Latin American Area Studies Assessment

To our busy and very valuable Discipline Coordinators:


The Assessment of Student Learning Committee requests some information

from your discipline in order to prepare our yearly Unit Assessment

Progress Report.  North Central Accreditation will be re-evaluating our

assessment program and our committee needs your help.  Our goal is to help

you gather information on assessment procedures already in place in your

discipline and to help you use this information for program

development. In the assessment conferences I have attended, it was

stressed that we should start small - assess only one or two areas, but do

them well  -  thus the two-parts below.  The questions in the first part

are to help you prepare assessment results for your discipline as a whole

and those in the second part are a request for data and/or ideas on

developing a common assessment goal across all disciplines that focuses on

an upper division seminar, research, or 'capstone' project/course.


1. Assessment of the discipline as a whole:


     a. Who is the person responsible for program assessment, data

        gathering and analysis in your discipline?


            Donna Chollett


     b. What are the stated goals of your discipline?

            The objectives of the Latin American Area Studies program are:

     c. How do you assess whether your discipline is achieving its goals?


LAAS Students and Compliance with North Central Association of Colleges

And Schools’ Emphasis on Additional Assessment of Student Learning


Basically, the NCA wants to know if you’re learning anything. Towards that end each student enrolled in LAAS will need to do and/or provide the following:


(1)       At the completion of each unit of LAAS 3100, in addition to handing in your

journal, prepare a separate typed list of the essays you read.  A typical entry would read “Geog Area:  Mexico; Source:  Proceso (19 May 1999); Subject:  PAN and Sonora elections.  If you made an oral report on, please place an asterisk at beginning of item, e.g., “*Geog…”


(2)       For the final semester you’re enrolled in LAAS 3100, your journal will not be

returned, but retained as an example of the level of sophistication you’ve achieved.


(3)       Your final take home exam for Hist 1601 will be retained.


(4)       The list of topics developed for LAAS 4101, and the final list of topics and books

            read on those topics you’ve selected, will be typed up and submitted.




(1)       Maintain a cumulative list of those periodical and reference sources used in

preparing LAAS assignments.  This list might well begin with those examined in LAAS 3201.  To be submitted prior to graduation.


(2)       Maintain a cumulative list of Internet sites searched in preparing LAAS

            assignments.  Due prior to graduation.


(3)       Submit a list of all courses taken for LAAS major.  List should demonstrate that

            courses have been taken in 3 or more disciplines.


(4)       If you have had one or more study abroad experiences in Latin America or

internships working with US based Hispanics, please prepare a brief (not more than 1 page) description of that experience and relate how it enhanced your “understanding of Latin America and its diverse peoples.”




(1)       Prior to graduation make sure an up-to-date APAS is filed with the LAAS

coordinator.  This will demonstrate your course work which provides a basis for comparisons.


(2)       Same as No. 4 under Objective 2, but add comments on how your frame(s) of

comparison have deepened your understanding and on how your ability to empathize with Latin Americans has been enhanced.


(3)       Same as No. 2 under Objective 1.


In addition to the above, we’ll need to maintain a number of lists (probably will be updated at the end of each semester):


(1)       UROPs and MAPs relating to Latin America undertaken by LAAS majors.


(2)       LAAS student presentations relating to major.


(3)       Honors and awards won by LAAS majors relative to major.


(4)       LAAS majors participation in discipline related study abroad experiences or




     d. Has your discipline modified it's curriculum and/or teaching as a

        result of your assessment results, and if so, how?


The basic curriculum requirements remain the same, as they have worked quit well in preparing students to meet the stated objectives.  The LAAS major has experienced a transition, however.  I (Donna Chollett) assumed the coordinator position in the fall of 2001.  Our interdisciplinary major is strengthened by the hiring of new faculty and broadening of our course offerings.  We now have 14 faculty who teach LAAS-related courses in eight different disciplines.  This allowed us to add a number of new courses to our electives, while it provides role models from a greater diversity of backgrounds.  We expect also to place more emphasis on encouraging study abroad for our LAAS majors.    A long-range goal is to add a Brazilian focus as we hire additional faculty.  This would complement the Portuguese courses now offered by the Spanish discipline.


2. Assessment of your upper level seminar/capstone project or course:


     a.  What are your goals for this course?


The primary goal of our Senior Tutorial (LAAS 4101) is to round out the student’s preparation in Latin American Area Studies by involving them in reading and research on previously unstudied or understudied geographical areas.  Students identify those areas they have not studied and undertake readings of book-length works in each of these areas.


     b.  How do you measure whether a student has achieved these goals?


Students submit a written report that is evaluated by the instructor.  Because this is a tutorial, the instructor and student work closely together, providing ample opportunity for assessment of the student’s progress.


     c.  As a discipline, are you satisfied with your

         assessment of this course?  If not, how might you improve it?




Please return your discipline's responses (they need not be lengthy) to

the above questions to   We would appreciate

a response by April 24th.


Thank you for taking time from your busy schedules,


           Dian Lopez, Chair

           The Assessment of Student Learning Committee


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