Knowledge Areas Graphic

Knowledge Areas

 

 

Proficiency in the natural sciences entails exploration and comprehension of the universe that requires an informed understanding of the scientific method and its scope, an appreciation of the inherent beauty and wonder that one can find in science and its possibilities, and its application in conducting research to gather and subject empirical evidence to quantitative analysis. Proficiency also demands understanding and appreciation of the requirement that all applicable evidence must be integrated into scientific models of the universe, and that scientific models must evolve.

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block:

This area includes basic proficiency in the knowledge of concept in disciplines such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, physics, and others.

Natural Sciences

Features

Passport Learning Outcomes

Examples of Transfer-Level Proficiency Criteria

Each faculty member develops the ways his/her students can demonstrate transfer-level proficiency with the learning outcomes. Below are a few examples provided by participating faculty.

Science is based on the assumption that reality exists, operates by consistent principles, and that the rules are understandable by critical analysis.

  1. Students can identify examples of scientific thinking
    • Students explain on an exam or assignment why the assumption that the universe operates by consistent principles and that these rules are understandable by critical analysis are important to science.
    • Students mathematically solve problems illustrating commonly accepted theories to show that the results match that observed, for example, the calculation of gravity or Avogadro’s number, theoretical yields of a chemical reaction, confirmation of thermodynamic laws, illustration of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, etc..
  2. Students can explain how science differs from other ways of understanding the world
    • Students prepare a list of questions amenable to scientific inquiry and a list of questions that are not, and give reasons for their choices.

Processes and results must be reproducible and subjected to peer review.

  1. Students explain what is meant by “reproducibility” and “peer review” as part of an exam, class assignment, or laboratory experiment.
  2. Students contrast data gathered by different groups in a lab section about the same phenomenon; use averages to get a better picture of the relationship between the two variables.

The Nature of Science

The results will display intrinsic variation and limitations.

  1. Students can design and conduct an experiment that features replication, where they identify potential outliers and possible reasons for unusual data points.
    • Students throw a paper airplane x number of times and record distance or flight time, noting the variation in results.
    • Students will explain the difference between precision and accuracy by making multiple measurements of density weighing water with pipette or other experimentally measured value.
    • Students measure the mass of popcorn before and after popping to determine average Accumulate data and compare to other results.

Continued scientific inquiry produces credible evidence that is used to develop scientific models and concepts.

  1. Students provide examples of changing scientific thought regarding fundamental scientific concepts, for example:
    • The progression of the understanding of evolution from Lamarckian evolution, to Darwinian evolution and our current understanding of epigenetics.
    • A discussion reviewing the video, “A Tale of Two Mice - The Agouti Sisters.”
    • Students compare and contrast the plum pudding model and modern theory of the atom.

Models and concepts that withstand the most wide-ranging and persistent critical analyses are assumed to most closely describe reality and the principles by which it operates.

  1. Students report on an example of models and/or concepts from science that have withstood critical analysis of time) and those that ultimately have not, for example:
    • Students compare and contrast the plum pudding model and modern theory of the atom.
    • Students compare and contrast the heliocentric and geocentric model of the solar system.
    • Students compare and contrast the phlogiston and oxidation explanation of fire and burning.
  2. Students can use mathematical and other types of models to predict the behavior of a scientific system.
    • Students mathematically solve problems illustrating commonly accepted theories to show that it matches that observed. For example, the calculation of gravity or Avogadro’s number, theoretical yields of a chemical reaction, confirmation of thermodynamic laws, illustration of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, etc.

Scientific Inquiry

Students demonstrate the application of specialized methods and tools of scientific inquiry by actively and directly collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, presenting findings, and using information to answer questions.

