University of West Georgia

Philosophy Program

Assessment AY2010-2011

Prepared Fall 2010

 

I.                   Basic Information

II.                Mission Statement

III.             Program Goals and Objectives

IV.              Student Learning Outcomes

V.                 Assessment Plan

VI.              Results of Assessment

VII.           Implications and Limitations of Assessment Results

VIII.        Future Plans

 

 

I.          Basic Information

 

Number of majors: 69

Traditional philosophy major (no concentration): 32

Pre-Law concentration: 27

Religion concentration: 10

Number of permanent faculty: 4

Number of temporary faculty: 2

Number of sections f2010: 19

Number of Core seats taught by permanent faculty, f2010: 184

Number of Core seats taught by temporary faculty, f2010: 312

Number of Core seats:

Area B1 (PHIL 2020): 207

Area C2 (PHIL 2010 and 2030): 243

Area E4 (PHIL 2130): 46

Number of degrees: 1 (B.A. in philosophy)

Number of concentrations: 2 (religion and pre-law)

Number of Student Research Presentations (2009-10): 11

Presentations at UWG: 8

Presentations at Regional Conferences: 2

Presentations at National Conferences: 1

Total Number of Students Presenting: 8

 

II.        Mission Statement

 

It is the purpose of the Philosophy Program to expose students to the distinctive ways in which different philosophical traditions have examined the basic issues of life. Our aim is not only to examine these diverse philosophies, but to teach students a unique method of inquiry that has at its basis the belief that deep-seated convictions, prejudices and beliefs should be thoroughly scrutinized. It is our goal to help students focus on the meaning of an idea, its basis, coherence, and relation to other ideas; to understand the role of premises and inference in ordinary discourse as well as in philosophical argumentation; to recognize and define different world views; and to comprehend the history of philosophy in particular. In the process, we strive to teach students general problem solving skills and critical thinking skills, help them develop communicative, analytical and persuasive skills, and sharpen their writing and synthesizing skills.  All of this is done to enhance the lives of our students and to prepare them for success in academic and workplace environments

 

 

III.       Program Goals and Objectives

 

Program Goal 1: Curriculum and Instruction

To provide a broad curriculum encompassing a variety of philosophical methods and traditions, as well as high quality instruction employing both traditional and emerging pedagogical techniques, such that students who complete the B.A. in philosophy possess a core body of philosophical knowledge and skills.

 

Objectives

·        To maintain class sizes that allow for quality faculty-student interactions.

·        To require extensive, written results of philosophical research in upper-division courses.

·        To require oral presentations of philosophical research in select courses.

·        To incorporate the use of new media in select courses.

·        To assess the curriculum on an annual basis with a view to improving it whenever and however possible.

 

Outcomes

Every student graduating with a B.A. in philosophy will be able to:

1.      discuss the general historical development of the discipline of philosophy; 

2.      discuss three major historical figures of philosophy;

3.      ask philosophical questions and differentiate their types;

4.      incorporate a philosophical position in oral and written communications;

5.      critically outline and analyze philosophical issues;

6.      exhibit critical thinking skills.

 

 

Program Goal 2: Progression, Graduation, and Professional Preparation

To ensure that students progress toward their degrees at a satisfactory pace and that they graduate within a reasonable period of time.

 

Objectives

·        To advise every philosophy major once per semester to ensure appropriate selection of courses.

·        To offer required courses with sufficient frequency to allow students to graduate within a reasonable period of time.

·        To provide a variety of opportunities for extra-curricular philosophical activity, including student-driven events and organizations.

·        To assist students in identifying the skills they have acquired in order to market themselves in academic and workplace environments.

 

Outcomes

·        The graduation rates of philosophy majors will be consistent with or exceed those of the institution.

·        By the time that he or she graduates from the institution, each philosophy major will complete a senior portfolio containing evidence of his or her professional preparation.

 

 

Program Goal 3: Student Research

To encourage student research and other creative endeavors that enhance an understanding of philosophical argumentation and prepare students for success in academic and workplace environments.

 

Objectives

·        To assist students with individual research projects.

·        To encourage students to participate in professional meetings and scholarly competitions.

 

Outcomes 

·        Some philosophy majors will participate in scholarly activities other than those required by their course work (Honor’s theses, presentations at student conferences, submissions to undergraduate philosophy journals, etc.).

 

 

Program Goal 4: Professional Development of Faculty

To promote professional development by supporting faculty research and other professional activities.

 

Objectives

·        To fund faculty participation in professional meetings.

·        To strengthen faculty members’ ability to obtain internal and external funding for other scholarly activities.

·        To facilitate reassigned time for research and paid research leave.

 

Outcomes

·        Faculty will make appropriate progress through ranks by meeting or exceeding requirements for the professional development necessary for promotion.

·        Faculty will demonstrate consistent productivity in annual reports.

 

 

IV.       Student Learning Outcomes

 

Every student graduating with a B.A. in philosophy will be able to:

1.      discuss the general historical development of the discipline of philosophy;

2.      discuss three major historical figures of philosophy;

3.      ask philosophical questions and differentiate their types;

4.      incorporate a philosophical position in oral and written communications;

5.      critically outline and analyze a philosophical question.

6.      exhibit critical thinking skills.

 

 

V.        Assessment Plan

 

Our plan for assessing whether our students meet the six Learning Outcomes listed in section IV includes the following assessment instruments.

 

A. Senior Portfolio

Each philosophy major’s academic advisor maintains for that student a Senior Portfolio. This file is kept by the student’s advisor until he or she graduates, at which point it is transferred to the Philosophy Program’s files. Each Senior Portfolio contains the following:

1.      The student’s Senior Seminar paper: an original essay that reflects research into primary sources and secondary philosophical texts and that represents active engagement with theoretical and critical issues in philosophy. Majors are required to write this paper in order to earn a passing grade in PHIL 4300 (Senior Seminar), the capstone course that each philosophy major is required to take in his or her senior year.

2.      A completed program sheet (a.k.a. advising sheet), maintained and updated regularly by the student’s academic advisor. The sheet should be completed, with a record of every class that the student has taken that will count toward his or her B.A. in philosophy, during the student’s last advising meeting with his or her advisor, usually during the semester before the student graduates. Appendix A contains copies of all three program sheets (philosophy, pre-law and religion) used during the current academic year.

3.      An intellectual autobiography in which the student discusses, e.g., a favorite philosopher, a first memory of scholarly interest, the impact of a mentor, or one or more topics of past, present, or future research interest. This autobiography is a required writing assignment in PHIL 4300.

4.      An up-to-date resume, another required writing assignment in PHIL 4300.

5.      The names of at least two references, which may be included on the student’s resume. (The portfolio may also include letters of recommendation for admittance into graduate school written by Philosophy Program faculty, but these are not required.)

6.      The Senior Outcomes Assessment Form, which is completed by the instructor teaching PHIL 4300 during an interview conducted with the student during the semester in which he or she is enrolled in PHL 4300. Participation in this interview is also required for students in PHIL 4300. (See below for more information about this document.)

 

The criterion of success for this aspect of our assessment is that 90% of students who complete each section of PHIL 4300 have a complete Senior Portfolio containing each of the six items listed above. At the beginning of each spring semester, the Director of the Philosophy Program examines the portfolios of all students who have completed PHIL 4300 the previous fall semester (PHIL 4300 is offered each fall).

 

 

B. Senior Outcomes Assessment

We require that each student enrolled in PHIL 4300 participate in an outcomes assessment interview conducted by the instructor and that the instructor complete a Senior Outcomes Assessment Form for each student based on those interviews. These forms are collated by the Director of the Philosophy Program. Our plan is to build a database from this information as we continue to collect it in the coming years. We believe that prudent use of these data will allow us to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our undergraduate curriculum with a view to improving it where needed.

