Results of Assessment
2004-2005 (submitted 05/27/05)
The program continues to receive high grades from its students in terms of faculty expertise and dedication. Also, this year we have more papers from more courses than in the past, mostly due to making one of the changes we specified last year: we made several calls for papers during both Fall and Spring semesters. Also we have reminded several faculty members that we need information from them to complete the grid for all courses it lists.
- Samples of multiple types of student writing from two core courses
- Several types of papers from two co-listed courses
- A research paper from a directed reading
Analysis of Data
A committee consisting of Coordinator Maria Parrilla de Kokal and Diane Krantz met in May of 2005 to analyze the data collected. We had papers from Introduction to Women’s Studies, the Senior Seminar, a guided reading, Psychology of Women and Gender, and Perspectives in Women’s Literature.
- We assessed Cross-cultural papers and papers describing a volunteer service project for Women’s Studies WS 1500. Cross-cultural papers used comparison/contrast to manifest understandings gained from interviewing persons from different cultures. Essays were mostly well-organized and coherent. Some showed in-depth learning about and appreciation for roles of women in different cultures. In others, while understanding of roles was gained, students evinced little appreciation for the values of countries other than the U. S. However, in one paper the student was able to reflect on how own biases as an interviewer.
The papers describing the service project were mostly focused and coherent, using anecdotal evidence of learning about women from volunteer experiences. One paper detailed learning how to address the lack of recognition of women in sports. Students who volunteered at Your Community Connection (YCC) in Ogden wrote of understanding more about women in poverty and abusive situations. One applied her interest in Criminal Justice to learning about laws that govern domestic violence. A few papers were vague or focused more on administrators rather than clients in their service situations.
The several types of essays written for WS 1500 (previously 2050) met (with varying success) goals 1, 4, 5, and 6.
- Papers from the two students who completed the Senior Seminar, WS 4900, demonstrated the ability to focus on a topic (the program as a whole), thereby meeting goal 6. Both students commented on the devotion of Women’s Studies faculty to both their subject matter and their students. Both felt that professors had mastery of their material and respect for individuals in their classes.
The papers did offer completely divergent views about program offerings and pedagogies. One student wrote of being excited and highly stimulated by all her Women’s Studies courses. While she thought that for her fellow students in one cross-listed course the lack of background in feminism was a weakness, she also described one of her core courses as “the best class I have ever taken.” The other student felt that the Women’s Studies program suffers from a lack of mentorship, that student-teacher relations in class remain hierarchical, that the program doesn’t have enough offerings, and that it is exclusionary of men. The two papers taken together affirm that the goals listed on the outcomes’ grid are being met, but they also suggest areas in which the program needs improvement.
- The research paper produced by the student for the directed reading course, WS 4830, was coherent and focused, sustained by multiple references that provided strong support. The paper demonstrated an understanding of and ability to apply the feminist theoretic frameworks of Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir. The student consider the two authors in terms of the history of myth and its portrayal of women in terms of economic roles, femininity, marriage, sexuality, and freedom. The paper provided evidence of goals 2, 4, 5, and 6 being met.
- The essays for Psychology of Women and Gender, Pscyh 2100, revealed a knowledge of social, economic, political, and, especially, psychological issues in contemporary women’s lives. Prejudice against and restrictions on women are described in terms of the struggles women face in trying to gain leadership positions, of the difficulty of obtaining information on the sexuality of middle-aged and older women, and of the discrimination women face in therapy and on the job. On a more hopeful note, the papers maintain that women can take power and that today they are shaping themselves in contrast to stereotypical dualities found in the cultures they inhabit.
The essays were coherent, well-focused papers with strong references and good connections made to the texts used. They provide evidence of goals 1, 5, and 6 being met.
- Papers from Perspectives in Women’s Literature, Engl 2710, included the final essay exam, journals, and a presentation paper. The journals gave evidence of understanding women’s issues such as the economics of marriage and of personal applications of the lessons learned. The presentation papers evinced and understanding of the cultural differences in the treatment and experiences of women. Also showed knowledge of women’s progress in regions of the world stereotypically hostile to women’s independence and their oppression in areas not usually associated with such.
For the final exam, students wrote short answers that demonstrated an appreciation for the connections between women’s actions and experiences in the stories read with their own lives. Students also gained an appreciation of women as role models in facing and overcoming challenges. They reflected on women’s oppression or subservience in patriarchal societies including the ways in which U. S. media portrays women in ways that denigrate or even threaten them.
Program Changes to be implemented in 2004-05 are as follows:
- Each person teaching for Women’s Studies will be given a copy of this year’s assessment report and of the grid used in the assessment.
- Each faculty teaching a course next year will be asked to submit a paragraph on how assessment goals for the course have been met and how that achievement has been measured.
- Faculty will be asked to supply data missing currently from the outcomes grid.
- The assessment plan will be completed at the annual retreat for goals 3, 5, and 7.
- The Senior Seminar will be revisited with respect to the assignments given and the outcomes expected.
- Concerns expressed in the Senior Seminar critiques will be addressed at the annual Fall retreat.