  1. Students describe the processes of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, including the description of their findings in a lab or field report, for example:
    • Students write a procedure and then follow it to collect data for measuring the speed of sound.
    • Explain the purpose of experimental controls.
  2. Students use their senses and appropriate instruments to observe and accurately measure and analyze phenomena using SI units, such as:
    • Students conduct single and double displacement chemical reactions, observe evidence of the reactions occurring, then correlate the physical reactions with the writing and balancing of the appropriate chemical equations.
    • Students use appropriate equipment to the record the mass and volume of substances using significant figures. Using this data, students will graph mass and volume to determine the density of the substance.
  3. Students collect data on known and unknown samples then graph the data to determine the value of an unknown, such as:
    • Students collect leaf pigment samples and use a spectral photometer to determine dominant feedback.
  4. Students calculate and quantify the difference between two groups or systems, for example:
    • Measure mass of kernels of popcorn before and after popping, calculate the percent of mass lost, and perform a statistical analysis on the loss.
  5. Students use accepted vocabulary, symbols, and conventions to describe natural occurrence.
  6. Students describe and represent significant changes in phenomena, such as:
    • Students use gel electrophoresis to determine changes in the hemoglobin gene in cases of sickle-cell anemia.
    • Students observe and classify whether changes are chemical or physical.
  7. Students design an investigation to test a hypothesis, identifying the appropriate means of data collection and analysis necessary to do so.
    • Students design different paper airplanes, hypothesize which fly fastest and farthest, and then test the designs using measuring tape and stopwatch.
  8. Students draw conclusions to accept or reject hypothesis, support their findings, and answer questions using a provided data set and clearly communicate findings.

Core Concepts

Students accurately describe the scope of scientific study using core theories, practices and discipline-related terminology in two independent fields covering both a physical science and a life science.

  1. Students apply the basic concepts, vocabulary, and models from a particular scientific discipline in order to solve a problem or carry out a task within that discipline, for example:
    • Students use a pedigree to track sex-linked characteristics through a family.
    • Students diagram the different stages of the life cycle of a fern plant and label them using specific terminology.
    • Students explain the periodicity of the elements according to their placement in the periodic table.
    • Students use a classification key to identify plant species.
    • Students correctly solve problems and answer questions at the end of textbook chapter.
    • Students develop a concept map for a set of vocabulary terms associated a text chapter.
    • Students watch a video on the North American Wood frog and use colligative properties to explain how the frog freezes itself.

Scientific Literacy

Students shall recognize the proper use of scientific data, principles and theories to assess the quality of stated conclusions; and
demonstrate an ability to gather, comprehend, apply and communicate credible information on scientific and technical topics.

  1. Students can distinguish between scientific and pseudoscientific argumentation:
    • Students can read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and engage in discussion about the validity of the conclusions. For example: Read an article about the relationship between vaccination and autism, and engage in a discussion on the validity of the article’s conclusions with their peers.
  2. Students can apply learned scientific content to address a particular problem or question of interest. Students identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and defend positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. For example:
    • Students view an online TED talk dealing with global warming and afterwards engage in an online of the validity of the arguments and evidence presented.
    • Students can evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it, for example.
    • Students select an advertisement for a product or service and evaluate the validity of the scientific claims used to promote it.
    • Students will pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and apply conclusions from such arguments. For example: Students investigate the reported health benefits of an item such as magnets or copper bracelets and report on the scientific basis for these claims.

Scientific Reasoning

Students demonstrate scientific reasoning processes to draw conclusions.

  1. Students demonstrate proficiency on an accepted scientific reasoning assessment, such as the Madison Assessment or Lawson Test.
  2. Students draw appropriate conclusions from laboratory or field activities or case studies, and communicate the results to others.
    • Students can explain why cans of diet soda and regular soda will display different buoyancy properties when placed in a tank of water.
    • Students use the results of a natural selection experiment, such as the rise of multi-drug resistant pathogens, to explain phenotypic variations of a population.
  3. Students identify the appropriate methodologies (qualitative and quantitative) to analyze and solve a scientific problem. Examples might include:
    • Students determine the originator of a simulated epidemic. Students carry out a simulation of the spread of infection using the standard classroom ’candy’ sharing exercise.
    • Students determine the appropriate cation-anion detection method to determine an unknown salt.
    • Students write a procedure and the follow it to collect data for measuring the speed of sound.
  4. Students can identify and quantify patterns and observations. Examples might include:
    • Students build and separate macromolecules to show that dehydration synthesis is a common chemical reaction used to form the major macromolecules in biological systems.
    • Students distinguish various groups of organism using shared and non-shared characteristic.

