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(Approved February 8, 2018)
The faculty of Truman State University has identified specific student learning outcomes for each area of the Dialogues curriculum. Learning outcomes are the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that students should exhibit after they have completed each area of the Dialogues. Every course that counts toward a Dialogues requirement has been judged by the faculty to help the students achieve the appropriate learning outcomes.
(Outcome statements approved May 9, 2019)
Communication skills are essential for every field of endeavor. Students focus intensively on communication skills in specially designated courses to fulfill the Communication Skills Perspective, and will continue to practice these skills in Writing- and Speaking-Enhanced courses and experiences. Through the completion of the Communication Skills Perspective, students will:
- Enact ethical dimensions of public discourse and accept ethical responsibility in producing and consuming public discourse, including accurate quotation and citation of the ideas, words, and works of others;
- Develop critical thinking skills, including the processes of critical reading and listening, constructing meaning from and responding to public messages;
- Understand and perform the audience-centered approach of the speech making process including selecting topics, organizing speeches, using persuasive appeals, and using supporting materials effectively;
- Meet the needs of readers with varied expectations and backgrounds by using appropriate style and mechanics in well-organized writing.
Students must complete nine credits from the list of courses approved for the Communications Skills Perspective. Included in these nine credits must be ENG 190: Writing As Critical Thinking (or a successful portfolio challenge), COMM 170 or any other COMM course that meets the CORE 42 state requirement, and a writing-enhanced (WE) course. Additional coursework to fulfill the nine-credit minimum (if needed) may come from the list of courses approved as either WE or speaking-enhanced (SE). A student can use a single course to fulfill both the SE and WE requirements.
A liberally educated person strives to understand the diversities and complexities of the cultural and social world, past and present, and come to an informed sense of themselves and the world around them. This perspective highlights the content and the processes used by historians and social and behavioral scientists to discover, describe, analyze, and predict human behavior and social systems. Through the completion of the Social Perspective, students will:
- Explain social institutions, structures, and processes within one’s own culture or across a range of historical periods and cultures;
- Develop and communicate hypothetical or causal explanations for individual human behavior in the large-scale historical or social context;
- Explain what constitutes evidence in the social sciences or history and how social scientists or historians utilize empirical observations for drawing inferences and conclusions;
- Draw upon the social sciences or history to evaluate contemporary social problems;
- Apply critical thinking skills and analytical capabilities in the social sciences or history
- Describe and analytically compare social, cultural, and historical settings and processes other than one’s own;
- Articulate the interconnectedness of people and places around the globe.
Students must complete nine credits from at least two departments (prefixes) from the list of courses approved for the Social Perspective. Included in these nine credits must be a course that fulfills the Missouri Statute requirement (170.011.1).
Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (also known as STEM fields) are an essential basis of our modern society. New advances in these fields continually change how and what we do in our daily lives and how we perceive the universe and our place in it. The STEM Perspective provides experiences and knowledge to students so that they may better understand the important role STEM has played in producing the culture and lifestyle they currently have and to navigate the changes due to new discoveries and new technologies.
Through the completion of the STEM Perspective, students will:
- Experience and demonstrate the ways in which scientists study the natural world through observation, experimentation, mathematical and empirical modeling, and data collection and analysis;
- Explain the role of science, mathematics, and technology, both historically and in modern society and everyday life;
- Critically evaluate mathematical and scientific information and the impact of technological advances;
- Use scientific, technological, and mathematical vocabulary and concepts appropriately;
- Demonstrate fluency with the elementary functions and be able to apply them to reason mathematically in a variety of applications;
- Explain how science, technology, and mathematics are creative and self-correcting human activities.
Students must complete ten credits from the list of courses approved for the STEM Perspective. Included in these ten credits must be a mathematics course that is the equivalent of precalculus or greater, a science course with an associated laboratory, and a third course of at least three credits.
Arts & Humanities
Liberally educated individuals aspire to lead meaningful lives that embrace the practice of democratic citizenship. Through performance, analysis, and self-reflection, exploration of artistic and humanistic creation prepares students to adopt habits of lifelong learning that foster the pursuit of these goals. Through the completion of the Arts and Humanities Perspective, students will:
- Demonstrate attentive, nuanced, and precise understanding of written, aural, and/or visual works drawing on terminology, concepts, and techniques appropriate to the object of study;
- Skillfully compose, interpret, and/or present analytic and creative works;
- Develop empathetic understandings of others’ experiences by engaging with a range of historically, culturally, and/or intellectually significant works;
- Explore how sustained critical, emotional, and/or creative engagement in the arts and humanities leads to reflection on and questioning of who we are and who we might be.
Students must complete nine credits from at least two departments (prefixes) from the list of courses approved for the Arts and Humanities Perspective.
