Student Learning Objectives

Objectives for GUR Courses

The department offers GUR courses which meet university requirements for Humanities, and for Class, Gender and Multicultural Studies.

  • Students should engage with texts and works of art by learning and practicing methods of close reading, careful analysis and critical thinking.
  • Students also should learn to locate works of the humanities in relation to social and historical contexts of their authors and audiences.
  • Students should acquire basic knowledge of an important part of the history of culture in the Western traditions, or they should acquire similar knowledge for a non-Western culture. Students should practice critical thinking, problem solving, and expository writing in the humanities.
  • Students should be prepared to be more knowledgeable and effective citizens by acquiring better skills in close reading, careful analysis, critical thinking, problem solving and expository writing, and by better awareness of cultural diversity and cultural change.

Objectives for Major & Minor Programs

The department’s B.A. Humanities degree program offers two concentrations, Humanities: History of Culture, and Religion and Culture. A third program, B.A. Humanities—Elementary Education, prepares students to teach subjects of the humanities in primary schools. The department offers three minor programs, in Humanities: History of Culture, Religion and Culture, and in Arabic & Islamic Studies.

  1. Students should learn to engage with texts and works of art by learning and practicing methods of close reading, careful analysis and critical thinking.
  2. Students should learn to examine how individual works of the humanities have been shaped by their historical and cultural contexts, and how works of the humanities in turn have influenced the values, beliefs, institutions and actions of their audiences. Students should study examples of cultural interaction, diffusion and change both in the past and in the modern period.
  3. Students should acquire a substantial knowledge of philosophical, literary, aesthetic and religious movements in the Western traditions. They also should acquire some knowledge of works of the humanities, or specifically of religious traditions, and of cultural history in at least one non-Western culture.
  4. Students should learn and practice methods of inquiry used in academic disciplines of the humanities, the history of culture, or the academic study of religion. The department should support the study of methodological issues in non-Western intellectual traditions, and critical thinking about choices of methods and their implicit and explicit assumptions.
  5. In HUMA 302, Methods of Interdisciplinary Study, a senior seminar which serves as an upper division writing course, students in the major programs should learn and practice identifying problems, doing research, and writing good papers in the humanities. In two of the B.A. Humanities majors—History of Culture, and Religion and Culture—students should apply what they have learned in HUMA 400 or REL 400, independent study and research, and in HUMA 499 or REL 499, writing a senior paper under advisement from a member of the faculty. Researching and writing the senior paper is the ‘capstone’ requirement of these two programs.
  6. Students should acquire skills which are broadly applicable to professional careers beyond the university. These skills include problem solving, critical thinking, viewing problems from more than one perspective and using more than one method of inquiry, research skills, integrative skills, and written and oral communications skills.
  7. Students should become more knowledgeable and effective citizens by acquiring skills in close reading, careful analysis, critical thinking, problem solving and expository writing. Students also should become better citizens in a multicultural world through their knowledge of cultural differences, and of the history of fundamental cultural changes.

Other Objectives

The department also supervises the Student-Faculty Designed Majors in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

This program should allow students, in consultation with appropriate faculty, to design a well-integrated course of study with an interdisciplinary focus which is not available through existing departmental majors.

Finally, the department should cooperate with other departments in interdisciplinary programs, for example in the East Asian Studies program.