Ethics

Students demonstrate an understanding of the standards that define ethical scientific behavior, including:

  1. Honesty: The accurate use and reporting of scientific processes, data, and results, and the proper sharing of credit among colleagues;

  2. Safety: Ensuring the safety and well-being, both mental and physical, of practitioners, test subjects, local community, and environment;

  3. Social Responsibility: Recognition of the impact of our actions have on the natural and human world.

  1. Students distinguish ethical from non-ethical scientific behavior using examples (actual or hypothetical); explain the reasons for the decisions.
    • Students read several scenarios in which there are "gray areas" in the conducting of an experiment, interpreting or publishing of data. Students respond to these scenarios with a description of their course of action, and the reasons for their decisions.
  2. Students accurately report/represent their findings in a lab or field report, presentation, or paper, using proper citation of sources and collaborations.
    • Students describe the impact of falsified data on the validity of scientific conclusions and the reputation of science in general, using the Jan Hendrick Schön or cold fusion cases as an example.
    • Students will use the Watson-Crick DNA case study to discuss the importance of proper attribution of scientific credit.
  3. Students display an awareness of the importance of the safety and well-being of the scientific researchers, participants, and the environment during a scientific experiment. Examples might include:
    • Students are able to identify the location of basic safety equipment used in laboratory and field activities and demonstrate their proper use.
    • Students do a search and hunt exercise to learn the safety features presented in chemical safety data sheets.
    • Students carry out laboratory exercises in which they demonstrate the proper disposal of harmful materials.
  4. Students will report on the way scientific ethics have evolved over time For example:
    • Using case studies such as the Tuskegee Experiment and the case of the Henrietta Lack cell line, students engage in discussion about the growth and development of the IRB and IACUC guidelines.
    • Students calculate their carbon footprint using www.myfootprint.org.
    • Students participate in a classroom discussion that weighs the benefits and environmental costs of activities such as fracking, oil extraction in the Amazon.
    • Students evaluate discrepancies, such as wealth and health, among societies using www.gapminder.org.

Science and Society

Students understand the role science plays in historical and contemporary issues.

  1. Students identify the scientific context that helped frame a past social issue (e.g., fluoridation, eugenics, antisepsis and germ theory, Love Canal, detergent additives).
    • Students write a review of the movie “Inherit the Wind” based on their knowledge of the actual Scopes trial and discuss what that trial would be like if it took place today.
    • Students watch the documentary “The Polio Crusade” on the polio virus and write report on necessity to develop a polio vaccine.
  2. Students evaluate and explain the scientific evidence and reasoning underlying a contemporary scientific debate.
    • Students engage in a classroom discussion on climate change.
    • Students read recent news reports on outbreaks of measles and whooping cough, evaluate the safety and efficacy of vaccinations, and debate the pros and cons of mandatory vs. voluntary vaccinations
    • Students watch the movie “Gattaca” and discuss it in the context of “designer babies,” genetically modified children, and selecting for specific genetic traits in children
  3. Through course assignments, laboratory experiments, or discussions, students examine the impact of science and technological advances on work, recreation, communication, economic systems, social relationships, health, privacy, and environmental sustainability.

  • (CHAIR) Thomas Krabacher, Professor of Geography, California State University, Sacramento (CA)
  • Fenny Cox, Associate Professor of Biology, University of Hawai'i West Oahu (HI)
  • Michael Reese, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Science, Leeward Community College (HI)
  • Thomas Steen, Former Director Office of Essential Studies, University of North Dakota (ND)
  • Patricia Flatt, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Western Oregon University (OR)
  • Madhav Nepal, Assistant Professor, Biology and Microbiology, South Dakota State University (SD)
  • Adam Dastrup, Associate Professor and Coordinator, Geosciences Department, Salt Lake Community College (UT)
  • Larry Smith, Professor of Physics, Snow College (UT)
  • Meredith Roehrs, Instructor, Biology/Zoology, Laramie County Community College (WY)

Proficiency in evolving human cultures Increases student knowledge and appreciation of the human condition in different cultures in relation to each other and of cultural diversity and/or cultural evolution over time. Subject matter may include study of the similarities and differences among cultures including cultural values, traditions, beliefs, and customs, as well as the range of cultural achievements and human conditions through time.

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block:

This area includes disciplines such as history, anthropology, archeology, political science, geography, ethnic studies, gender studies , languages, and others.