A liberally educated person is capable of being both a consumer and a producer of statistical information with some basic level of competency. Students should be able to critically evaluate information in their professional and personal life (consumer) and to draw meaningful conclusions from data using basic statistical tools (producer). Through the completion of the Statistics requirement, students will:
- Recognize the overall importance and broad application of statistics from its use in research to its use in everyday life;
- Use appropriate technology to create and interpret graphs and compute summary statistics to study patterns in univariate data and explore multivariate data with graphical techniques;
- Determine and interpret basic probabilities and use probability concepts to describe the behavior of discrete and continuous random variables, as a model of real world phenomena;
- Describe sampling distributions and the Central Limit Theorem;
- Identify and evaluate assumptions embedded in statistical models;
- Draw conclusions from data using confidence intervals and hypothesis tests for means and proportions: confidence intervals and hypothesis tests should include one and two (or more) groups;
- Analyze bivariate data using correlation and regression;
- Understand the characteristics of experimental design and observational study and their potential limitations (including confounding variables and bias) and provide constructive feedback to a data collection plan intended to answer a research question;
- Interpret and communicate results from a real-world project, case study, or journal article.
(Approved January 20, 2020)
Helping students to learn different ways to think critically and seek multiple perspectives is at the core of developing their toolbox, and is what makes a liberal arts and sciences education relevant today. The complexity of the problems within our own country and globally requires leaders and innovators that can build bridges and connections between multiple disciplines. The ability to adapt and incorporate multiple methodologies, sometimes from disparate areas, will breed innovation and solutions. The focus on developing a well-rounded, adaptable, and engaged individual that can respond to the need and changing dynamics of our global society is the current draw of a liberal arts education. In addition, innovation and bridge building is not just with ideas and concepts, but developing citizen-leaders, empathetic to understanding the human experience, and working to increase the participation of and advocacy for traditionally oppressed individuals in our democratic society. We are not just preparing graduates for the job they will have once they graduate, but we are preparing them for the roles they will have ten and twenty years down the road.
—Dr. Jennifer Hurst, Faculty, Health and Exercise Science
The Symposium comprises three interrelated components, as follows:
A Shared-Experiences component in which students will attend or participate in a number of events or activities together. These might consist of talks, panel discussions, and/or performances that focus on themes such as developing a growth mindset, resilience, work-life balance, diversity, living a life of purpose, or exploration of the liberal arts and sciences;
A Discovery component in which students will be asked to explore various communities throughout Truman and Kirksville/northeast Missouri as well as visit specific destinations on campus and in the immediate region;
An Action component during which participating in a team-driven community-engagement or service-learning project.
Through completion of the Truman Symposium, students will:
- Build relationships which foster engagement with all facets of the Truman community, including their new student cohort; other Truman students, faculty, and staff; Truman alumni; and the cultural and geographic features of Kirksville and northeast Missouri;
- Understand the value of a liberal arts and sciences education and the importance of approaching issues from various disciplinary perspectives;
- Cultivate a growth mindset, leading to a capacity to take risks, solve problems, think critically, and learn the value of persistence and resilience;
- Develop an empathetic understanding of people that are different from themselves in background, interests, and aspirations.
Self & Society Seminar
(Approved November 29, 2018)
This freshman seminar, taken concurrently with the Truman Symposium, provides students with an introduction to the three foundational components of a liberal arts and sciences-based education: engaging the big questions, cultivating intellectual and practical values, and fostering character. Each seminar is organized around the concept of “big questions” that engage students across multiple aspects of their lives and invite them to consider the relationship between the individual and society. In particular, the Self & Society Seminar focuses on awareness of one’s own identity, the origins of that identity, and the context in which it developed. It offers exploration of life purpose and meaning and of the relationships between self and others, self and environment, and self and ideas. This, in turn, encourages them to form a basis for intentional beliefs and actions and fosters an “empathetic understanding of human experiences at home and around the world. Consequently, students are grounded in the methods of critical, multidisciplinary, and intercultural thinking. Through completion of a Self & Society Seminar students will:
- Recognize the benefits of the liberal arts and sciences and the importance of lifelong learning;
- Demonstrate an emerging understanding of the relationship between self & society through exploration of fundamental questions about the structure of society and the development of the self;
- Recognize what a “discipline” is, and understand how various disciplines, including their own major field of study, are positioned within the larger mosaic of knowledge;
- Demonstrate familiarity with the tools and theoretical frameworks of one or more disciplines;
- Investigate several “big questions” of intellectual, regional, national and global importance related to one or more disciplines;
- Recognize diverse ideas, perspectives, and opinions, and consider their merits;
- Hone critical thinking and problem-solving skills;
- Develop essential digital literacy skills;
- Advance in the ability to analyze and evaluate received information in a well-reasoned way;
- Improve the ability to engage with others effectively through speech and writing;
- Experience and critically reflect about the benefits of community engagement;
- Collaborate and share ideas with their peers.
