American Studies Undergraduate Learning Goals


Rutgers University-Newark Undergraduate Minor in American Studies Learning Goals and Assessments:

Learning Goal 1:  Train students in the interdisciplinary study of American culture and develop research skills enabling them to produce essays and cultural productions that illuminate and analyze American culture.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal 1.

Students who minor in American Studies are required to take both introductory and advanced courses in a broad range of academic disciplines so that they can analyze American culture in interdisciplinary ways.

While the entry-level course in the minor is specific to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies, students are also required to take core courses in American history and American literature before moving on to take three upper-level courses in an area of concentration of their choosing. Courses in an area of concentration are taken in programs and departments affiliated with the American Studies program: English; History; Political Science; Arts, Culture and Media; Sociology/Anthropology; Philosophy; Spanish and Portuguese; African and African American Studies; and  Women and Gender. A total of 21 credits is required for the minor.

Grades and written evaluations in coursework.

Role of the program in helping students to achieve Goal 1.

Writing and research are integrated into “Introduction to American Studies.” When a student needs assistance to learn effective strategies for writing and research, the instructor may refer the student to the Writing Center for help.

To focus their studies, students who minor in American Studies are required to organize their elective courses in American Studies around an area of concentration of their choice.

Learning Goal 2: Foster student research that explores American civilization's heterodox identities, institutions, and cultures.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal  2.

Students write essays and exams that require them to produce analytical arguments grounded in evidence found in libraries, archives, cultural institutions and communities around our campus.

Students meet with their professors to discuss the state of their work.

Role of the program in helping students to achieve Goal 2.

Introduce students to research strategies starting in Introduction to American Studies.

Visits to archives and other collections of sources in our region in both coursework and independent trips.

The program brings scholars to campus for lectures and seminars to introduce students to leading scholars and research topics in American Studies.

Learning Goal 3: Encourage the original, creative, and academically substantial  work in public history and public humanities that engages diverse audiences and questions.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal 3.

Students may take a course or internship in public humanities that will introduce them to key themes and practices in the field.

Students are encouraged to conduct for-credit independent study or fieldwork, under faculty supervision, to produce works of public history and public humanities.

Role of the program in helping students to achieve Goal 3.

Where appropriate, faculty members encourage students to produce work in the public humanities as part of their coursework.

The program supports lectures, conferences, performances and presentations relevant to American Studies on campus.