Human Cultures

Features

Passport Learning Outcomes

Examples of Transfer-Level Proficiency Criteria

Each faculty member develops the ways his/her students can demonstrate transfer-level proficiency with the learning outcomes. Below are a few examples provided by participating faculty.

Core Knowldege

Define and apply knowledge of changing human cultures (including core vocabulary, terminology, information, concepts, theories and debates)

The student will explain concepts, theories, and debates with regard to culture using appropriate vocabulary, terminology, and identifying core concepts relevant to discipline with regard to culture.

 

  • Use appropriate vocabulary, terminology, etc. related to a course topic [in a formal presentation].
  • Explain an important concept, theory, and/or debate relevant to the discipline [in a 3 to 5-page paper].
  • Identify the core distinctions between primary and secondary sources [through a PowerPoint presentation].
  • Identify and account for the different perspectives expressed in two or more cultures or in two or more primary sources that describe the same event [through a poster presentation].
  • Identify and describe a series of cultural artifacts and explain their varied contexts (e.g. space/time) [through a series of multiple-choice questions].
  • Identify and describe differences in a cultural practice in two or more societies (e.g. gender roles, marriage, kinship, political leadership, subsistence practices) [through an in-class essay].
  • Describe the events leading up to a global conflict [in an 8-10 page paper].
  • Define the terms "checks and balances" and provide an example from the U.S. Constitution for each branch of government [through an in-class essay].
  • Explain what scholars mean when they say that race is a social and not a biological category [through active participation in an in-class debate].
  • Identify and reflect on language-learning strategies [in a two-page essay].

Modes of Inquiry

Identify and describe past and current forms of inquiry into changing human cultures across time and place.

The student will describe how existing knowledge or practice is advanced, tested, and revised in studies of human cultures; explain how and why forms of inquiry differ across time and place; demonstrate understanding of personal and/or cultural biases and their impact on modes of inquiry.

 

  • Describe the motivations that drove medieval alchemists and how alchemy was an important precursor to modern science [in a paper of 8-10 pages].
  • Analyze the changing nature of "historical revisionism" [through a well developed series of multiple-choice questions].
  • Compare and contrast two different explanations for President Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan [through a poster presentation].
  • If history is "just the facts" about the past, explain why historians disagree [in an in-class essay].
  • Describe the motivations that drove medieval alchemists and how alchemy was an important precursor to modern science [in a paper of 8-10 pages].
  • Compare and contrast ways cultures have been studied at different times[through an in-class essay].
  • Compare and contrast ways how place can change the way cultures are studied [through an in-class discussion].
  • Explore the modes of inquiry used by a well-known researcher of different cultures [through a formal presentation on his/her work].
  • Use primary and secondary sources [in a three to five-page analysis of a Beatles song].
  • Analyze the differences between "Eurocentric" and "global" approaches to research [through an oral presentation].
  • Compare the analyses that two different college-level history texts offer on the nature of the "market revolution" [through an oral presentation].
  • Evaluate the Puritan experience from the perspectives of theology and lived experience [through a five to seven-page paper].

Investigation

Research human cultures using relevant methodologies.

The student will engage with various investigative methodologies in order to describe and understand certain principles and phenomena of human culture or cultures.

 

  • Identify and distinguish between primary and secondary sources [through the construction of an annotated bibliography]
  • Describe an important person or event [through a PowerPoint presentation].
  • Describe or role-play a real or representative historical person (e.g. an 18th-century midwife) [through an oral presentation].
  • Analyze the impact of an important event in history [through a short five to eight-page paper].
  • Compare and contrast two or more accounts of an event for bias [through a paper or presentation].
  • Analyze a cultural artifact and explain its varied context [through a brief three to five-page paper].

Areas of Study

Examine identities, languages, beliefs, and behaviors of oneself and others as parts of a dynamic culture or cultures.

Describe, explain and evaluate the sources of one’s own perspective on selected issues in culture, society, the arts, and global relations and compare that perspective with other views.

