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Core Objective 5: History & Culture

The Silver Core Curriculum does not take effect until Fall 2016


  • Silver Vein II: Primary Areas of Focused Inquiry
  • Brief Description of Learning Objective: Students will be able to describe the processes by which past and present societies have been created and perpetuated through their history, ideas, and cultural products. Students will engage both historical and contemporary cultural texts through critical reading, analysis, and interpretation in the context of culture, society, and individual identity.

Standards or Requirements for Verification:

This objective is satisfied by 2 Core Humanities courses meeting the standards below. Where appropriate, majors are encouraged to develop this objective within their courses, and if possible to integrate this objective into the Core Capstone course.

Courses satisfying CO5 will be offered through the Core Humanities program (prefix CH). These courses will be interdisciplinary examinations of the history, cultures, and ideas that created the modern world. In addition, they will develop students' communication and critical thinking skills through extensive reading and analysis of primary source texts, oral discussion, and writing assignments.

Courses satisfying this Core Objective will meet the expectations for the Core Humanities requirement and should:

  1. Include the Core Objective, together with its brief description, on the course syllabus in its original form.
  2. Include 1 or more student learning outcomes addressing this Core Objective on the course syllabus, along with other student learning outcomes appropriate to the course.
  3. Identify in the course syllabus the teaching techniques and student experiences that will help students acquire the competencies described in the Core Objective.
  4. Assess whether students have acquired the competency described in the student learning outcomes and use methods for collecting and analyzing data that can be reported to the Core Curriculum Board.

Some examples of approved student learning outcomes and assessment methods are listed later in this document. Faculty may incorporate 1 or more of the examples from this list or propose their own student learning outcomes and methods of assessing the objective.


Suggested Student Learning Outcomes & Assessment Methods

History & Culture

Students will be able to describe the processes by which past and present societies have been created and perpetuated through their history, ideas, and cultural products. Students will engage both historical and contemporary cultural texts through critical reading, analysis, and interpretation in the context of culture, society, and individual identity.

Student Learning Outcomes

Courses satisfying CO5 might feature student learning outcomes like the ones listed below. Faculty may use outcomes from this list or propose their own outcomes addressing the objective. Learning outcomes must be observable and measurable so that they can be properly assessed.

Students will be able to:

  • read, interpret, and analyze primary source texts with attention to content, historical and cultural context, genre, and language
  • analyze authors' arguments by identifying perspectives, assumptions, strategies, and omissions
  • describe the historical forces that created modern, diverse human cultures and the ways societies and nations are interconnected
  • demonstrate familiarity with the various modes of thought, interpretation, and analysis in the humanities and their uses for understanding contemporary issues
  • articulate informed perspectives on the major political and ideological debates of our times and participate in those debates as American and global citizens.

Direct Assessment Methods

All courses that are satisfying as meeting a Core Objective will be assessed on a regular basis to determine how well students are learning the knowledge and skills described in the objective. Instructors are expected to develop ways of directly measuring student learning (through evaluating the work students produce in the course) and to report these measurements to the Core Board upon request.

The following are some examples of direct assessment methods that might be used in courses satisfying CO5. Examples of student work should be evaluated according to a clear, consistent rubric or set of criteria. Faculty may choose methods from this list or propose alternative assessment methods:

  • an essay or worksheet requiring students to identify key themes or arguments in a primary source text and place the work in historical context (faculty could either report the percent correct/acceptable responses or could report the evaluation of the student work by normed raters using disciplinary standards and a rubric keyed to this outcome)
  • a close analysis of a text in class, orally or in writing, analyzing an author's argument, evidence, logic, and other rhetorical strategies (faculty could score this performance with a rubric as recommended above and report the results)
  • percent correct/acceptable responses to quiz or exam questions that test students' knowledge of the major events, people, and ideas being studied
  • essays or assignments requiring students to compare and analyze the different approaches evident in written and cultural sources drawn from a variety of disciplines (e.g., literature, history, political philosophy, art), which would most likely be evaluated with a rubric of criteria keyed to this outcome on a scale representing disciplinary standards
  • discussion questions, in-class debates, or written assignments that require students to apply ideas and concepts learned in the course to contemporary issues, evaluated with the use of a rubric as described above.

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