 

This requirement was introduced in fall 2009. As of this writing we have collected Senior Outcome Assessment Forms for the majority of one set of graduating students (two students enrolled in the fall 2009 section of Senior Seminar were not interviewed). Collection of this data will continue in fall 2010. For a copy of the Senior Outcomes Assessment Form used in fall 2009, see Appendix B.

 

The criterion of success for this aspect of our assessment is the average score for each LO be 3.5 or higher.

 

 

C. Senior Seminar Anthologies

The instructor of each section of PHIL 4300 selects the best seminar papers written by the students in that class (typically, the papers that received final grades of “A” or “B”) to appear in an anthology that is published by the Philosophy Program during the semester after which the class is taught. This anthology contains the best work by our graduating students and reflects the analytical and communicative skills that they have acquired through their studies with us.

 

The criterion of success for this aspect of our assessment is that 90% of essays published in the anthology meet at least three of our program learning outcomes. This assessment is made by the professor teaching the relevant section of PHIL 4300 at the beginning of each spring semester.

 

 

D. Program Exit Survey

We request that students enrolled in PHIL 4300 complete a Program Exit Survey. This survey is both voluntary and anonymous, like the evaluations that students are asked to write of each of their classes at the end of each semester. For the form that was used to conduct this survey in fall 2009, see Appendix C.

 

 

E. Feedback Process

The Philosophy faculty meet early each fall semester to discuss the assessment data gathered during the previous academic year, including the exit survey, the alumni survey (when available), Senior Outcomes Assessments. We collectively will determine the basic findings and based upon those findings develop action items to be implemented during the academic year.  We then compare the degree of fit between our stated goals and the composite view of our students. We anticipate that these feedback sessions will sometimes result in changes to the Philosophy Program’s assessment plan, as well as to its curriculum, program goals and objectives, and student learning outcomes.

 

 

 

VI.       Results of Assessment

 

Results for AY2009-2010 are as follows.

 

A. Senior Portfolio

The following table summarizes the contents of the Senior Portfolios of the philosophy majors who completed PHIL 4300 in fall 2009 (checks indicate that the item is present in the portfolio, while “X”s indicate that the item is absent):

 

Fall 2009

Seminar
Paper


Program
Sheet

Intellect.
Autobio.

Names
of Refs

Resume

SOA

Student 1

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Student 2

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Student 3

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Student 4

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

X

Ö

Student 5

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Student 6

Ö

Ö

X

Ö

Ö

X

Student 7

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Student 8

Ö

Ö

X

Ö

X

X

Student 9

Ö

Ö*

Ö

Ö

X

Ö

Student 10

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

Ö

 

*This student’s portfolio contains a program sheet, just not one that was filled in completed.

 

Again, the criterion of success for this aspect of our assessment is that 90% of students who complete each section of PHIL 4300 have a complete portfolio. Since only 6 out of 10 (60%) of students have completed portfolios on file, we definitely have room to improve in AY2010-11. In the future we will be more careful to make sure that students’ files are complete by the time they graduate.

 

 

B. Senior Outcomes Assessments

The anonymized results are summarized in the table below (different numbers have been assigned to each student in this summary than in the summary of the contents of the Senior Portfolio; results for only eight students are shown since two students were not interviewed):

 

 

 

 

 

SOA
Scores:

LO-1

LO-2

LO-3

LO-4

LO-5

AVERAGES

Student 1

5

5

5

5

5

5

Student 2

5

5

5

5

5

5

Student 3

5

5

5

5

5

5

Student 4

4

4

4

5

4

4.2

Student 5

3

4

4

3

4

3.6

Student 6

5

5

5

5

5

5

Student 7

5

5

5

5

4.5

4.9

Student 8

5

5

5

5

5

5

AVERAGES

4.63

4.75

4.75

4.75

4.69

4.6714

 

Each student was assigned a score from 1 to 5 for each of our Student Learning Outcomes*:

 

1 = student fails at this task

2 = student is below average at this task

3 = student is average at this task

4 = student is above average at this task

5 = student excels at this task

 

Again, the criterion of success for this aspect of our assessment is that the average score for each LO is 3.5 or higher.” (We have revised this criterion of success since last year; see item 3 in the minutes from our fall 2010 assessment meetings, Appendix G.) The average score for each LO assessed in AY2009-10 is well above 3.5. Two of the 10 students who should have been interviewed this year did not show up for their interviews. So if we fall short for the year in this area of our assessment, it is not that our students lack the relevant abilities; it is that not all of them chose to make themselves available for assessment

 

* A question pertinent to LO 6 (students “will be able to … exhibit critical thinking skills”) had been accidentally omitted from the SOA form used in our fall 2009 interviews. We will correct this error before conducting interviews for 2010.

 

 

C. Senior Seminar Anthologies

On the Way with Heidegger: An Anthology (ed. Janet Donohoe), published in spring 2010, contains papers by eight of the ten students who completed PHIL 4300 in fall 2009. All eight of these papers demonstrate that their authors meet each of the following Student Learning Outcomes:

 

·        incorporate a philosophical position in oral and written communications.

·        critically outline and analyze a philosophical question.

·        exhibit critical thinking skills.

 

Again, the criterion of success for this aspect of our assessment is that 90% of essays published in the anthology meet at least three of our program learning outcomes. So for 2009-2010, we meet the criterion for success relevant to this aspect of our assessment.

 

 

D. Program Exit Survey

Unfortunately, only six of 10 eligible students completed and submitted this year’s Exit Survey (we are taking steps to increase the response rate on this survey; see “Feedback Process,” below). But happily, the surveys that were returned were very positive.

 

Quantitative Results. The Survey asks students to indicate the degree to which the faculty of the Philosophy Program have met each of the following Program Goals on a scale of 1-10, with 1 meaning “not at all” and 10 meaning “a great deal”:[1]

 

1.                   To provide a high quality curriculum that emphasizes disciplinary rigor and ensures the transmission of a unique method of inquiry.

2.                   To provide high quality instruction that promotes the development of effectiveness in communication, critical and independent thinking, problem solving, and the use of technology.

3.                   To promote student research, scholarship, and creative endeavors which enhance an understanding of philosophical argumentation and prepare our students for success in the academic and workplace environment.

4.                   To affirm the equal dignity of each person by valuing cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender diversity.

 

Results were as follows:

 

Exit Survey Scores

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Student 1

8

8

9

10

Student 2

10

8

10

10

Student 3

10

10

10

10

Student 4

10

8

9

9

Student 5

9

10

7

9

Student 6

8

9

7

9

AVERAGES

9.2

8.8

8.7

9.5

 

 

Qualitative Results

The majority of students who commented on our program’s strengths mentioned its faculty as its greatest strength, e.g., “The faculty is the greatest strength. These individuals care a great deal about their students and make them feel valued as academics”; “[the faculty display] personal devotion to students”; “[there is a] close, personal environment that enables real discussion between the students and the professors”; “The professors are very professional and always willing to aid their students in whatever way possible. They, likewise, have the ability to shape a student’s mind & press him/her to push the boundaries of thinking.” All three tenured or tenure-eligible members of our faculty were specifically mentioned by at least one student for his or her positive contributions to that student’s college experience.

 

Other comments indicated that some students share one of the perennial concerns of the faculty of the Philosophy Program: there are too few of us. Four of the respondents mentioned as a weakness of the program a lack of classes or faculty members, e.g., “[there was] a lack of classes offered my final semester. I wasn’t able to take any philosophy courses because I had already taken all of the classes being offered”; “[there is] a lack of classes offered my final semester. I wasn’t able to take any philosophy courses because I had already taken all of the classes being offered”; “The ratio of professors to majors is unsettling at best and disrespectful at worst—for the students and faculty.” For more on this issue, see “VII. Implications and Limitations of Assessment Results,” below.