 

  • Discuss the disadvantages of the American emphasis on individualism and individual rights from a Swedish point of view [through an in-class essay].
  • Examine specific examples of differences between home cultures and others [through a well developed series of multiple-choice questions].
  • Analyze linguistic differences between Shakespeare’s original text and a modern translation of Hamlet’s soliloquy [through a brief three to five-page paper]
  • Reflect on a role-play focusing on a particular cultural topic (e.g. use of formal/informal address, dinner party behavior, historical period/event/figures/actors/political advocates) [through a brief three to five-page paper].
  • Observe and reflect upon particular rituals, ceremonies, behaviors, or customs [through an oral presentation].
  • Reflect on aspects of the target culture that are similar to/different from your own [through a service-learning project].
  • Debate a topic as a cultural practice (e.g. footbinding, genital mutilation, child marriage, honor killings, spanking, handshaking, eye contact, personal space)[orally with a partner].

Attitudes Toward Cultural Difference

Demonstrate understanding, respect, sensitivity, and empathy when interacting with one’s own or others’ cultures (including but not limited to people, language, artifacts, ideas, values, and customs).

Through interpersonal and/or intellectual engagement, respond to, interact with, describe, and/or analyze human cultures with sensitivity, empathy, and respect.

 

  • Use appropriate forms of address (formal/informal) in a language other than your own [in an in-class interaction or extra-class project].
  • Attend two or more cultural events and compare and contrast them [through a three to five page paper].
  • Identify, describe, and analyze stereotypes in an assigned text [through a well developed series of multiple-choice questions].
  • Compare and contrast stereotypes that different cultural groups hold of each other [through a three to five-page paper].
  • Explain a concept from the point of view of another culture [in an oral presentation].
  • Prepare and ask questions, listen attentively, respond appropriately and respectfully, ask follow-up questions, and report thoughtfully [in a reflection essay on an interview of a subject from a culture or co-culture other than your own].
  • Carry out a cultural analysis of a Beatles song [through a three to five-page paper].

Factors Shaping Human Cultures

Examine and explain the external, structural, and social elements influencing human cultures: class, race and mixed race, ethnicity, age, language, gender, disability, sovereignty, sexual orientation, political ideologies, economic structure, natural environments, historical events, social movements, religion, and other forms of identity.

Identify and explain complexities, interconnectivity and diverse factors shaping human cultures.

 

  • Explain the cultural consequences of global processes such as colonialism, slave trade, world wars, civil rights, diaspora [through an eight to ten-page paper].
  • Debate questions of equity with regard to access to education, housing, food, transportation, etc. [through an in-class discussion].
  • Discuss the cultural foundations of one or more political systems [through an oral presentation].
  • Compare and contrast how two political ideologies address a common problem, for example, poverty, work, education, taxation [through a PowerPoint presentation].
  • Explain the relationships between culture and structures of power [through an eight to ten-page paper].

  • Dolores Davison, Professor and Chair, History and Women's Studies, Foothill College (California)
  • Stefan Frazier, Associate Professor, Linguistics and Language Development, San Jose State University (California)
  • Jayson Chun, Associate Professor, Asian Studies, University of Hawaii West Oahu
  • Paul Lococo, Professor of History, Leeward Community College (Hawaii)
  • Larry Peterson, Director of Accreditation, Assessment, and Academic Advising, North Dakota State University
  • TIsidore Lobinbe, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Western Oregon University
  • CHAIR - Laura Vidler, Professor, Languages and Linguistics: Spanish, University of South Dakota
  • Daniel J. McInerney, Professor and Associate Department Head, History, Utah State University
  • Melissa McAllister, Instructor, English as a Second Language, Laramie County Community College (Wyoming)

Interpretive and creative expression of the potential and limits of the human condition relies on critical analysis of specific texts or works to support its claims.

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block:

This area includes disciplines such as music, visual arts, design, theater, film, media, literature, architecture, and others. Studio and performance courses that develop technique or skills alone do not meet the standards established for this area.

Creative Expression

Features

Passport Learning Outcomes

Examples of Transfer-Level Proficiency Criteria

Each faculty member develops the ways his/her students can demonstrate transfer-level proficiency with the learning outcomes. Below are a few examples provided by participating faculty.

Basic Knowledge

Employ fundamental discipline-specific principles, terminology, skills, technology, and methods.

  • Demonstrate conceptual knowledge in creative expression using key terminology and principles in response to, for example, concerts, theatrical presentations, exhibitions, dance performances, film screenings, or literary readings.
  • Employ introductory knowledge of technical skills in a chosen creative area through the successful completion of practical assignments; for example, create a theater costuming sewing sampler.
  • Define discipline-specific vocabulary in the form of a written assignment or quiz.
  • Demonstrate discipline-specific abilities such as performing basic dance steps, constructing a musical scale, or drawing using perspective.
  • Demonstrate ability to utilize specific technologies; for example, shooting and editing a video using industry standard equipment and software.

