Students will demonstrate knowledge of the contributions of significant Western thinkers to ongoing intellectual debate about moral, social, and political alternatives.
Students will demonstrate knowledge of the major trends and movements that have shaped and responded to this debate: e.g., monotheism, humanism, etc.
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.
Students will consider moral, social, and political issues from an interdisciplinary perspective.
Outcomes 1 and 2 were assessed in Spring 2012, using embedded questions in the final exam for Western Humanities II. Outcomes 3 and 4 were assessed in Fall 2011, using papers written for Western Humanities I. This is the opposite of what was done for the 2008-09 assessment of these courses.
Number of students assessed/enrolled:
- Outcome 1: 259/767
- Outcome 2: 263/767
- Outcome 3: 264/899
- Outcome 4: 273/899
Reflection provided by Beverly J. Evans.
This year's results attest strongly to the ongoing success of the Western Humanities course sequence, with approximately 70% of students either meeting or exceeding course requirements. Between 22.7% and 28.5% are approaching the intended outcomes. The percentage for "not meeting," which was noted in 2008-09 as constituting an "aberration" at 18%, is now more in line with results for the other outcomes. In fact, it is only 1.2% higher than the percentage for Outcome 3. Thus, it appears that the greatest challenge continues to lie in the areas that involve higher-order thinking: critical reasoning/relating to historical context and seeing interdisciplinary connections. It would seem that a combination of at least two factors might account for this: 1) traditional-aged undergraduate students may not yet be at a stage of development that enables them to think as critically and make as many connections as their teachers might like, and 2) some instructors are probably more skilled than others at teaching in a truly interdisciplinary way.
As was the case in 2008-09, a relatively low percentage of students ended up being assessed. Roughly two-thirds of faculty did not submit data, despite three appeals from the program chair each semester. In addition, some of the people who did provide information failed to follow the instruction that had asked them simply to report the number of students per category: exceeding, meeting, approaching, not meeting. Thus, their results could not be reliably included in the overall figures. There was no significant difference in submission rate between full-time and part-time employees, as had been the subject of speculation in 2008-09. It remains to be seen how more faculty can be encouraged/required to submit results.