessment process.

  • No labels