 

Appendix D contains the full results of the survey given during fall 2009. The combined results of this survey for years 2004-2009 are in Appendix E.

 

 

E. Feedback Process

This year our assessment meetings were held on September 1 and September 8. For minutes of these meetings, see Appendix G. During these meetings we decided to implement the following changes to our assessment processes:

 

1.      Our assessment statistics will be based on each cohort of students who complete a given section of PHIL 4300 rather than on the group of students who graduate during a given academic year (this is less a change than a clarification of an aspect of our process about which we were previously unclear).

2.      The persons responsible for compiling the various parts of each student’s Senior Portfolio will be  (a) the senior seminar instructor (for the seminar paper, resume, intellectual autobiography, names of references) and (b) the student’s advisor (for the completed advising sheet).

3.      The person responsible for assessing each year’s Senior Seminar Anthology will be the instructor of that year’s section of Senior Seminar.

4.      Our criterion for success with regard to Senior Outcome Assessment interviews will be that the average score for each LO assessed in the interviews be 3.5 or higher.

5.      Beginning in AY2012-13, we will begin calculating a three-year average of SOA interview scores.

6.      In order to increase the number of respondents, we will administer the Exit Survey in the same manner as a traditional student evaluation beginning in fall 2010.

7.      We will revise the Exit Survey (a) to integrate some of the questions that previously appeared on the Advising Surveys conducted in 2005 and 2007 and (b) to reflect the changes we made last year to our Program Goals.

8.      We will conduct our mail survey of alumni every five years rather than biannually. We will conduct the next mail survey in 2013.

 

 

VII.     Implications and Limitations of Assessment Results

As mentioned in last year’s Assessment Documentation, it is impossible to compare our graduating students with UWG’s graduating population without a Senior Report Card instituted at the University level. Such a document might include comparisons of the GPAs of philosophy majors to students majoring in other disciplines, comparisons of standardized test scores with overall major GPAs (to help discover where we stand with regard to grade inflation in relation to other degree programs), and a poll of all undergraduates graduating from UWG in a given year (to determine how philosophy fares compared to other programs with respect to satisfaction in skills and advising). Without this data, we are severely restricted in our efforts to evaluate our program as compared to other programs on campus.

 

Despite these limitations, we are still able to draw from the assessment data that we have collected the following implications about the Philosophy Program’s strengths and weakness.

 

A.     The Need for More Permanent Faculty

Given the assessment data recorded and analyzed above, we believe that the severest threat that we face is the limited number of permanent philosophy faculty and our ever increasing student-to-faculty ratio. At the end of AY2004-2005, we lost two tenured or tenure-track faculty members and were allowed to replace only one. We believe that the reinstatement of this line is vital to the continued growth of our program and to our ability to serve the University effectively. As described above, our Exit Surveys indicate that our majors recognize that the program needs more faculty members in order to provide more diverse course offerings. We have not offered a number of our upper-division courses, including Asian Philosophy and Feminist Philosophy, for several years, not because of lack of student interest, but because we simply do not have the faculty to teach them. We agree with our majors that we should be able to offer more upper-level courses, but that is only one reason among many why we need to grow the philosophy faculty. Some other reasons are as follows.

·        Program Growth.  The Philosophy Program continues to show consistent growth. We began the 2010-2011 academic year with approximately 56 majors; as of this writing we have 69 majors. This represents growth of more than 100% over the last five years and of 500% over the last ten years. We also graduated a record number of majors in 2009-10: 14, an increase of 55% over the previous year.

·        Increasing Credit Hour and BOR FTE Production.  In 2009-10, our overall credit hours increased to 4614, an increase of 63% since 2005-06. Undergraduate credit hours within the major increased to 498 in 2009-10, an increase of 47% since 2005-06. BOR FTEs increased to 153.8 in 2009-10, an increase of 56% since 2005-06. Without an additional line, our ability to assist the University in meeting the USG’s second Strategic Goal, viz. creating “enrollment capacity to meet the needs of 100,000 additional students by 2020,” will be minimized.

·        Service to the Core. Our Core classes continue to fill or nearly fill. One of the faculty members who left in 2004-05 was teaching a 4-4 load, and we replaced him with a tenure-track faculty member with reassigned time for research. In effect, by replacing only one faculty member, we lost 8 sections per year, at least 4 of which would have been Core sections. The effects of this loss have been somewhat reduced by a Core instructor line that the VPAA has funded since 2008-09, as well as by a VPAA-funded part-time instructor. But since these lines are not part of the Philosophy Program’s budget, we cannot assume that they will continue. This is especially worrisome given the recent USG-mandated changes to the Core curriculum that UWG will soon be implementing. First, Area C has changed from “Humanities and Fine Arts” to “Humanities, Fine Arts, and Ethics.” We anticipate that this will increase demand for PHIL 2030 (Introduction to Ethics), since it is the only Ethics class in the UWG Core. Without an additional faculty member, we can guarantee only that up to three sections of this course will be offered each year. Second, there is a new Overlay Requirement for “Global Perspectives.” PHIL 2010 (Introduction to Philosophy) and PHIL 2130 (Introduction to World Religions) have recently been approved by the Senate as classes that meet this requirement. Without an additional faculty member, we can guarantee only that three sections of PHIL 2010 and one section of PHIL 2130 will be offered each year. With an additional faculty member, we would be able to offer more sections of both of these courses and thus help to meet the USG’s Strategic Goal One, which requires that we “[i]ntegrate international education throughout the curriculum at all levels and across disciplines.”[2] Finally, there is a new “Critical Thinking” Core requirement that all students must complete. Although the details of this requirement have yet to be finalized, we anticipate that it will increase demand for PHIL 2020 (Critical Thinking).Without an additional faculty member, we can guarantee only that four sections of this course will be offered each year.

·        High Student-to-Faculty Ratio. As of this writing, our ratio of philosophy majors to tenured and tenure-eligible faculty is 17.25 to 1 (69 majors to 4 TE faculty members), the highest of any among our comparator and aspirational institutions with philosophy degree programs and for which we have recent data. This has obvious negative implications for our ability to provide quality advising to our majors and thus for our ability to fulfill USG Strategic Goal 1, which requires that we “improve the quality of information to students and student-advisor interactions.”[3] It also has negative implications for our ability to assist students who wish to pursue individual research. The following tables summarize data from our comparator and aspirational institutions:[4]

 

Comparator

Institutions

#  T/TE faculty

# majors

ratio of majors to faculty

Bridgewater State

7

30

4.3 : 1

Central Washington U

7

60

8.6 : 1

East Stroudsburg U PA

5

13

2.6 : 1

Edinboro U of PA

4

14

3.5 : 1

Kutztown U of PA

7

30

4.28 : 1

Minnesota State Mankato

6

15

2.5 : 1

University of Central MO

3.5

10

2.6 : 1

Southeast Missouri State

3

37

12.3 : 1

U Central Oklahoma

4

30

7.5 : 1

 

 

Aspirational

Institutions

#  T/TE faculty

# majors

ratio of majors to faculty

Appalachian State U

7

24

3.4 : 1

James Madison U

13

71

5.5 : 1

Montclair State

6

35

5.8 : 1

U of Northern Iowa

4

28

7 : 1

UNC Wilmington

8

35

4.3 : 1

West Chester U-PA

6

59

9.8 : 1

 

The average ratio of philosophy majors to tenured or tenure-track faculty at these institutions is 5.6 to 1. Thus, our ratio is more than three times the average.

