Student Learning Outcomes

In their own ways, all English Department courses use writing, reading, and critical thinking to cultivate habits of mind that are both intellectual and practical and that will support students’ success in school, work, and the wider world.

Curiosity the desire to know more about the world
Openness the willingness to consider new ways of being and thinking in the world
Engagement a sense of investment and involvement in learning
Creativity the ability to use novel approaches for generating, investigating, and representing ideas
Persistence the ability to sustain interest in attention to short- and long-term projects
Responsibility the ability to take ownership of one’s action and understand the consequences of those actions for oneself and others
Flexibility the ability to adapts to situations, expectations, or demands
Metacognition the ability to reflect on one’s own thinking as well as on the individual and cultural processes used to structure knowledge
Cultural Awareness the ability to explore literary voices of different cultural heritages and to study these voices in context of history and theory; to find relevance in a global awareness of environmental/ political/ social/ spiritual/ gendered realities that shape experience
Collaboration a willingness and desire to work with others offer feedback, solve problems, and create
Pleasure a willingness to experience life of literature and the arts through the senses of taste, touch, sight, sound and smell

Individual Course Goals

Overall Outcome: An ability to comprehend, summarize, respond to, and connect/synthesize a wide variety of college level texts through

  • Active Reading
    • multiple attempts at reading
    • multiple reading strategies
    • annotating and responding
    • expanding vocabulary
  • Rhetorical Awareness
    • awareness of a writer’s audience, purpose, agenda, and rhetorical strategies
  • Organizational Awareness
    • ability to differentiate between and identity main points, supporting points, supporting evidence and detail

Technology Skills

  • Learning Management Systems
    • Access and navigate the course’s LMS
    • Retrieve documents and other downloadable content
  • Email
    • Learning the basics of email as a tool to communicate with instructor and/or classmates
  • Research
    • Learning search techniques for the Internet
    • Developing skills for evaluating web pages
    • Learning search techniques for a general interest database
    • Considering the nature of authorship and authority, especially in the realm of the Internet

Overall Outcome: An ability to write effective essays that

  • Are thesis driven
    • a central point is clear, easily identifiable
    • the central point is genuinely debatable
  • Are reader-centered
    • has a clear purpose
    • employs an appropriate and effective tone
    • engages a college-level audience
  • Contain effective paragraphs
    • a controlling/point/topic sentence is clear and identifiable
    • the connections/transitions between paragraphs are clear and logical
    • the paragraphs are consistently supported by relevant and concrete details.
  • Contain effective evidence/supporting details
    • details are relevant and concrete
    • details are drawn from the writer’s own direct experience as well as from the direct experiences of others
    • details may also be drawn from such sources as magazine and newspaper articles
  • Contain effective sentences
    • largely free of sentences fragments and run-ons
    • adhere to academic conventions surrounding punctuation use
    • demonstrate an ability to use co-ordination and sub-ordination
    • exhibit variety in sentence construction
  • Are the result of an effective writing process
    • use prewriting to explore, develop, and refine ideas, experiences and arguments
    • receive feedback from peers, the professor, and others
    • use that feedback to enact a range of revisions, from global to sentence and word level

Technology Skills

  • Learning Management Systems
    • Access and navigate the course’s LMS
    • Retrieve documents and other downloadable content
  • Email
    • Learning the basics of email as a tool to communicate with instructor and/or classmates
    • Using email as a tool to retrieve research materials
  • Word processing
    • Using word processing as a tool in composing, revising, and preparing final copies of written assignment
    • Using word processing editing tools for critiquing
  • Research
    • Learning search techniques for the Internet
    • Developing skills for evaluating web pages
    • Learning search techniques for a general interest database

Overall Goal: Strengthened critical thinking skills in the crucial areas of research and writing, specifically

  • Research
    • Increasingly sophisticated research strategies
    • effective use of library databases
    • effective use of library print resources such as reference books
    • effective use of internet search engines like Google
    • effective use of primary research tools such as interviews
  • Critical assessment of sources
    • can differentiate between academic and non-academic sources
    • can determine the quality or authoritativeness of an unknown source
    • understand the crucial role that context and authorship plays in determining source quality
  • Rhetorical Awareness
    • awareness of a source’s audience, purpose, agenda, and rhetorical strategies
  • Research used in a variety of ways
    • students begin to develop an awareness that knowledge comes not in the form of “facts” and “information,” but in the form of claims, claims that can conflict and be tested by other sources and by the student writer
  • Citations
    • students are careful to properly attribute claims and information to the appropriate sources using MLA style in text citations and works cited page entries
  • Writing
    • written with a real purpose and audience in mind
    • increased sophistication & complexity of argument
    • increased attention to tone in both reading and writing (tone: inference, social/cultural contexts and connotations, intended audience)
    • employs appropriate, effective, and consistent diction, tone, and syntax
    • creates a unique, individual writing style that works within the confines of academic discourse
    • produces prose largely free of syntax errors,  increased self-awareness of usage issues and can develop strategies for addressing them

Technology Skills

  • Research
    • Research with print and electronic texts
    • Developing expertise with search engines in the Internet
    • Locating information with indexes and keyword searches
    • Navigating within sites
    • Learning search techniques to obtain research materials from databases
    • Evaluating and correctly citing print and electronic resources
    • Understanding and avoiding plagiarism

Overall Outcome: A capacity to engage in detailed formal analysis (plot, character, theme, etc.) as well as an enriched sense of the possibilities and challenges presented by the human condition, including

  • Formal Analysis
    • ability to define and identify formal elements of imaginative literature (such as figurative language, plot, character, etc.)
    • ability to apply knowledge of formal elements to commentary on particular effects achieved by literary works
    • ability to defend one’s own interpretation of a literary work as well as to understand, accept, and assimilate other interpretations
    • ability to develop a purely subjective response to literature into one that balances formal analysis and personal meaning
    • ability to recognize and take into account social, historical, cultural, and political contexts of literary works
  • Human Condition
    • appreciation of the power of literature to connect one’s own life to the lives of others as well as to the wider world
    • increased understanding of oneself and of others
    • increased pleasure in reading, discussing, and analyzing literature
    • greater awareness and appreciation of diverse cultures and identities
    • greater understanding of one’s role as an informed global citizen

Technology Skills

  • Research
    • Using electronic resources to explore course material
    • Refining search and evaluation techniques
    • Learning to locate and use materials from specialized academic databases

Overall Outcome: An ability to synthesize and apply the tools of formal analysis and empathetic imagination in order to deepen understanding and appreciation of a specific body of literature, involving

  • refining and expanding writing, reading, and critical thinking skills in the study of texts
  • skilled application of the elements of formal analysis to both text and context
  • integration of literary theory as a practical lens for understanding literature as well as the wider world
  • expanded facility with literary research methods and academic literary conventions
  • increased knowledge of literary and/or critical history as it pertains to a specific body of literature
  • applying knowledge of formal conventions, generic characteristics, or hallmarks of individual authors in the production of original literary texts