History and Cultures

Identify, explain and/or demonstrate relationships among societal, cultural, and historical contexts.

  • Analyze the factors that have shaped the arts in different parts of the globe at different times; cultural factors may include religion, politics, economics, or others. Present findings in a written or oral presentation.
  • Choose a visual, musical or literary work from a specific historical period and write a paper that focuses on historical and cultural contexts and how they relate to contemporary concerns.
  • In a paper, presentation, or exam, identify how a given work, artist or movement influenced the creative work of others.

Ethics

Demonstrate knowledge of and empathy for the diversity of values, beliefs, ideas, and practices embodied in the human experience.

  • Engage in the art of a culture not your own and reflect on your experience, for example, write a paper or make a presentation.
  • Examine creative works from diverse points of view: political, social, racial, gender, sexual orientation. Share reflections and insights in a class discussion, paper or presentation.
  • In a paper or exam, compare and contrast the different values, beliefs, and tensions displayed in works of art.

Creative Process

Engage in a creative process through experimentation, reflection, tolerance for failure, and revision.

  • Participate, onstage or backstage, in a university/college theatrical play, vocal or instrumental ensemble, or dance concert.
  • Create discipline-specific work such as video productions, short stories, visual art and communication, musical compositions, monologues, and others, and incorporate peer/instructor feedback along the way.
  • Construct and revise a work of art, abiding by discipline-specific creative processes. Self-reflect and report on the process.

Aesthetics and Analysis

Use appropriate methods and tools to analyze, interpret and critique creative processes, works, and/or presentations.

  • Engage in peer-to-peer critique to identify strengths, improvements or enhancements in a creative work of art.
  • Write an analysis of a creative work that may include a play, an opera, a literary work, a musical composition, video game, film, or visual art.
  • Write a paper or make a presentation that examines the meaning of images, personal interpretation, and artistic expression in a work of art.

  • Paul Wickline, Theatre Department Chair/Academic Senate President, College of the Canyons (CA)
  • Susan Lum, Professor of English Literature, Leeward Community College (HI)
  • Wojciech Lorenc, Assistant Professor, University of Hawai'i West Oahu (HI)
  • J. Greg Brister, Assistant Professor Language and Literature, Valley City University (ND)
  • Charlette Moe, Assistant Professor of Music, North Dakota State University (ND)
  • (CHAIR) Michael Phillips, Associate Professor of Theatre, Western Oregon University (OR)
  • Diane Tarter, Professor of Art, Western Oregon University (OR)
  • Alan Montgomery, Professor of Art, Dakota State University (SD)
  • Miguel Chuaqui, Professor, University of Utah (UT)
  • Jessica Curran, Assistant Professor, Salt Lake Community College (UT)
  • Daniel Maw, Instructor, Art, Laramie County Community College (WY)

Human society and the individual explores human behavior in social settings through scientific inquiry within the context of value systems, institutions, economic structures, social groups and/or environments.

Relationship to Institution's Passport Block:

This area inclues disciplines such as sociology, geography, history, criminology, psychology, economics, and others.

Human Society and the Individual

Features

Passport Learning Outcomes

Examples of Transfer-Level Proficiency Criteria

Each faculty member develops the ways his/her students can demonstrate transfer-level proficiency with the learning outcomes. Below are a few examples provided by participating faculty.

Core Knowledge

Define vocabulary, concepts and terminology in the social sciences, and identify theories.

Explain the role of individuals and institutions within the context of society.