 

Even assuming that our number of majors would not grow larger than 69 were a fifth line added, that addition would reduce our ratio only to 13.8 to 1. This would still be the highest ratio among our comparator and aspirational institutions.

 

 

B. Religion Track

As we described in last year’s Assessment Documentation, the number of students enrolled in our Religion track is not as high as one might think it would be given the popularity of the upper-level religion courses (Christian Thought, Religious Texts, and Philosophy of Religion) that we offer. However, the number has grown over the last year. In November 2009, only 10% (6 out of 60) philosophy majors were enrolled in the Religion track. As of this writing (November 2010), the percentage is 14.5% (10 out of 69). Because of part-time Core instructor line funded by the VPAA, we are able to offer two sections of PHIL 2130 (Introduction to World Religions) this year, twice as many as we are usually able to offer. We anticipate that this will serve as an avenue for even more new majors into our Religion track. It may also help that PHIL 2130 is now a Core Area E class, and this may attract a broader range of students. We fear, though, that we may lose that Core instructor money in AY2011-12 and thus have to return to offering PHIL 2130 only once each year.

 

C. Retention and Graduation Rates

Our retention rate for AY2009-10 was 82%, 2% higher than for AY2008-2009. (See Appendix F.) As noted above, our graduation rates have significantly improved in the last five years. Still they are not as high as we think they should be. At the moment there are 69 philosophy majors, but we anticipate graduating only between 10 and 13 during AY2010-11. We have not been able to identify a primary reason for this. Each student who fails to graduate on time, or to graduate at all, seems to have a different story. Some leave school in order to earn more money at their jobs but with the intention of returning—some do return (sometimes years later), but some don’t; others progress through their classes on schedule but end up with GPAs too low to graduate without retaking earlier classes; still others simply fail to register for the correct classes, not because they were inadequately advised, but because they did not register for the classes that their advisors told them to take. In the Advising Surveys we administered in 2005 and 2007, we asked those students who were taking more than four years to graduate why they were taking that long, but we have not gathered student data about this recently. This question from the Advising Survey will be included in the revised Exit Survey that we administer to all majors starting in fall 2010.

 

D. Student Research

One of the Essential Activities enumerated in UWG’s Mission Statement is “[f]aculty-directed student research and professional activities that complement classroom learning through learning by doing and reflection on doing.”[5] In AY2009-10, the Philosophy Program continued to reflect our institution’s emphasis on student research:

 

 

04-05

05-06

06-07

07-08

08-09

09-10

Total Student Research Presentations

 

8

5

7

10

11

11

Presentations at UWG

 

2

1

1

8

5

8

Presentations at Regional Conferences

 

6

4

6

2

5

2

Presentations at National Conferences

 

0

0

0

0

1

1

Total Number of Students Presenting

 

4

4

4

5

4

8

 

A record number of individual philosophy majors—eight—presented their faculty-directed research either on campus or at regional or national conferences. Two majors, Anna Potter and Eduardo Mendez, placed second and third, respectively, at the UWG Research Day—Humanities Division. Two others, Philip Brewer and Donny Smith, had their research published in the Selected Proceedings of the 7th Annual North Georgia Student Philosophy Conference.

 

 

E. The APA’s Position on Outcomes Assessment

While we continue to work toward appropriate outcomes assessment, it is important to note that

the American Philosophical Association has expressed concern about the use of outcomes assessment (OA):

 

The APA is concerned that requirements placed upon departments of philosophy and upon individual instructors to implement OA in its more radically conceived recent guises ... may be neither well warranted nor pedagogically wise. We observe that little work would appear to have been done to assess the value of OA itself in improving teaching and learning. It is moreover pointless to prepare extensive assessment programs in the absence of evidence that the means of assessment already in place can be improved upon with tangible educational benefits great enough to justify the costs and other disadvantages. OA does not take place in a vacuum, and may require the redirection of already limited funds and faculty time and effort. And there also is a very real danger that OA imperatives will create pressures to tailor the teaching of philosophy to things that admit of "before and after" measurement, to its serious detriment.[6]

 

Philosophy aims to cultivate analytical and critical skills with respect to difficult and fundamental topics of human concern, such as truth, knowledge, explanation, mind, meaning, reality, God, duty, virtue, law and punishment. These skills are not easily subjected to meaningful outcomes assessment. The data presented in the present report should be interpreted cautiously, and prescriptions drawn from it should take account of the special nature of our discipline.

 

 

 

VIII.    Future Plans

 

The Philosophy Program’s teaching mission continues to be threatened by a shortage of faculty. As of August 2010, we have hired Dr. Walter Riker as a replacement for a recently departed tenured factory member, bring the number of tenured or tenure-eligible philosophy faculty back up to four… still one fewer faculty member than we had five years ago, when we were not permitted to replace a colleague who retired. At the beginning of AY2010-11, we once again requested that the line we lost in 2005 be reinstated, but that request was denied. We will continue making a case to our Dean and to the VPAA that it is essential to our Program and our ability to continue to serve our students and the University that that fifth line be reinstated.

 

We began the fall 2010 semester with 59 majors, the largest group of majors with which we have ever begun an academic year, and as of this date we have 69 majors. We are on track to graduate between 10 and 13 students in AY2010-11, so this should be the second year in a row that we have graduated 10 or more students. We will continue our efforts to recruit more majors into our degree program and to graduate a greater percentage of them.

 

 

 


Appendix A

Program Sheets

 

A completed program sheet for each philosophy major is included in the senior portfolio maintained by his or her advisor. This appendix includes the advising sheets for our philosophy major and our pre-law and religion concentrations.

 

 

 


 

University of West Georgia

B.A. in Philosophy

2010-2011

 

___________________________________________       U.S. / GA Constitution ___     U.S. / GA History ___

(Last)                    (First)                      (Middle)                    Regents’ Test _____                Transfer?   yes  /  no

 

CORE CURRICULUM

HRS

GR

TERM

TRNS/

SUB

MAJOR AND PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION

HRS

GR

TERM

TRNS/

SUB

A.  Essential Skills

9

 

 

 

F.  Program Related Courses

18

 

 

 

1.  ENGL 1101

3

 

 

 

1.  PHIL 2010 (Intro. to Philosophy)

3

 

 

 

2.  ENGL 1102

3

 

 

 

2.  PHIL 2020 (Critical Thinking)

3

 

 

 

3.  MATH 1001, 1111, 1113, or 1634

3

 

 

 

3.  PHIL 2030 (Intro. to Ethics)

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Humanities Elective:

3

 

 

 

B.  Institutional Priorities

5

 

 

 

5.  FORL through 2002

3-6

 

 

 

1.  Elective: 

3 or 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Elective: 

1 or 2

 

 

 

Upper Division Courses in Philosophy

33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. PHIL 3100 (Ancient / Medieval Phil.)

3

 

 

 

C.  Humanities/Arts

6

 

 

 

2. PHIL 3110 (Modern Philosophy)

3

 

 

 

1.  Elective: 

3

 

 

 

3. PHIL 3120 (American Philosophy) or

    PHIL 4150 (Analytic Philosophy)

3

 

 

 

2.  Elective:

3

 

 

 

4. PHIL 4100 (Phenomenology) or

    PHIL 4140 (Existentialism)

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. PHIL 4300 (Senior Seminar)

3

 

 

 

D.  Science, Math, Technology

10

 

 

 

An additional six (6) courses, with a minimum of one (1) course from each of the areas A, B, C and D

 

 

 

 

1.  Lab Science

4

 

 

 

A. · American Phil   · Symbolic Logic   

     · Analytic Phil  · Hist/ Phil. of Science

3

 

 

 

2.  Elective:  Non-Lab

3

 

 

 

B. · Existentialism   · Phenomenology   

     · Friendship & Love  · Hermeneutics

     · Phil in Literature  & Film

3

 

 

 

3.  Elective:  Non-Lab

3

 

 

 

C. · Professional Ethics   · Political Phil.

     · Philosophy of Law    · Feminist Phil.

