Institutional Research

Learning Outcomes

Anthropology

The department of Sociology and Anthropology has the following two program-level student learning outcomes:

1) Students will understand and apply theoretical perspectives, and

2) Students will understand and apply research methodologies.

As the holistic study of humanity, anthropology traditionally includes four fields: cultural anthropology, linguistic anthropology, biological anthropology, and archaeology. The Department currently offers a four-field introductory course, 200-level (UL) courses in three of the fields, and a 400- level senior seminar; these five courses are required for the major.

Art and Design

 The Department of Art and Design has the following student learning outcomes:

1) Research:

  • Students will have a broad understanding of Art History, and an ability to apply Art Historical context and related research materials to their own ideas and work

2) Students will be able to communicate effectively via:

  • Written work
  • Oral presentation
  • Visual communication

3) Students will incorporate into their artistic processes:

  • Variety of Problem-solving strategies
  • Idea Generation
  • Overcome Obstacles
  • Curious Mindset
  • Materiality

4) Students will demonstrate the following through their creative processes:

  • Thoughtful application of technical and formal elements.
  • Thematic consistency
  • Mastery of chosen discipline
Biochemistry

The department of Biochemistry has the following student learning outcomes: 

1) Students will develop an understanding of fundamental biochemistry content in:

  • Evolution
  • Energy Transformation
  • Homeostasis
  • Information Flow and Storage
  • Structure and Function

2) Students will understand how to do scientific research:

  • The process of science
  • Safety
  • Ethics

3) Students will develop scientific skills applicable to the real world:

  • Critical analysis of literature
  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork 
Biology

The department of Biology has the following student learning outcomes: 

1) Students will be broadly-educated across all sub-disciplines of the biological sciences.

2) Students will possess sufficient depth of knowledge such that they are conversant within each area of the biological sciences

3) Students will possess critical thinking and analytical skills.

4) Students will be capable of communication through presentations and written assignments.

Business Administration

The department of Business Administration has the following student learning outcomes: 

1) Students will demonstrate a solid ability in Business Literacy:

  • Students will be able to define, understand, articulate and use business expressions and terminologies.
  • Business majors and minors will understand the concept of globalization.

2) Students will demonstrate Proficiency in Problem Solving:

  • Students will be able to successfully apply business concepts and terms in order to analyze the various situations that they will encounter in both work and life in general. This includes a foundation in ethical decision making.

3) Students will demonstrate Proficiency in Using Quantitative Business Skills:

  • Students will be able to gather relevant numbers and facts for data analysis. This will include the analysis and interpretation of Financial Statements.
  • Students will be able to critically analyze and solve problems quantitatively within a business framework. This includes the ability to analyze financial market transactions. 

4) Demonstrate Proficiency in Using Qualitative Business Skills:

  • Students will be able to critically analyze and evaluate problems qualitatively within a business framework. This includes having effective oral and written communication skills as well as the ability to work within a team environment.
Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry has the following student learning outcomes:

1) Students will demonstrate an understanding of the core areas of the field of chemistry (analytical, inorganic, organic, physical).

2) Students will be able to take a set of data with which they are presented and interpret it in light of a question posed.

3) Students will, in a progressive fashion, employ critical thinking, standard techniques, and the scientific method to design, carry out, record, and analyze the results of chemical experiments.

4) Students will have a basic understanding of the theory and the operation of the instrumentation typically used in the chemistry laboratory.

5) Students will demonstrate the ability to use computers for data analysis, chemical simulation and computation.

6) Students will demonstrate proficiency in the use of appropriate library searching and retrieval methods to obtain information about a topic, chemical, chemical technique, or an issue relating to chemistry.

7) Students will demonstrate proficiency in writing and/or speaking about chemistry topics in a clear and concise manner to both chemists and non-chemists according to professional standards.

8) Students will know and follow proper procedures and regulations for safe handling, use, and disposal of chemicals.

9) Students will be able to creatively integrate knowledge they have gained in chemistry and non-chemistry coursework to propose and implement solutions to problems beyond those previously discussed.

Communication

The department of Communication has the following student learning outcomes:

1) Students will appropriately employ communication theories, perspectives, principles and concepts.

2) Students will actively engage in communication inquiry to answer important communication questions. (think critically)

3) Students will be able to create massages appropriate to the audience, purpose, and context. (serve responsibly)

4) Students will be able to critically analyze messages. (think critically)

5) Students will demonstrate the ability to accomplish communicative goals (lead purposefully)

6) Students will be able to apply ethical communication principles and practices (live responsibly)

7) Students will utilize communication to embrace difference (lead purposefully/live responsibly)

8) Students will use their knowledge and skills to influence public discourse (lead purposefully)

Student Learning outcomes in Communication are adapted from those established by the National Communication Association’s Learning Outcomes in Communication Project.