Students define vocabulary, concepts and terminology in the social sciences, and identify theories. Example assignments could include:

 

  • In a paper, students define society, culture, deviance and inequality.
  • Students define the historical concept of the “Columbian Exchange” in an in-class writing prompt and/or an exam.
  • Students define blue-collar and white-collar crime in a minute paper.
  • In a multiple-choice exam, students distinguish between major types of economic and political systems.
  • In an online discussion post, students differentiate between operant and classical conditioning.
  • Students define key economic measures, such as GDP, civilian unemployment rate, and CPI, on an exam..
Students define vocabulary, concepts and terminology in the social sciences, and identify theories. Example assignments could include:

 

  • Students write a paper describing the contributions of farmers and those who use their farm products to the benefit of society.
  • In an in-class writing prompt, students explain the impact of the Second Great Awakening on 19th century reform movements in the United States.
  • In a short-answer exam question, students describe human development using Piaget’s theory within the context of the educational system.
  • Using Think-Pair-Share, students explain the role of the police within the context of the U.S. justice system.
  • In pairs, students explain to each other the impact of gender, race, class and sexuality on the individual, family and society.
  • In a group project, students describe how 20th century industrialization in America affected cultural expression.
  • In a short-answer exam question, students explain how the market price adjusts when there is a shortage of a product and how individual consumers and producers respond to the price change.

Basics of Scientific Inquiry

Explain and apply theories to social phenomena and human activity.

Evaluate various types and forms of research, including their ethical considerations.

Students explain and apply theories to social phenomena and human activity. Example assignments could include:

 

  • Students debate the merits of essential theories of sociology, for example, structural functionalism, conflict theory, and symbolic interactionism with regard to a study of poverty.
  • Students write a paper in which they appropriately apply social science theory to a social issue within one of the following areas: crime, poverty, gender inequality, race and ethnic relationships, or problems within family, education, or the economy.
  • Students write a policy paper or present and defend a position on fracking and the roles of state and federal governments using a political science theory (such as eco-feminism or political ecology).
  • Students write a policy paper or present and defend a position on fracking and the roles of state and federal governments using a political science theory (such as eco-feminism or political ecology).
  • In a peer-reviewed debate, students provide three modern examples of Schumpeter’s “creative destruction” theory.
  • In a take-home essay exam, students compare and contrast Freud’s psychosexual theory and Erikson’s psychosocial theory for human development.
  • In a short-answer exam question, students apply the theory of comparative advantage to the division of labor in a household.
Students evaluate various types and forms of research, including their ethical considerations. Example assignments could include:

 

  • On a short-answer exam question, students evaluate cross-sectional and longitudinal research designs.
  • In an essay or class discussion, students analyze ethics of famous and/or historical research studies, for example, Zimbardo’s prison study and Milgram’s obedience study, highlighting the role of the social setting and the presence of an authority figure in shaping behavior.
  • Students read excerpts from the Nazi experiments and other research studies with questionable ethical or moral issues. Students share their thoughts on these studies by writing a brief essay. Then in groups, they compile contemporary social science studies that challenged or violated ethical norms and present them in class.
  • In a class discussion, students evaluate the merits and limitations of observational, correlational, survey, and experimental research designs.

Analytical Applications

Identify, frame and/or respond to a research question.

Compile, interpret, analyze and/or evaluate qualitative and/or quantitative data.

Students identify, frame and/or respond to a research question. Example assignments could include:

 

  • Students write a two-page geography identification on ecosystems, biologic landscapes and ecological damage to their hometown and region.
  • In a two-page paper, using a given data set, students formulate a research question, problem, or issue and provide the background information to support an argument on a social phenomenon or human activity relevant to the discipline.
  • Students write a research question to investigate gun control in America.
  • In response to a research question on the value of a college degree, students identify the primary costs and benefits of earning a degree and explain the importance of present value when comparing the costs and benefits.
Students compile, interpret, analyze and/or evaluate qualitative and/or quantitative data. Example assignments could include:

 

  • For a homework assignment, in response to a research question, students locate, retrieve, and compile information relevant to the discipline using appropriate technological tools.
  • Using a rubric, students peer review another student’s research product.
  • On a written homework assignment, using a given data set, students answer the question, “Is the return on the investment of time and money to earn a college degree higher or lower today than it was 50 years ago?”
  • Students conduct and present a poverty line threshold analysis by compiling information from reliable sources, calculating living expenses, and contrasting that to income earned, i.e., minimum wage or living wage.
  • In a two-three-page paper, citing evidence in historical documents, students summarize and evaluate the development of legal codes regarding the institution of slavery in colonial Virginia.
  • Students conduct a content analysis and write a report on gender roles and stereotypes in popular 3rd- or 4th-grade books.
  • Students conduct a content analysis of advertisements in magazines, newspapers, or any form of mass media, and present findings on racial and ethnic representation.
  • Students compile basic demographic data from two different regions and then discuss the similarities and differences in a short essay.

