Anthropology Ph.D. Assessment Plan

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Anthropology department's Doctorate program is to create independent, original thinkers who can design and carry out complex research in specific Anthropological subfields, communicate the results of that research clearly, and make significant advances in the scientific study of humanity. Underlying this mission is the goal of contributing to scholarly excellence within the University of Nevada, Reno.

The methods used to achieve this mission are:

  1. to transmit to students the knowledge, perspectives, and methods of the various branches and sub-fields of anthropology, in forums as diverse as lectures, seminars, discussion sections, and formal academic and career advisement settings;
  2. to acquire, synthesize, and disseminate knowledge by means of original research and scholarly activities; and
  3. to provide knowledge, guidance, and experience as a service to the university community, the public at large, and fellow members of the profession of anthropology.

Program Outcomes

1. Students should be prepared to find employment in a career that makes use of "anthro-thinking."

Student Performance Indicators

  • Job-seeking success in anthropological career

Assessment Method

  • We keep tabs on student success because students almost always must ask for letters of recommendation from faculty to get the jobs.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Students will be able to read and summarize scholarly articles in anthropology books or journals, to evaluate the soundness of arguments and conclusions, and to produce written and oral critiques of them.

Student Performance Indicators
  • A dissertation prospectus is rigorously examined by a focused faculty committee, after the doctoral comprehensive exams are passed and before the student begins original dissertation research.
  • Doctoral qualifying exams or core seminars require regular oral and written presentations.
Assessment Method
  • Faculty committee members quiz the student during the prospectus defense, testing knowledge of general and specific theory, methodology, and relevant literature.
  • All students are evaluated by entire faculty once a year, and deficiencies in individual seminars or on examinations are specifically addressed.

2. Students will be able to teach and explain the concepts that allow the intellectual integration of four sub-fields together into anthropology, and each sub-fields major contributions to the scientific and humanistic study of our own species.

Student Performance Indicators
  • All doctoral students must teach introductory Anthropology courses; student evaluations are read by the faculty, and faculty may visit classrooms to grade student performance
Assessment Method
  • Students receiving poor evaluations are either dismissed, re-trained, or closely monitored and guided through improvement

3. Students will be able to demonstrate mastery of an area of specialization in anthropology by completing a comprehensive exam consisting of essays and an oral defense.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Students successfully complete and defend comprehensive exam
Assessment Method
  • Student's Graduate Advisory Committee evaluates the comprehensive exam.

4. Students will be able to demonstrate original research skills and experience that result in professional scholarship and publications.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Publication of articles or reports and presentations at professional conferences.
  • The student will successfully complete and defend a dissertation that makes a significant contribution to anthropological scholarship.
Assessment Method
  • The student's faculty mentor and Graduate Advisory Committee will assess the publications and presentations.
  • The student's faculty mentor and Graduate Advisory Committee will assess the dissertation and its defense.