Dance

The department of Dance has the following student learning outcomes: 

1) Students will engage deeply and studiously with the embodiment of dance techniques and somatic practices that yield both self-expression and self-knowledge.

2) Students will analyze performed and perceived dance movement according to Laban Movement Analysis or other critical method.

3) Students will critically scrutinize the aesthetic, historical, theoretical, and contextual aspects of dance practice, dance-making, and performance.

4) Students will participate in collaborative creative processes that result in learned and performed repertory and original dance works.

5) Students will create original dances by employing 1) effective compositional techniques and 2) awareness of tradition, cultural origins, historical contexts, points of view, and intention.

6) Students will investigate dance through other arts disciplines and at least one other non-arts liberal arts discipline. 

Economics

The department of Economics has the following student learning outcomes: 

1) Students will understand theoretical models and their applications in microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics.

2) Students will understand quantitative analysis and the ability to apply it in economic contexts. 

3) Students will have the ability to apply advanced theoretical models and write, read, and analyze original economic research. 

Each Student Learning Outcomes is linked to the college’s mission to prepare students who think critically and live responsibly.

Education

The department of Education has the following student learning outcomes. 

1) Students will demonstrate an understanding of how learners grow and develop, including individual and diverse cultural differences, and of how to create supportive learning environments; and they will use these understandings to implement developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences that enable each learner to meet high standards.

 2) Students will demonstrate an understanding of the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines they teach; and they will demonstrate the pedagogical content knowledge to make content accessible and meaningful for learners to master.

 3) Students will demonstrate pedagogical knowledge and skills in their ability to use multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide decision making; they will plan instruction that supports students in meeting rigorous learning goals; and they will use a variety of instructional strategies to support students in deep understanding and application of content.

 4) Students will show appropriate professional dispositions and ethical practices, using evidence to evaluate and improve their practice and seeking opportunities for collaboration and professional growth. 

The Education Department’s student learning objectives (revised May 2017) are aligned with the InTASC Model Core Teaching Standards (2011) on which our assessment of teacher candidate knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions is based. This reflects Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standard 1.1: Content and Pedagogical Knowledge: “Candidates demonstrate an understanding of the 10 InTASC standards at the appropriate progression level(s) in the following categories: the learner and learning; content; instructional practice; and professional responsibility.” The Education Department assesses the following four (4) student learning goals for teacher certification candidates (Elementary and Secondary) with the related assessment data.

Educational Studies 

The department of Educational Studies has the following student learning outcomes: 

1) Students will demonstrate an understanding of and critical thinking about different approaches to teaching and learning.

2) Students will engage in continuous professional learning and demonstrate dispositions in accordance with ethical codes of conduct and professional standards. 

3) Students will seek appropriate leadership roles to take responsibility for their learning and collaborate with others (e.g., school professionals and community members) to advance the profession. 

Educational Studies graduates will have a broad, foundational understanding of education including knowledge of teaching approaches, learning, purposes of schooling, and planning and working with young people. The Education Department has identified three learning outcomes for educational studies (EDS) majors. The scope of these outcomes will depend on students’ concentration and electives. 

English 
The department of English has the following student learning outcomes:

 

1) Students will construct an effective argument that includes a clear, arguable claim, clear organization, adequate evidence, analysis, and documentation.

2) Students will demonstrate an ability to read literary and critical texts perceptively and engage in a critical conversation with and about them.

3) Students will demonstrate an ability to understand perspectives, values, and experiences that differ from one’s own and encounter new and challenging ideas and points of view. 

The English department has ratified these three goals as being central to its educational mission. Each of these goals link directly to the college’s mission to prepare students who think critically, and each reinforce the skills needed to lead purposefully. Goal #3 is also a crucial skill for serving generously and living responsibly as stewards of the world our students will bequeath to future generations.

Environmental Studies

The department of Environmental Studies has the following student learning outcomes: 

1) Students will understand how ecosystems are structured and how they function.

2) Students will understand how to manipulate data graphically.

3) Students will be able to interpret data and present it in a way that is clear and understandable for the non-science audience.

4) Students will demonstrate an ability to utilize a multi-disciplinary approach to solving environmental problems.

5) Students will understand and be able to effectively communicate results of primary science literature articles.

6) Students will be able to understand and critique scientific methodology in primary and secondary literature articles.

