UMM Anthropology

Assessment Update of Student Learning for 2008-09



The Anthropology major and minor underwent significant changes in 2008-2009 with the hiring of an archaeologist to replace a position previously held by a cultural anthropologist. All students majoring in Anthropology must now take Anth 2103 Archaeology (4 credits). The total number of credits needed for the major remains the same as we dropped the requirement for the capstone course. We had two reasons for dropping the capstone course. First, the addition of an archaeology track meant that meeting the needs and interests of all anthropology majors with the same capstone course is no longer be feasible. Second, upon review of our program, we determined that our required methods and theory seminars serve as a capstone experience for students, tying together previous classes in a greater understanding of the overall concerns, theories and methods of the discipline. 


Program Design Summary Statement:

The anthropology major and minor at UMM provide undergraduate students with an overview of the discipline. We introduce students to four of the five subfields of the discipline: cultural anthropology, physical anthropology, archaeology, and medical anthropology – we do not have coursework in linguistic anthropology. Field classes and study abroad are encouraged as is the study of other languages. Required and suggested coursework provides students earning a major or minor in anthropology with a holistic perspective which will benefit him or her with future career and educational goals.


Learning Objectives for Anthropology Majors:

The anthropology curriculum is designed to acquaint students with the concerns, theories, and methods of the discipline that provides a comparative understanding of the range of human cultures and societies - past and present, throughout the world - in both humanistic and scientific terms.  Anthropology is also concerned with biological variation among human populations and with human evolution, including the development of the human capacity for creating and acquiring culture. In addition to gaining familiarity with – and competency in – anthropology as a science, students are expected to understand how human values relate broadly to the theories, methods, and data of the field, including respect for both non-Western and Western cultures through courses that encourage critical thinking and the synthesis and communication of ideas.


UMM Mission Statement and the Anthropology Major:

The University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM) provides a rigorous undergraduate liberal arts education, preparing its students to be global citizens who value and pursue intellectual growth, civic engagement, intercultural competence, and environmental stewardship.

As a public land-grant institution, UMM is a center for education, culture, and research for the region, nation, and world. UMM is committed to outstanding teaching, dynamic learning, innovative faculty and student scholarship and creative activity, and public outreach. Our residential academic setting fosters collaboration, diversity, and a deep sense of community.

The anthropology major and minor contribute to the UMM mission in the following ways: Our program stresses respect for diversity, cultures, and peoples, teaches intercultural competence, and fosters a global and holistic perspective. Anthropology understands humans as part of the environment and provides a broad perspective on environmental issues. Our faculty work closely with students in and outside of the classroom, encouraging critical thought, responsible and ethical action, and innovative problem-solving. Our major is supplemented by Sociology.

The sociology and anthropology faculty have identified the following number of courses that contribute in these key areas:         

a.       Diversity: In addition to the survey courses in both the anthropology and sociology majors, we teach 20 courses that contribute to this part of the mission. (Pelletier-5, Gilanshah-2, Rothchild-3, Dean-3, Chollett -4, Gashaw -3)

b.       Environmental concerns: 8 courses (Pelletier -1, Gilanshah-1, Rothchild-1, Dean-2, Chollett-3)

c.       Global citizenship: 13 courses (Pelletier-2, Gilanshah-2, Rothchild-3, Chollett-3, Gashaw-3)

d.       Commitment to research: 13 courses (Pelletier-1, Gilanshah-2, Rothchild-5, Chollett-2, Gashaw-3)


Further Contributions to the UMM Mission

We also contribute to the mission of UMM by serving the Division of Social Science and campus communities through our involvement in interdisciplinary programs at UMM. Specifically, two of the anthropology discipline members are discipline coordinators for interdisciplinary programs: Donna Chollett (Latin America Area Studies) and Julie Pelletier (American Indian Studies). Donna Chollett and Rebecca Dean serve on the Environmental Studies Program Committee, and Julie Pelletier served on that committee in its initial planning stages. Chollett and Pelletier serve on the Liberal Arts for the Human Services (LAHS) major committee.   


General Education Requirements:

With sociology, we teach courses that meet the following GenEd Requirements: HDIV, SS, SCI-L, E/CR, ENVT, and IP. Anthropology teaches three lower-level service courses that allow liberal arts students in and outside the major to meet their GER.  These are Anth 1111 Intro to Cultural Anthropology (SS), Anth 2101 Physical Anthropology (Sci-L), and Anth 2103 Archaeology (SS).  Between these courses, some 140 students can fulfill GenEd Requirements each year, without required prerequisites in anthropology. 


Assessment Measures:

* In 2008-09, the chief assessment tool within the anthropology major was the capstone requirement which was met by taking Anth 3411 Seminar in Anthropological Methodology and Anth 3403 Seminar in Anthropological Theory.

* We instituted assessment in the introductory survey course Anth 1111 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology in the form of a pre-test and post-test.

* We use standardized testing in Anth 1111.

* An exit survey is conducted in what is usually the students last course in the major, Anth 3403.


Implementing assessment techniques that include qualitative and quantitative measures will enhance our discipline assessment. We will continue to rely significantly on course-embedded assessment in which qualified instructors test and evaluate student understanding and mastery of relevant course material. The Anthropology faculty is continuing to develop a formal assessment plan.


Examples of Changes

          The Anthropology Senior Seminar course has been dropped and that requirement is being met by Anth 3411 and Anth 3403.

          An archaeology track has been added to the major, with associated courses.

          A required course, Anth 2301 Archaeology, has been added to the curriculum.  

          The website is undergoing regular updates of changes already noted and to meet new UMM requirements and recommendations for an improved and consistent web presence.


Plans for Changes

          Data from a measurement tool in the form of a pre-test and post-test for the survey course will be incorporated in future assessment reports.

          Data from an exit survey will be incorporated in future assessment reports.

          Anthropology faculty will meet annually in the spring to compile, analyze, and respond to assessment data.


Recommendations for Improving Assessment Processes:

          Clarify discipline goals and break down goals into specific and measurable learning objectives, in conjunction with UMMs defined learning objectives.

          Place discipline goals and learning objectives on the discipline website.

          Review course goals and learning objectives, and consider them in light of both UMMs defined learning objectives and designated discipline-specific goals.

          Develop a formal assessment plan for the major that clearly delineates how courses within the major meet the learning objectives for the discipline.

          Conduct yearly assessment meetings to discuss the major.