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

D. · Religious Texts   · Christian Thought

     · Phil. of Religion   · Asian Phil.

3

 

 

 

E.  Social Sciences

12

 

 

 

PHIL

3

 

 

 

1.  HIST 1111 or 1112

3

 

 

 

PHIL

3

 

 

 

2.  HIST  2111 or 2112

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  POLS 1101

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Elective:*

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSW Courses:

 

 

 

 

 

1._________________________________________ (PHIL 3/4xxx)

Total Core

60

 

 

 

2.__________________________________________ (ANY 3/4xxx)

Total Major

33

 

 

 

Hours Transferred: ____________

Total Minor and/Electives (see reverse)

27

 

 

 

Date Evaluated :___________________________________________

TOTAL PROGRAM

120

 

 

 

 

 

*PHIL 2130 (Introduction to World Religions) may fulfill the Core Area E4 requirement.


 

Minor and/or General Electives: 27 hours.       A minimum of 6 hours must be in 3XXX courses or above.

COURSE NUMBER / NAME

GR

TERM

TRNS/SUB

3/4XXX HRS

HRS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

6*

27

 

*The total number of 3/4XXX hours may exceed 6, but may not be fewer than 6.

 

Notes:

q       For graduation, 120 hours of academic work are required.

q       No student may graduate with fewer than 33 upper-division hours in the major as outlined above.

q       No student may graduate with fewer than 39 hours in courses numbered 3000 or higher.

q       No more than two (2) variable-credit or independent-study courses may be counted toward the major in philosophy.

q       Philosophy majors are not required to declare a minor.

q       FORL through 2002 (any language) is required for all B.A. degrees in Arts and Sciences.

q       Students who have earned 60 hours or more without completing both Core Area A1 and Core Area A2 must enroll in the next course(s) necessary to complete those Areas in every semester in which they are enrolled until they have completed those Areas.

q       Students are required to take at least two 3000/4000 level DSW (Discipline Specific Writing) courses, marked in the course bulletin with a “W”, for a total of 6 hours.  At least 3 hours must be in the major.  ENGL 1101 and 1102 (or the equivalent) are prerequisites to all “W” courses.

q       There is no requirement for physical education in the College of Arts and Sciences. Physical Education classes do not count as electives for students within the College of Arts and Sciences, including philosophy majors.

 

Philosophy Program / Dept. of English and Philosophy / University of West Georgia                                                                                                 6/30/10


University of West Georgia

B.A. in Philosophy: Pre-Law Track

2010-2011

 

___________________________________________       U.S. / GA Constitution ___     U.S. / GA History ___

(Last)                    (First)                      (Middle)                    Regents’ Test _____                Transfer?   yes  /  no

 

CORE CURRICULUM

HRS

GR

TERM

TRNS/

SUB

MAJOR AND PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION

HRS

GR

TERM

TRNS/

SUB

A.  Essential Skills

9

 

 

 

F.  Program Related Courses

18

 

 

 

1.  ENGL 1101

3

 

 

 

1.  PHIL 2010 (Intro. to Philosophy)

3

 

 

 

2.  ENGL 1102

3

 

 

 

2.  PHIL 2020 (Critical Thinking)

3

 

 

 

3.  MATH 1001, 1111, 1113, or 1634

3

 

 

 

3.  PHIL 2030 (Intro. to Ethics)

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Humanities Elective:

3

 

 

 

B.  Institutional Priorities

5

 

 

 

5.  FORL through 2002

3-6

 

 

 

1.  Elective: 

3 or 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Elective: 

1 or 2

 

 

 

Upper Division Courses in Philosophy

33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. PHIL 3100 (Ancient / Medieval Phil.)

3

 

 

 

C.  Humanities/Arts

6

 

 

 

2. PHIL 3110 (Modern Philosophy)

3

 

 

 

1.  Elective: 

3

 

 

 

3. PHIL 4110 (Philosophy of Law)

3

 

 

 

2.  Elective:

3

 

 

 

4. PHIL 4115 (Political Philosophy)* *

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. PHIL 4120 (Professional Ethics)

3

 

 

 

D.  Science, Math, Technology

10

 

 

 

6. PHIL 4300 (Senior Seminar)

3

 

 

 

1.  Lab Science

4

 

 

 

An additional five (5) courses, with a minimum of one (1) course from each of the areas A, B, and C

 

 

 

 

2.  Elective:  Non-Lab

3

 

 

 

A. · American Phil.  · Symbolic Logic***  

     · Analytic Phil.  · Hist/ Phil. of Science

3

 

 

 

3.  Elective:  Non-Lab

3

 

 

 

B. · Existentialism   · Phenomenology   

     · Friendship & Love  · Hermeneutics

     · Phil in Literature  & Film

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C. · Religious Texts   · Christian Thought

     · Phil. of Religion   · Asian Phil.

3

 

 

 

E.  Social Sciences

12

 

 

 

PHIL

3

 

 

 

1.  HIST 1111 or 1112

3

 

 

 

PHIL

3

 

 

 

2.  HIST  2111 or 2112

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  POLS 1101

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Elective:*

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSW Courses:

 

 

 

 

 

1._________________________________________ (PHIL 3/4xxx)

Total Core

60

 

 

 

2.__________________________________________ (ANY 3/4xxx)

Total Major

33

 

 

 

Hours Transferred: ____________

Total Minor and/Electives (see reverse)

27

 

 

 

Date Evaluated :___________________________________________

TOTAL PROGRAM

120

 

 

 

 

*PHIL 2130 (Introduction to World Religions) may fulfill the Core Area E4 requirement.

** POLS 4601 (Ancient and Medieval Political Thought) or POLS 4602 (Modern Political Thought) may be substituted for PHIL 4115 (Political Philosophy).

***Because Symbolic Logic enhances one's abilities in skills necessary for the LSAT, students in the Pre-Law track are strongly encouraged to take this course.


 

Minor and/or General Electives: 27 hours.       A minimum of 6 hours must be in 3XXX courses or above.

COURSE NUMBER / NAME

GR

TERM

TRNS/SUB

3/4XXX HRS

HRS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

6*

27

 

*The total number of 3/4XXX hours may exceed 6, but may not be fewer than 6.

 

Notes:

q       For graduation, 120 hours of academic work are required.

q       No student may graduate with fewer than 33 upper-division hours in the major as outlined above.

q       No student may graduate with fewer than 39 hours in courses numbered 3000 or higher.

q       No more than two (2) variable-credit or independent-study courses may be counted toward the major in philosophy.

q       Philosophy majors are not required to declare a minor.

q       FORL through 2002 (any language) is required for all B.A. degrees in Arts and Sciences.

q       Students who have earned 60 hours or more without completing both Core Area A1 and Core Area A2 must enroll in the next course(s) necessary to complete those Areas in every semester in which they are enrolled until they have completed those Areas.

q       Students are required to take at least two 3000/4000 level DSW (Discipline Specific Writing) courses, marked in the course bulletin with a “W”, for a total of 6 hours.  At least 3 hours must be in the major.  ENGL 1101 and 1102 (or the equivalent) are prerequisites to all “W” courses.

q       There is no requirement for physical education in the College of Arts and Sciences. Physical Education classes do not count as electives for students within the College of Arts and Sciences, including philosophy majors.