7) Students will be able to critique evidence-based claims from reading primary and secondary literature articles.

Environmental Studies (ENV) is an interdepartmental, interdivisional program offering both a major with three tracks (ENV Science, ENV Health, ENV Policy), and a minor.  Course requirements for both the major and minor come from each division and highlight the science, policy, economics, ethics and communication aspect of environmental issues and problems, capitalizing on how these issues play out in the real world.  In short, the cornerstone of the ENV program is experiential, field and lab-based learning focusing on individualized, independent research that addresses real-world problems.

History

The department of History has the following student learning outcomes: 

1) Students will be able to build historical knowledge with broad context. 

2) Students will demonstrate competency in developing and using historical methods with written and oral communication skills. 

3) Students will show an understanding of the interdisciplinary, multi-causal nature of historical inquiry.

These learning outcomes are consistent with the emphases laid out by the American Historical Association. The first two outcomes correspond with the expectations of “Historical Discipline Core” of the American Historical Association’s “Tuning Project,” which are consonant with the tools our department has used to assess its major and minor.

Integrative Physiology and Health Science

 The department of Integrative Physiology and Health Science has the following student learning outcomes: 

1) Students will demonstrate a solid understanding of health and human structure/function at the cellular, organismal, and whole population levels.  

2) Students will be able to effectively apply physiological concepts to novel scenarios of clinical relevance.

3) Students will demonstrate an understanding of the methods employed in the acquisition of new knowledge in health and human structure/function.  At the same time, this understanding will provide students with an ability to evaluate the quality of health related information.

4) Students will be able to effectively disseminate their understanding of health and human structure/function and application of this knowledge via both oral and written communication.

Mathematics

The department of Mathematis has the following four program-level student learning outcomes:

1) Students will show proficiency in Core Material. Mathematics majors study a set of core material, which is found in the six required courses of the major. This material includes calculus, set theory, linear algebra, and other topics. Mathematics majors must demonstrate the ability to solve mathematical problems and prove mathematical theorems related to this core material.

2) Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate mathematical content clearly, both orally and in writing. Mathematics trains a student’s brain to understand logical arguments and break problems down into smaller components, and it is essential that a student be able to express the results of these analyses in a logical and understandable fashion.

3) Students will demonstrate the ability to learn new mathematical concepts independently. This is particularly important once the student enters the workforce. There will not always be a professor or mentor to help explain a difficult topic. Essential for this outcome is the self-confidence to believe that one can master new ideas, and the desire and curiosity to do so.

4) Students will demonstrate the ability to apply critical thinking and mathematical techniques to solve new problems. In contrast to the previous outcome, problem solving refers to developing solutions to specific problems (after first formulating the problem itself, which is also an essential skill), rather than mastering ideas that have been developed by somebody else. Problem solving requires depth of knowledge and also creativity and experience to realize that the knowledge can be applied in a particular setting.

Music
The department of Music has the following student learning outcomes: 

 

BA in Music:  

1) Students will acquire the analytical and aural skills necessary for a comprehensive understanding of rhythm, harmony, melody, and formal structure in music from the 18th century through the present day. They will demonstrate competency in a range of sight-singing and aural transcription skills, become fluent in all aspects of tonal and atonal musical analysis, and apply their music theory knowledge in creating original compositions.  

2) Students will be able to identify a wide range of music literature and genres, and place them in the context of relevant historical and cultural forces. They will demonstrate a firm grasp of the principles of structure and language in the Western musical tradition, and possess the ability to effectively research and communicate in writing on topics in music history.

3) Students will develop efficient and effective practice skills, such that they can prepare musically expressive and satisfying performances that demonstrate intermediate level technical proficiency in areas including: pitch accuracy, articulation, tone production, authentic stylistic practices, and (for vocalists) diction. They will gain an understanding of the repertory in their major area of study, and

4) Students will acquire skills for effective and positive collaboration in a variety of situations and settings by rehearsing and performing in both large ensembles (i.e. orchestra, band, choir, jazz band) and chamber groups (i.e. flute ensemble, percussion ensemble, saxophone quartets, etc.). Members of performing ensembles will demonstrate appropriate technical skills, cooperative learning and creative expression through performance. 

5) Students will acquire a fundamental knowledge of current music technology practices, and demonstrate skills associated with digital recording, notation, MIDI, signal flow and processing, sound synthesis, and mixed media. 

BA in Music Education: 

1) Students will acquire the analytical and aural skills necessary for a comprehensive understanding of rhythm, harmony, melody, and formal structure in music from the 18th century through the present day. They will demonstrate competency in a range of sight-singing and aural transcription skills, become fluent in all aspects of tonal and atonal musical analysis, and apply their music theory knowledge in creating original compositions.  

