knowledge of a basic narrative of American history: political, economic, social, and cultural, including knowledge of unity and diversity in American society;
knowledge of common institutions in American society and how they have affected different groups;
an understanding of America’s evolving relationship with the rest of the world;
an understanding of the distinct, overlapping, and shared histories of people based on varied identities and experiences, especially those connected to at least two of the following: race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion and disability;
an understanding of the causes and effects of inequalities, past and present, rooted in American social, economic, legal, and political structures, and of efforts to eradicate those structural inequalities.
What were the major findings of this assessment?
Since the last assessment during the AY 2010-2011, some significant advances have been made. Michael Oberg noted in the 2007-2008 assessment that the lack of faculty participation in the assessment process made it difficult to draw significant conclusions from the data. That changed marginally in 2010-2011 and remains a problem in the current assessment. Of the eight tenured and/or tenure- track faculty teaching U.S. Histories Core courses during the Spring 2014 semester, five participated in the assessment process, one of whom sent unusable numbers. Unfortunately, none of the three adjunct faculty members participated in the assessment process, in spite of being asked to do so via email and paper mail. Although this is disappointing, it is not surprising considering the woefully low wages paid to adjunct faculty members. Unless the administration financially reimburses adjunct faculty members who participate in assessment, it seems unlikely that the situation will change. Based on the responses of full time faculty members, however, it is possible to draw some conclusions from the assessment results. As in past assessment years, the majority of Geneseo students are either exceeding or meeting almost all of the stated learning outcomes. In four of the five categories, more than 85 percent of the students either exceeded or met the stated learning outcomes. The only category with a slightly lower total (84%) was “an understanding of America’s evolving relationship with the rest of the world,” though this marked a 10% improvement over the previous assessment from 2010-11.
In light of these findings, what actions might be taken to improve teaching and learning?
Although the exceeding/meeting numbers for all categories are certainly impressive, the fact that one faculty member entered a zero for the category ““an understanding of America’s evolving relationship with the rest of the world” demonstrates that not all faculty are actually addressing all of the stated learning outcomes. This is an improvement over the previous assessment, but it should still be addressed by the U.S. Histories Core committee, as well as the General Education Committee.