 

Philosophy Program / Dept. of English and Philosophy / University of West Georgia                                                                                             6/30/2010


University of West Georgia

B.A. in Philosophy: Religion Track

2010-2011

 

___________________________________________       U.S. / GA Constitution ___     U.S. / GA History ___

(Last)                    (First)                      (Middle)                    Transfer?   yes  /  no

 

CORE CURRICULUM

HRS

GR

TERM

TRNS/

SUB

MAJOR AND PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION

HRS

GR

TERM

TRNS/

SUB

A.  Essential Skills

9

 

 

 

F.  Program Related Courses

18

 

 

 

1.  ENGL 1101

3

 

 

 

1.  PHIL 2010 (Intro. to Philosophy)

3

 

 

 

2.  ENGL 1102

3

 

 

 

2.  PHIL 2020 (Critical Thinking)

3

 

 

 

3.  MATH 1001, 1111, 1113, or 1634

3

 

 

 

3.  PHIL 2030 (Intro. to Ethics)

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  PHIL 2130 (Intro. to World Religions)

3

 

 

 

B.  Institutional Priorities

5

 

 

 

5.  Foreign Language through 2002

3-6

 

 

 

1.  Elective: 

3 or 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Elective: 

1 or 2

 

 

 

Upper Division Courses in Philosophy

33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. PHIL 3100 (Ancient / Medieval Phil.)

3

 

 

 

C.  Humanities/Arts

6

 

 

 

2. PHIL 3110 (Modern Philosophy)

3

 

 

 

1.  Elective: 

3

 

 

 

3. PHIL 3205 (Religious Texts)

3

 

 

 

2.  Elective:

3

 

 

 

4. PHIL 3220 (Christian Thought)*

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. PHIL 4230 (Phil. of Religion)

3

 

 

 

D.  Science, Math, Technology

10

 

 

 

6. PHIL 4300 (Senior Seminar)

3

 

 

 

1.  Lab Science

4

 

 

 

An additional five (5) courses, with a minimum of one (1) course from each of the areas A, B, and C

 

 

 

 

2.  Elective:  Non-Lab

3

 

 

 

A. · American Phil.   · Symbolic Logic   

     · Analytic Phil.  · Hist/Phil. of Science

3

 

 

 

3.  Elective:  Non-Lab

3

 

 

 

B. · Existentialism   · Phenomenology   

     · Friendship & Love  · Hermeneutics

     · Phil in Literature  & Film

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C. · Professional Ethics   · Political Phil.

     · Philosophy of Law    · Feminist Phil.

3

 

 

 

E.  Social Sciences

12

 

 

 

PHIL

3

 

 

 

1.  HIST 1111 or 1112

3

 

 

 

PHIL

3

 

 

 

2.  HIST  2111 or 2112

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  POLS 1101

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.  Elective:

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSW Courses:

 

 

 

 

 

1._________________________________________ (PHIL 3/4xxx)

Total Core

60

 

 

 

2.__________________________________________ (ANY 3/4xxx)

Total Major

33

 

 

 

Hours Transferred: ____________

Total Minor and/Electives (see reverse)

27

 

 

 

Date Evaluated :___________________________________________

TOTAL PROGRAM

120

 

 

 

 

 

*PHIL 3170 (Asian Philosophy) may be substituted for PHIL 3220

Minor and/or General Electives: 27 hours.       A minimum of 6 hours must be in 3XXX courses or above.

COURSE NUMBER / NAME

GR

TERM

TRNS/SUB

3/4XXX HRS

HRS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

6*

27

 

*The total number of 3/4XXX hours may exceed 6, but may not be fewer than 6.

 

Notes:

q       For graduation, 120 hours of academic work are required.

q       No student may graduate with an overall GPA lower than 2.0.

q       No student may graduate with a major GPA lower than 2.0 (i.e., students must have a GPA of 2.0 or higher in all 3/4000 PHIL courses that count toward the major).

q       No student may graduate with fewer than 33 upper-division hours in the major as outlined above.

q       No student may graduate with fewer than 39 hours in courses numbered 3000 or higher.

q       No more than two (2) variable-credit or independent-study courses may be counted toward the major in philosophy.

q       Philosophy majors are not required to declare a minor.

q       FORL through 2002 (any language) is required for all B.A. degrees in Arts and Sciences.

q       Students who have earned 60 hours or more without completing both Core Area A1 and Core Area A2 must enroll in the next course(s) necessary to complete those Areas in every semester in which they are enrolled until they have completed those Areas.

q       Students are required to take at least two 3000/4000 level DSW (Discipline Specific Writing) courses, marked in the course bulletin with a “W”, for a total of 6 hours.  At least 3 hours must be in the major.  ENGL 1101 and 1102 (or the equivalent) are prerequisites to all “W” courses.

q       There is no requirement for physical education in the College of Arts and Sciences. Physical Education classes do not count as electives for students within the College of Arts and Sciences, including philosophy majors.

 

Philosophy Program / Dept. of English and Philosophy / University of West Georgia                                                                                           12/15/2010


Appendix B

 

Senior Outcomes Assessment

 

Student Name: ___________________________________________

Date of Assessment:___________________

Assessor:________________________________________________

 

Rate the student’s ability to do the following on a scale of 1 to 5.

1=student fails at this task

2=student is below average at this task

3=student is average at this task

4=student is above average at this task

5=student excels at this task

 

1.        Student can discuss the general historical development of the discipline of philosophy.

Rating: ____  Comments:

 

 

 

 

 

2.             Student can discuss three major historical figures of philosophy.

Rating: ___  Comments:

 

 

 

 

 

3.             Student can ask philosophical questions and differentiate their types.

Rating: ___  Comments:

 

 

 

 

 

4.             Student can incorporate a philosophical position in oral and written communications.

Rating: ___  Comments:

 

 

 

 

 

5.             Student can critically outline and analyze a philosophical question.

Rating: ___  Comments:

 

 

 

 

 

 


Appendix C

Philosophy Program Exit Survey

We, the Philosophy Program faculty, take seriously the opinions of our students. We are therefore soliciting the opinions of our graduating seniors in an effort to improve and build upon the strengths of our Program, as well as to address potential weaknesses and areas for growth.

Completing this questionnaire is purely voluntary, and you may choose not to answer any specific questions. Your answers will remain strictly confidential and will be coded for statistical purposes to further ensure your anonymity.

___________________________________________________________________________

Section One:           Please indicate the degree to which the faculty of the Philosophy Program have met each of the four goals described below.

___________________________________________________________________________

1.         To provide a high quality curriculum that emphasizes disciplinary rigor and ensures the transmission of a unique method of inquiry.

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 meaning ‘not at all’ and 10 meaning ‘a great deal,’ how well have we accomplished Goal 1?

      1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9          10

 

2.         To provide high quality instruction that promotes the development of effectiveness in communication, critical and independent thinking, problem solving, and the use of technology.

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 meaning ‘not at all’ and 10 meaning ‘a great deal,’ how well have we accomplished Goal 2?

      1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9          10

 

3.         To promote student research, scholarship, and creative endeavors which enhance an understanding of philosophical argumentation and prepare our students for success in the academic and workplace environment.

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 meaning ‘not at all’ and 10 meaning ‘a great deal,’ how well have we accomplished Goal 3?

      1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9          10

 

 

 

4.         To affirm the equal dignity of each person by valuing cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender diversity.

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 meaning ‘not at all’ and 10 meaning ‘a great deal,’ how well have we accomplished Goal 4?

      1          2          3          4          5          6          7          8          9          10

 


Section Two:          Please answer the following questions as candidly as possible.


5.         What would you consider to be the strengths of the Philosophy Program?

 

 

 

 

6.         What would you consider to be the weaknesses of the Philosophy Program?

 

 

 

7.         Based upon the information provided in Question 6 (if any), what improvements would you suggest?

 

 

 

 

8.         What are your plans for after graduation (e.g. job, graduate school, etc.)?

 

 

 

 

 

9.         What skills do you think you have acquired in the Philosophy Program that you will be able to use in your life after graduation?