2) Students will be able to identify a wide range of music literature and genres, and place them in the context of relevant historical and cultural forces. They will demonstrate a firm grasp of the principles of structure and language in the Western musical tradition, and possess the ability to effectively research and communicate in writing on topics in music history.

3) Students will develop efficient and effective practice skills, such that they can prepare musically expressive and satisfying performances that demonstrate intermediate level technical proficiency in areas including: pitch accuracy, articulation, tone production, authentic stylistic practices, and (for vocalists) diction. They will gain an understanding of the repertory in their major area of study, and

4) Students will acquire skills for effective and positive collaboration in a variety of situations and settings by rehearsing and performing in both large ensembles (i.e. orchestra, band, choir, jazz band) and chamber groups (i.e. flute ensemble, percussion ensemble, saxophone quartets, etc.). Members of performing ensembles will demonstrate appropriate technical skills, cooperative learning and creative expression through performance. 

5) Students will acquire a fundamental knowledge of current music technology practices, and demonstrate skills associated with digital recording, notation, MIDI, signal flow and processing, sound synthesis, and mixed media. 

6) Students will develop functional keyboard proficiency, enabling them to use the piano as needed within the framework of their professional activities. All Bachelor of Music students are required to pass a keyboard proficiency examination. 

7) Students will learn pedagogical techniques sufficient to teach effectively in their area of specialization. Bachelor of Music Education students will demonstrate knowledge of educational psychology, along with the skills and judgment to be a musical leader in a variety of teaching situations. Along with rehearsal and conducting skills, students will synthesize experiences acquired over the course of their undergraduate education for the purpose of effectively teaching music to K-12 students in the public schools.

BA in Music History

1) Students will be able to identify a wide range of music literature and genres, and place them in the context of relevant historical and cultural forces. They will demonstrate a firm grasp of the principles of structure and language in the Western musical tradition, and possess the ability to effectively research and communicate in writing on topics in music history.

2) Students will develop efficient and effective practice skills, such that they can prepare musically expressive and satisfying performances that demonstrate intermediate level technical proficiency in areas including: pitch accuracy, articulation, tone production, authentic stylistic practices, and (for vocalists) diction. They will gain an understanding of the repertory in their major area of study, and

3) Students will acquire skills for effective and positive collaboration in a variety of situations and settings by rehearsing and performing in both large ensembles (i.e. orchestra, band, choir, jazz band) and chamber groups (i.e. flute ensemble, percussion ensemble, saxophone quartets, etc.). Members of performing ensembles will demonstrate appropriate technical skills, cooperative learning and creative expression through performance. 

4) Students will acquire a fundamental knowledge of current music technology practices, and demonstrate skills associated with digital recording, notation, MIDI, signal flow and processing, sound synthesis, and mixed media. 

5) Students will develop functional keyboard proficiency, enabling them to use the piano as needed within the framework of their professional activities. All Bachelor of Music students are required to pass a keyboard proficiency examination. 

Neuroscience 

The department of Neuroscience has the following student learning outcomes: 

1) Students will display competency in the foundation of neuroscience. Students are required to receive training in fields making up the core of psychology, biology, and chemistry, and will be able to integrate ideas from the fields to develop a systematic understanding of the brain and behavior from a molecular to a systems level. 

2) Students will display experimental methodology and quantitative proficiency. Majors must be able to design, perform, and communicate the findings of research in neuroscience. 

 3) Students will evaluate primary scientific literature. Neuroscience majors will be able to comprehend and assess primary literature in the field and generate hypotheses to test this research. 

4) Students will learn at least one technique primarily used by neuroscientists that can be directly applied to their future research. 

5) Students will be able to evaluate research, including independent research, for appropriate ethical sensitivity. 

New Media Studies 

The department of New Media Studies has the following student learning outcomes:

1) Students will be able to understand and employ new media theories, perspectives, principles, and concepts.

2) Students will be able to articulate the purposes and perspectives of your own work relative to the field.

3) Students will identify and critique messages and meanings embedded in media.

4) Students will be able to engage with ethical questions.

5) Students will be able to develop fluency with hardware, software, and techniques of composition in new media.

6) Students will be able to design innovative new media compositions that are civically engaged.

7) Students will be able to offer and respond constructively and ethically to feedback.

8) Students will be able to propose and enact solutions for particular audiences and environments.

9) Students will be able to empathize with diverse perspectives and the ways they influence communication, critically considering both self and others.