Information Use and Communications

Interpret and communicate various representations of qualitative and/or quantitative data.

Responsibly identify, categorize, evaluate, and cite multiple sources

Students interpret and communicate various representations of qualitative and/or quantitative data. Example assignments could include:

 

  • On an exam, students are given statistical results to interpret, for example, a correlation coefficient or test of statistical significance.
  • Using the FRED database at the St. Louis Fed (https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/categories), students find data on the daily exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Euro over the last 12 months. Input the data into a worksheet and explain how the changes affected producers and consumers in the U.S. and in Europe.
  • In a two to three page paper, students summarize, interpret and critique research findings from a professional publication.
  • Students create a graph, table or figure to represent a given set of data.
Students responsibly identify, categorize, evaluate, and cite multiple sources. Example assignments could include:

 

  • Students identify, navigate, assess and cite relevant government websites that offer social statistics such as the U.S. Census Bureau, and produce a PowerPoint presentation of their findings.
  • Students use a proper citation style such as APA, MLA, ASA, or Chicago in a literature review assignment.
  • Students create a citation page that lists all the articles identified in assigned article abstracts.
  • Students create an annotated bibliography using required citation style.

Social Responsibility

Recognize the complexities of diverse social identities.

Evaluate issues of social justice with regard to identities within diverse contexts.

Apply knowledge and experience critically so as to realize an informed sense of self, family, community, and the diverse social world in which we live.

Students recognize the complexities of diverse social identities. Example assignments could include:

 

  • As a class assignment, students create mind maps of themselves as individuals, family members, community members and members of a greater social world. They will then explain to other students how those different selves are interconnected.
  • Through multiple-choice, true/false, or short-answer questions, students identify or describe key elements of diverse social identities (e.g., social class, gender, race/ ethnicity, sexuality, age, ability/disability, religion).
  • In a poster session, students present results of a semester-long project exploring diverse identities.
Students evaluate issues of social justice with regard to identities within diverse contexts. Example assignments could include:

 

  • On a multiple-choice exam question, students distinguish between multiculturalism and melting pot as ideologies for diversity.
  • In a group presentation, students articulate the categories of discrimination, including but not limited to racism, sexism, heterosexism, and classism and evaluate their effects within the context of social justice.
  • After watching a film, students identify examples of institutional injustice represented by using a student response system, and then participate in a class discussion.
Students apply knowledge and experience critically so as to realize an informed sense of self, family, community, and the diverse social world in which we live. Example assignments could include:

 

  • Students participate in an online discussion board on the topic of privilege, for example, class, gender, race/ethnicity, ability/disability, age, and/or sexuality, and describe their own understanding and experiences.
  • In a service-learning project, students provide 10 hours of community service and reflect and journal on individual actions and their consequences on others and society at large.
  • Students complete a calculation worksheet of their own ecological impact and its relationship to the uneven political, economic, environmental, social, and medical effects of global climate change.

  • CHAIR - Jonathan Carrier, Psychology Instructor, Laramie County Community College (Wyoming)
  • Spencer Blake, Associate Dean; Associate Professor, Sociology, Salt Lake Community College (Utah)
  • Donna Fairbanks, Associate Professor, Chair, Department of Music, Utah Valley University
  • David Foster, Professor of Psychology, Western Oregon University
  • Orlando Garcia-Santiago, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Hawaii West Oahu
  • Beverly Grindstaff, Coordinator and Associate Professor Design History, San Jose State University (California)
  • John Leadley, Professor of Economics, Western Oregon University
  • Bruce Lindquist, Assistant Professor, Geography, Leeward Community College (Hawaii)
  • Anne Marenco, Professor of Sociology, Chair, Department of Sociology, College of the Canyons (California)
  • Richard Olson, Associate Professor, Psychology, Lake Region State College (North Dakota)
  • Karyn Plumm, Associate Professor, Psychology, University of North Dakota
  • Frank Van Nuys, Professor of History, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
  • Dick Dubanoski, Proficiency Criteria Specialist, California State University, Sacramento (Ret.)
  • Bob Turner, Passport State Coordinator
  • Cathy Walker, Passport Project Manager