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Department of Religious Studies
Last updated 8/8/2001

Religious Studies Outcomes Assessment 2000-01

Knowledge and skill goals for this undergraduate degree program are recorded in the most recent CU-Boulder catalog.

In some summaries of assessment activity, goals are referred to by number (e.g., K-2 is knowledge goal 2).

Knowledge and skill goals are evaluated in the Senior Seminar capstone course that is required of all majors. Each student develops a research project, involving the comparative study of at least two traditions, orally presents the project to the class, participates in discussions of other students' presentations, and writes a formal research paper. Most years the students' work is rated in terms of the departmental goals by the instructor and a second evaluator who may be another faculty member or an experienced outside person.

In recent years this process has shown us the importance of several things. Students need more instruction in the process of writing research papers at every level. Not surprisingly, students also need more instruction in writing. The oral presentation is difficult for students who have not been required to do this before. It is important to include this process in as many of our classes as possible. Knowledge of religious traditions is good, but comparative study is weak. We may need to rethink some of our "tradition" courses to overcome this weakness. Our Junior methodological course has clearly paid off and we will continue to stress methodological issues at all levels of the curriculum. Students are uneven in their ability to work with performative and artifactual data because data because some professors stress one or the other of these and others do not. We will reconsider our distribution requirements to ensure greater exposure to non-textual materials.

The outcomes assessment process itself has periodically been reviewed by faculty from other universities, including (1989-90) the University of Tennessee and University of California-Santa Barbara and (1992-93) the University of Chicago. Dr. Gary Ebersole, the 1992-93 reviewer and a member of the department's program review team that year, commented "The Religious Studies department is to be commended for having developed a serious plan to assess the knowledge and analytical skills the majors have gained during their undergraduate careers. Far too few departments and programs have such self-consciously designed review mechanisms."

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Last revision 07/12/02


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