(Approved May 9, 1997)
The projected outcomes of students’ skills, habits, and attitudes, while distinguishable, are not separable; they blend together to produce the ability to write well and think critically. Cognition, writing process, and the written product interact and mutually reinforce one another. As a result of Writing-Enhanced Courses, students:
- Use writing as a mode of learning as well as a method of communicating what was learned;
- Are able to generate, organize, and communicate information and ideas fully, clearly, and cogently;
- Exhibit critical thinking such as the ability to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and reflect;
- Show audience awareness;
- Appreciate the importance of good writing in their personal and professional lives;
- Engage in deep revision, closely examining and further developing the reasoning in the writing;
- Assess their own writing to uncover strengths and concerns, and are able to generate strategies for improvement;
- Solicit external critiques of their writing to guide revision;
- As regular habit of their writing process, copy-edit their own work for mechanics, style, and coherence;
- Are able to write clear, coherent, and well organized prose for a targeted audience;
- Demonstrate a command of syntax, style, and tone appropriate to the task; and
- Exhibit mastery of punctuation, usage, and formatting conventions.
Junior Interdisciplinary Seminar
(Approved October 23, 1997)
“Education must prepare one for life in a complex world in which critical ideas, issues, and decisions require more than a single mode of inquiry or knowledge base. Increasingly, educated citizens must simultaneously apply a range of understandings, skills, and attitudes. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of a lifelong learner is the ability to draw upon the diversity of one’s education in addressing new situations” (SB2495, https://wp-internal.truman.edu/provost/files/2015/01/SB2495.pdf, 6).
Interdisciplinary study should offer a model of how connections can be made. It should expose students to multiple ways of thinking about issues, problems, and concepts. It should enable the simultaneous use of multiple modes of inquiry and demonstrate that their source of power is synergistic rather than additive. It should help students construct their own mental frameworks of retrievable knowledge. And it should make possible an evaluation of competing and complementary ways of knowing.
Upon completion of the Interdisciplinary, Writing-Enhanced Junior Seminar, students have engaged:
- Intersections or tensions between two or more academic disciplines with respect to applied methods or tools of inquiry; or
- Investigation of ways in which a given topic or concept may be understood and questioned by two or more different disciplines within a larger civic, cultural, or professional context; or
- Consideration of a problem in the student’s “home” or major discipline via the lens of another discipline’s perspectives;
and have demonstrated:
- Knowledge of, and reflection on, how advanced-level content from two or more disciplines interacts; and
- Integrated analysis and reflection informed by approaches or methods from two or more disciplines.
(Approved March 30, 2006)
An intercultural perspective is more than the observation of cultural differences or a celebration of “exotic” food and clothing styles. Rather, a meaningful intercultural perspective arises from direct experiences with cultural diversity and cultural interactions. In a rapidly changing world, understanding cultural differences is important in fostering a perspective of global concern and acceptance of a range of cultural responses. We learn to thrive in diverse work and living environments. Our lives are enriched by the presence of diverse people and ideas. We become aware of the political and social significance of cultural differences. The exchange of ideas becomes multifaceted and complex when two or more cultural perspectives are engaged. A student who has successfully completed the intercultural perspective should be prepared to approach intercultural interactions with awareness and attentiveness.
Coursework and study abroad experiences can foster a student’s intercultural perspective, as can service learning, internships, and other intensive experiences designed to create an environment for intercultural interaction.
Students completing the Intercultural Perspective requirement:
- Have a greater knowledge and appreciation of cultural diversity through the study of other cultures, as well as their own;
- Are critical and self-reflective, developing an understanding of how culture influences behavior, and in turn, how cultural differences impact intercultural interactions; and
- Have an awareness of the political and social aspects of culture and cultural diversity, and an awareness that intercultural consideration allows one to transcend (but not erase) cultural and ethnic differences.
(Approved March 30, 2006)
The study of a foreign language opens the door to a new world of understanding of people, customs, literature, history and information, and is, therefore, a crucial element of the liberal arts. The ability to use a foreign language and to understand the culture of its speakers serves students well as they confront a world increasingly aware of its interdependency.
Students who complete the Dialogues elementary foreign language proficiency requirement:
- Achieve a command of certain basic grammatical structures;
- Establish a minimal working vocabulary;
- Develop initial pronunciation skills;
- Acquire limited listening and conversational skills;
- Develop the ability to read basic texts and to write simple sentences;
- Become familiar with some key aspects of the culture associated with the language;
- Grow in their understanding of English through comparison with another language; and
- Are both well prepared and motivated to continue foreign language study. Such study might include more advanced coursework in language, literature or culture; study of additional languages; study-abroad experiences, including internships; travel; or employment involving the languages and cultures studied.
Click here to see the Dialogues Requirements .