 

 

 

 

10.       If there was a faculty member who made significant contributions to your course of study and you would like to mention her or him for purposes of recognition, please provide her or his name.

 

 

 

 

 

11.       Additional information that you would like to provide.

 

 

 


Appendix D

Results of Exit Survey 2009

 

[The combined results for 2004 through 2009 are displayed in Appendix E.]

 

--

 

Quantitative Results

 

On a scale of 1-10 with 1 meaning “not at all” and 10 meaning “a great deal” how well has the Philosophy Program met the following goals:

 

 

1.             To provide a high quality curriculum that emphasizes disciplinary rigor and ensures the transmission of a unique method of inquiry.

 

10=3                                        50%

9=1                                          17%

8=2                                          33%

6                                            100%

 

 

2.             To provide high quality instruction that promotes the development of effectiveness in communication, critical and independent thinking, problem solving, and the use of technology.

 

10=2                                        33%

9=1                                          17%

8=3                                          50%

6                                              100%

 

 

3.             To promote student research, scholarship, and creative endeavors which enhance an understanding of philosophical argumentation and prepare our students for success in the academic and workplace environment.

 

10=2                                        33.3%

9=2                                          33.3%

7=2                                          33.3%

6                                              99.9%

 

 

4.             To affirm the equal dignity of each person by valuing cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender diversity.

 

10=3                                        50%

9=3                                          50%

6                                            100%

 

 

Exit Survey Scores

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Student 1

8

8

9

10

Student 2

10

8

10

10

Student 3

10

10

10

10

Student 4

10

8

9

9

Student 5

9

10

7

9

Student 6

8

9

7

9

AVERAGES

9.2

8.8

8.7

9.5

 

 

Qualitative Results

 

5.             What would you consider to be the strengths of the Philosophy Program?

 

The faculty=3

Faculty/student interaction=2

 

 

cc) The faculty is the greatest strength. These individuals care a great deal about their students and make them feel valued as academics. They encourage individual assistance and discussion. The classes are rigorous, and the professors demand a lot of their students. The professors are also actively involved in research themselves, which fosters a greater sense of respect with the student community. Also, they’re brilliant.

 

dd) I like its historical approach. I like that the teachers engage in open dialogue w/students and are willing to explain and even defend philosophers that they no not necessarily agree with. The professors are very professional and always willing to aid their students in whatever way possible. They, likewise, have the ability to shape a student’s mind & press him/her to push the boundaries of thinking.

 

ee) Dr. Donohoe, Dr. Lane, and Dr. Tietjen. Their ability to sustain lectures, generate discussions, and most importantly meaningful, insightful response to questions. Also their personal devotion to students.

 

ff) The close, personal environment that enables real discussion between the students and the professors.

 

gg) N/A

 

hh) The involvement of our faculty in student lives as students. Without this, many philosophy students might fall through the net and lose sight of the application of philosophy to student life.

 

 

6.             What would you consider to be the weaknesses of the Philosophy Program?

 

Need more focus on student research/conferences=1

Limited course offerings=3

Need more “academic respect among students”=1

Need more professors=3

 

cc) A lack of focus on student research in terms of having students present at conferences. Also, a lack of classes offered my final semester. I wasn’t able to take any philosophy courses because I had already taken all of the classes being offered. A lot of this is due to lack of professors (Dr.s. Donohoe, Lane, and Tietjen can only do so much) and funding.

 

dd) We need more courses which means more teachers. The ratio of majors to professors is pathetic. If we had more teachers, then a variety of classes could prompt more people to be interested in the subject. As one of the highest & oldest forms of human expression, it is sad to watch as other departments [?] favor while philosophy is neglected.

 

ee) The ratio of professors to majors is unsettling at best and disrespectful at worst—for the students and faculty. There needs to be more professors. Hopefully, funds can be allocated to this end.

 

ff) The class offerings. It would be nice if the program could grow.

 

gg) N/A

 

hh) Though the faculty, for the most part, adhere to it, there needs to be an active effort to achieve academic respect among students. The stereotypes that philosophy is a discipline for the elite or that it is somehow separate from all other disciplines still stands. It has become evident to me through philosophy that these stereotypes are untrue, however.

 

 

7.             Based upon the information provided in Question 6 (if any), what improvements would you suggest?

 

More meetings with advisors=1

Hire more faculty=3

More classes=2

Offer classes more frequently=1

“Active efforts … to attain a sense of academic respect”=1

 

cc) Individual meetings with advisors, aside from end of semester advisement. Doing this and using it to focus on individual student achievements could create some confidence within the student so they might present papers at conferences.

 

dd) More teachers = more classes (see above)

 

ee) More professors. For more classes.

 

ff) offering courses more than once every two years; hiring more wonderful professors

 

gg) N/A

 

hh) Active efforts by faculty to attain a sense of academic respect. They already question our presumptions about “other” views well enough, but need more and unique avenues of such questioning.

 

 

 

*8.           What are your plans for after graduation (e.g. job, graduate school, etc.)?

 

Graduate school (unspecified)=1

Graduate school in philosophy=2

Graduate school in religion=1

Law school=1

Another undergraduate degree=1

Teaching abroad=1

 

[Some students indicated more than one of the above options]

 

 

*9.           What skills do you think you have acquired in the Philosophy Program that you will be able to use in your life after graduation?

 

Critical Thinking skills=2

Ability to recognize multiple perspectives=1

Analytical skills=3

Communication skills=4

Reading comprehension=2

Argumentation skills=3

 “Desire for understanding”=1

Abstract thought=1

“See relations between seemingly unrelated concepts”=1

“Recognize the potential for human thinking”=1

“Ability to bring about necessary discourse”=1

 

cc) A genuine desire for understanding, critical thinking skills, and an ability to critically read and understand nuance within texts. I feel better able to see many different sides to any argument. I feel like I can handle abstract & theoretical concepts and can better articulate my ideas and provide argumentation for them.

 

dd) The ability to effectively communicate. The ability to break problems down into their smaller parts. The ability to see relations between seemingly unrelated concepts. The ability to recognize the potential for human thinking.

 

ee) Interpretive skills and critical analysis skills. A keener ability to argue. A sensibility to arguments.

 

ff) Writing, analytical, and strong argumentation skills.

 

gg) N/A

 

hh) Critical thinking skills, writing skills, communicative skills, as well as the ability to bring about necessary discourse.

 

 

10.           If there was a faculty member who made significant contributions to your course of study and you would like to mention her or him for purposes of recognition, please provide her or his name. 

 

cc) Dr. Donohoe has made the greatest academic impact on me in my academic career in the philosophy program. From the 1st class I had with her (during which time I declared the major) I realized she was a brilliant woman. She balances encouragement for the student while pushing them to do the best academic work possible. She encourages individual assistance and is available to discuss philosophy, your future, academic goals, etc. I have encouraged everyone I know to take her Intro class. I cannot say enough positive things about her. Without her Intro class, I doubt I would be a philosophy major.

 

dd) Dr. Lane He has been a great advisor and teacher. He was my first contact with the Philosophy Program. I cannot think him enough!!!

 

ee) Dr. Donohoe

 

ff) Dr. Lane

 

gg) N/A

 

hh) I have been impacted greatly by Dr. Mark Tietjen. He introduced me to my favorite philosophy, Kierkegaard, and never allowed me to settle into my presumptions about philosophy, faith, and the nature of self-development.

 

 

11.           Additional information you would like to provide.

 

cc) I know more than I knew before.