10) Students will be able to influence public discourse.

The above areas, drawn from Aristotle’s classification of human activity, comprise the three major learning goals for NMS students (knowing, making, doing). 

Political Science

The department of Political Science has the following student learning outcomes:

1) Students will be able to identify the most important political theorists of the Western tradition and explain their key ideas.  

2) Students will be able to describe the basic political and governmental institutions, processes, and traditions of the U.S. political system.

3) Students will be able to describe the basic political and governmental institutions, processes, and traditions of the international political system.

4) Students will be able to identify different kinds of governments and articulate different  arguments for and against them. 

5) Students will be able to explain the difference between normative and empirical theories of politics.

6) Students will be able to explain the role that political ideologies have played, and continue to play, in political change and conflict. 

7) Students will be able to evaluate different political ideologies. 

8) Students will be able to explain the different ways that various contextual factors (such as economic, culture, and religion) affect politics.

9) Students will be able to research political problems and issues using scholarly and original sources.

10) Students will be able to collect, describe and interpret qualitative information. 

11) Students will be able to collect, describe and interpret quantitative data.

12) Students will be able to write clearly and cogently

13) Students will be able to speak publically in a manner that is engaging, clear and cogent.

 
Psychology

The department of Psychology has the following student learning outcomes:

1) Students will demonstrate fundamental knowledge and comprehension of psychology’s major concepts, theoretical principles, and empirical findings.

 2) Student will use scientific reasoning and statistics to evaluate and interpret psychology phenomena.

3)  Students will develop meaningful professional direction for life after graduation.

These three learning goals are adapted from the American Psychological Association (APA) Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major: Version 2.0.

Religious Studies 

 The department of Religious Studies has the following student learning outcomes:

1) Students will demonstrate religious literacy and familiarity with terms, theories, and concepts of the academic study of religion.

2) Students will practice comparative, critical, and intercultural understanding.

3) Students will demonstrate improved reading comprehension, writing, and argumentation.

Sociology 

The Department of Sociology and Anthropology has the following two program-level student learning outcomes:

1) Students will understand and apply theoretical approaches.

  • Students will understand and apply historical and contemporary theoretical approaches of sociology and anthropology.
  • Students will focus on inequalities and of power across social and cultural differences in local and global contexts.

2) Students will understand and apply research methodologies.

  • Students will understand methodology in two broad senses: 1) Constructing an appropriate design that links together at least one method to answer an original research question, and 2) Real-world application of these methods.
  • Students will develop an understanding of quantitative and qualitative research methods including the ability to interpret numerical, textual, oral, and visual information.
Theater

 The department of Theater has the following student learning outcomes:

1) Students will be able to conceptually and critically analyze text, performance, and production.

2) Students will be able to distinguish the elements of playwriting and production processes, aesthetic properties of style, and the way these shape and are shaped by artistic and cultural forces.

3) Students will be able to identify a wide selection of theatre repertory including the principal eras, genres, and cultural sources.

4) Students will be able to defend informed judgments about theatre.

5) Students will demonstrate ability in areas of performance and production or playwriting appropriate to individual and interests.

6) Students will be able to collaborate effectively in the public performances of theatre.

7) Students will demonstrate Intermediate to advanced competence in one or more theatre specializations in creation, performance, scholarship, or teaching.

World Languages and Cultures 

 The department of World Languages and Cultures has the following student learning outcomes: 

1) Students will gain linguistic proficiency and accuracy. This department goal aligns with the HUM Division outcome goals (see Appendix D) of “Demonstrate proficiency through disciplined and sustained practice in their chosen medium” and particularly at the upper levels, “Communicate effectively to a variety of audiences through embodied, spoken, visual and written media.”

 2) Students will gain intercultural competency and proficiency in critical cultural analysis, aligning with the HUM Division outcome goals of “Learn social responsibility through intercultural and interpersonal competency and civic engagement” and “Critically analyze diverse texts and contexts;” and the Alma College mission to produce students who think critically. Gaining intercultural competency is also an integral part of responsible living and purposeful leadership.

3) Students will gain a deeper understanding of their role in a global society (perspective taking), aligning with the HUM Division outcome goals of “Deepen [student] awareness of themselves and the world by questioning and challenging beliefs and values.” This learning outcome is crucial to the advancement of the Alma College mission to produce students who live responsibly and lead purposefully.

The Department of World Languages and Cultures is committed to helping students develop the self-knowledge, intellectual and linguistic skills, critical thinking, and cultural sensitivity vital to their becoming responsible leaders and global citizens