Assessment of Student Learning



Latin American Area Studies Discipline


UNIT MISSION/GOAL(S)

To acquaint students with the cultures and societies of Latin America

Unit Mission/goal(s) and the Institutional Mission Relation

  • To provide a basic introduction to the cultures and societies of Latin America
  • To provide the means essential to gain an understanding of Latin America and its diverse peoples
  • To place Latin America in a comparative perspective.

STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES, EXPECTED OUTCOMES, ASSESSMENT METHODS & TOOLS, TIMELINE

Learning Objective 1
To provide a basic introduction to Latin American cultures and societies.
Expected Outcome 1
A basic acquaintance with Latin American cultures and societies, past and present.
Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 1
Completion of Hist 1601 and Hist 3601; Participation each semester in discipline seminar (LAAS 3100 Contemporary Latin America); Maintain a journal to demonstrate level of sophistication achieved and a list of all essays read-these will be retained by the discipline coordinator for assessment purposes; Completion of LAAS 4101 which requires majors, based on assessment of their prior studies to complete a series of readings that will fill in gaps in their previous course work-the primary goal of this senior tutorial is to round out the student's preparation by involving them in reading and research on previously unstudied or understudied geographical areas, after which they undertake readings of book-length works in each of these areas; Transcript will document range of courses, and disciplinary perspectives.
Timeline for the Outcome 1
Starting Date for the Implementation: In Progress
Anticipated Date for the First Results: In Progress

Learning Objective 2
To provide the means essential to gain an understanding of Latin America and its diverse peoples.
Expected Outcome 2
Acquisition of the means necessary to successfully study and understand Latin America and its diverse peoples.
Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 2
Completion of LAAS 3201; Participation each semester in discipline seminar (LAAS 3100 Contemporary Latin America); Maintenance of a cumulative list of periodicals and reference sources used in preparing LAAS assignments; Completion through Intermediate level Spanish; Frequent use of Spanish-language materials in LAAS 3100, as evidenced by students journals; Completion of relevant course work in at least 3 different disciplines; Study abroad is strongly encouraged (but not required because of additional financial burden; although it is unusual for an LAAS major to graduate without at least one such experience).
Timeline for the Outcome 2
Starting Date for the Implementation: In Progress
Anticipated Date for the First Results: In Progress

Learning Objective 3
To place Latin America in a comparative perspective.
Expected Outcome 3
To be able to meaningfully compare Latin America with other world areas and for students to be able to empathize with Latin Americans.
Method(s), Measure(s), and Instrument(s) for Expected Outcome 3
Students must take 20 elective credits in 3 different disciplines, thus selection from 8 possible disciplines offering courses on Latin America assures the development of a comparative perspective. All course work focusing on Latin America implicitly and sometimes explicitly, stresses comparisons between different Latin American nations and subcultures, and between these and other national or world cultures. In particular, LAAS 3100 does so. Students invariably move from an ethnocentric position to varying degrees of empathy. Empathy is not easily measurable, but students in LAAS 3100 are repeatedly challenged to consider, then adopt, an empathetic point-of-view. Evidence for the development of comparative and empathetic perspectives is documented in LAAS 3100 journals and through instructor's observations of students' progress in LAAS 3100, which employs the Socratic approach. I have instituted a new tool for assessment for the LAAS major. Each graduating senior now completes an exit survey that will become the basis for assessing progress in learning about and understanding Latin America, evaluations of the program, and requests a report on post-graduation education and work-related experiences.
Timeline for the Outcome 3
Starting Date for the Implementation: In Progress
Anticipated Date for the First Results: In Progress