From : Edith Borchardt, Associate Professor of German
To: Katherine Benson, Associate Professor of Psychology (Chair, ASL Committee)
Re: Assessment of European Studies
European Studies is an individually designed interdisciplinary major under the authority of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean. Currently participating in this program are the following disciplines: Art History, Economics, English, French, German, History, Political Science, Spanish, Speech, and Theatre. Courses from other fields may contribute to a European Studies major, if they are relevant to the focus of the program planned by an individual student.
All the participating disciplines of the European Studies major have outlined their Mission, Goals, Methods, and Assessment Plans, which can be found in the Plan for the Assessment of Student Learning, published at UMM from April 1997 to June 1998 and at the following Website: http://www.morris.umn.edu/committees/asl/index.shtml
Objectives for European Studies, as stated in the UMM 2005 – 2006 Bulletin, are as follows:
1. "to acquaint students with the culture and society of Europe from the Middle Ages to the present as well as Europe's classical antecedents." The method for accomplishing this is interdisciplinary: "Students develop a coherent program and plan of study with their major advisers. Advisers normally are faculty with a specialty in an appropriate area."
Assessment is interdisciplinary, as well, i.e. the responsibility of each discipline under the umbrella of European Studies in which students are enrolled.
2. Students acquire proficiency beyond the low novice level in French, German, or Spanish, because two years of a foreign language are required for this major. For some of the courses beyond 2002, higher proficiency is sometimes required for work in upper division courses. Equivalent proficiency in European languages not offered at UMM may also be used to satisfy the language requirement for the European Studies major.
Assessment of foreign language competency is in the hands of each language discipline: in most cases French, German, or Spanish. The outcome for each language is tested at the novice level by administering the placement test as an assessment test at the end of the Beginning sequence to determine how much students have learned during the first year, and whether they are appropriately placed at the intermediate level and beyond.
3. Students are encouraged to spend a period of time in Europe, generally with an overseas program, attending university lectures and seminars, and/or pursuing independent research. Such study abroad is planned with the major adviser before traveling abroad to make sure that the content and quality of coursework is equivalent to course work at UMM and fulfills the requirements and standards of the home institution.
Assessment of overseas study occurs in consultation with the UMM Registrar and the faculty of the discipline involved. Students returning from abroad will usually have American grade equivalents for courses taken at the foreign institution or some kind of certification of attendance in courses and seminars.
Determining the outcomes of their assessment plans lies in the hands of each discipline participating in the European Studies major.