Philosophy Learning Outcomes/Goals: 1. To enable students to reason clearly, to distinguish good arguments from bad arguments. 2. To enable students to navigate through a complex maze of questions confronting people in the modern world. 3. To hone students’ intellectual skills needed in the clarification of concepts. 4. To habitually use intelligence and logic, even in situations that lend themselves to over-reliance on emotion and that prompt prejudice. Assessment Methods: 1. Exit interviews: with senior majors. (The department is moving to regularize these interviews to include questions tailored to outcomes, is considering extending interviews to a selection of junior majors.) 2. Extra-curricular: The Undergraduate Program Director is charged with monitoring undergraduate participation in philosophically related extra-curricular activities for evidence that the learning objectives are being met. 3. Course-based Assessment: Standard forms of course-based assessment, heavily weighted toward significant writing assignments where student activity related to objectives 1-3 are clearly on view, are employed. Establishing a feedback loop between individual course outcomes and programmatic outcomes needs development. Assessment Results: 1. Senior majors were stimulated by their undergraduate philosophy experience and were basically positive about the extent to which the learning objectives were realized. 2. The level of undergraduate participation in extra-curricular activities such as weekly philosophy club meetings, field trips to conferences, and on campus colloquia is robust. The skills displayed by undergraduates participating in the above activities indicates that they have realized the learning outcomes. Action Taken: 1. Intensified extra –curricular dimension of the undergraduate philosophy experience in connection particularly with the department’s annual endowed lectureships, as well as with ad hoc opportunities (UN World Philosophy Day; Student Philosophy Society). 2. The department has established greater thematic unity among the electives in the major in order to harmonize and facilitate the process of realizing the above learning objectives. Allowing students to focus on themes in philosophy enables them to deepen their understanding of the relevant concepts and focus their practice of the skills highlighted by the philosophical themes that interest them. Results from Actions Taken: 1. Departmental support for student involvement in extra-curricular activities has increased. Future Plans: 1. The department is considering making the senior seminar a teaching responsibility of the Undergraduate Program Director in order to facilitate the use of the seminar as a means for assessing the above learning outcomes in its senior majors. 2. The Director is also focusing on developing better ways of measuring outcome 4.
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