 

dd) Since beginning my philosophy major, I feel as if I know less, than when I began.

 

ee) N/A

 

ff) Keep the close relationships in the department. That made this major so much more enjoyable to me than my other.

 

gg) N/A

 

hh) Philosophy WAS a stepping stone for me, but now I realize its intrinsic worth.

 

 

* These questions were not asked on all of the surveys since we changed the survey in 2007.


Appendix E

Combined Results of Exit Surveys 2004-2009

 

On a scale of 1-10 with 1 meaning “not at all” and 10 meaning “a great deal” how well has the Philosophy Program met the following goals:

 

 

1.             To provide a high quality curriculum that emphasizes disciplinary rigor and ensures the transmission of a unique method of inquiry.

 

10=7                                        20.5%

9=8                                          23.5%

8=12                                          35%

7=4                                            12%

6=2                                              6%

5=0                                              0%

4=1                                              3%

34                                            100%

 

 

2.             To provide high quality instruction that promotes the development of effectiveness in communication, critical and independent thinking, problem solving, and the use of technology.

 

10=6                                        18%

9=11                                        32%

8=11                                        32%

7=3                                            9%

6=2                                            6%

5=1                                            3%

34                                            100%

 

 

3.             To promote student research, scholarship, and creative endeavors which enhance an understanding of philosophical argumentation and prepare our students for success in the academic and workplace environment.

 

10=12                                      35%

9=10                                        29%

8=2                                            6%

7=8                                          24%

6=1                                            3%

5=1                                            3%

34                                            100%

 

 

4.             To affirm the equal dignity of each person by valuing cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender diversity.

 

10=13                                      38%

9=9                                          26%

8=6                                          18%

7=1                                            3%

6=2                                            6%

5=1                                            3%

4=1                                            3%

2=1                                            3%

34                                            99%

 

 

5.             What would you consider to be the strengths of the Philosophy Program?

 

Diversity of approaches=12

The faculty=15

Teaching communication skills=1

Teaching critical reading/thinking skills=2

Community=3

Promotion of student scholarship=2

Small Program=1

It’s fun=1

Faculty/student interaction=6

 

 

a) The wide range of exposure to different fields, time periods, and overall approaches to Philosophical issues given in this department constitutes one of its greatest strengths.  In being exposed to not only the history of philosophy but being asked to take up someone like Plato in a critical way.  Philosophy was displayed as something you do and are instead of just something you study.

 

b) The faculty!!  The faculty of the Philosophy Program is the greatest strength of the Program, with their vast knowledge of all aspects in philosophy and their willingness to help all individuals succeed.  They are mentors and leaders.

 

c) This Philosophy department has met, with exceptional quality, goals 1 and 2.  The instructors encourage students to further enhance their communication skills both linguistically and in writing.

 

d) The Program is divers and therefore offers a focus to any and all approaching students.  The professors are incredibly well versed in the subjects and capable of explaining ideas clearly and effectively.  There is a high degree of interaction among majors, as well as encouragement from the professors for active participation in campus philosophical activities, and outside of campus in presentations and paper submissions.

 

e) The professors.  Their passion for teaching is magnificent.

 

f) The fact that the program is smallness of the program and the fact that the classes are small.  This allows for relationships between professors and students to be built easier which is very helpful towards learning.  The teachers of the program are the other strength of the program.  Dr. Lane and Dr. Donohoe are very good at making the topics they teach make sense and also at making them fun and exciting.

 

g) Donohoe, Alberg.  Challenging!  I always feel dumb and intelligent all within the span of one class hour.

 

h) The vast majority of the teachers have a deep love of their profession and are extremely effective in teaching.  The availability of the teachers also gives the program a feel of friendship between teacher and student that I find helpful in being able to do my best work.

 

i) The variety of teachers that specialize in different areas of philosophy such as analytical, existentialism, etc.

 

j) This program is fun and inviting.  It keeps people who aren’t majors signing up for philosophy classes.

 

k) The diversity of the professors—each with his or her own area of expertise.

 

l) Faculty members are close to students.  Some of them encourage students to ask questions, attend meetings, etc.

 

m) A variety of teachers.  The Philosophy Program teachers are different which makes each class different as well as interesting.

 

n) Well-balanced between Continental and analytic, generally makes material interesting.  WE study a broad range of philosophies.

 

o) For being small, it has a good variety of different perspectives in philosophy.  My intro classes in ethics and philosophy were the reasons I declared my major.  I never ventured far from Dr. Donohoe’s classes (I’ve only taken Lane once and Alberg once) but I feel thoroughly prepared and informed from my classes on the ‘Continental’ side.

 

p) Availability of professors and wide variety of courses.

 

q) The amount of courses dealing with a range of different philosophical approaches.  Diverse views from the professors.

 

r) The variety of teaching methods.  Each teacher teaches differently.

 

s) Personal environment, professors who actually care, who really want to help, and who we can idolize in a not-joking way.

 

t) The open communication between the professors and the students and opportunities for further study outside the classroom.

 

u) The range of choices in classes, the emphasis on reading a text critically, the faculty’s commitment to the success of the student.

 

v) The open mindedness of the professors in class.  Sometimes class reading bring up other philosophical questions and the professors are always ready to help.  This allows us to gain knowledge in subjects of philosophy that are not offered.

 

w) The diversity of the philosophy program and their offered areas of study in philosophy.  The one-on-one factor that plays a role in a more qualitative students-teacher interaction that is important for this particular major.

 

x) Interesting classes and subject material.  Professors very proficient in their fields.  A sense of camaraderie amongst the students.

 

y) The strengths are that the program encourages the students to think critically.  That is going to be useful in the future.

 

z) The fact that philosophy challenges the minds way of thinking.

 

aa) The professors seem truly interested in the students.

 

bb) All the professors are very welcoming and helpful.

 

cc) The faculty is the greatest strength. These individuals care a great deal about their students and make them feel values as academics. They encourage individual assistance and discussion. The classes are rigorous, and the professors demand a lot of their students. The professors are also actively involved in research themselves, which fosters a greater sense of respect with the student community. Also, they’re brilliant.

 

dd) I like its historical approach. I like that the teachers engage in open dialogue w/students and are willing to explain and even defend philosophers that they no not necessarily agree with. The professors are very professional and always willing to aid their students in whatever way possible. They, likewise, have the ability to shape a student’s mind & press him/her to push the boundaries of thinking.

 

ee) Dr. Donohoe, Dr. Lane, and Dr. Tietjen. Their ability to sustain lectures, generate discussions, and most importantly meaningful, insightful response to questions. Also their personal devotion to students.

 

ff) The close, personal environment that enables real discussion between the students and the professors.

 

gg) N/A

 

hh) The involvement of our faculty in student lives as students. Without this, many philosophy students might fall through the net and lose sight of the application of philosophy to student life.

 

 

6.             What would you consider to be the weaknesses of the Philosophy Program?

 

Need more interdisciplinary communication=1

Limited course offerings=15

Need to explain how to write a philosophy paper=1

Needs more focused direction=1

Size of introductory courses=1

Too Continental=1

Introductory courses=1

Some of the Faculty/temporary faculty=3

Ethnic/cultural diversity=1

Need more professors=6

Need better advising=1

 

 

a) Although there is a wide range of Philosophical approaches—from Analytic and Symbolic Logic to Phenomenology and Hermeneutics, form Ancient to Modern, etc.—there could still be more interdisciplinary communication that keeps the ‘alternative viewpoints’ open.  That is, most classes begin with saying how some other time period, approach, etc. got things wrong and where this one goes right.  Although the questionability and demand to think through the problems remains, there does seem to be a sense of easy dismissal in terms of what Modern Philosophy rejects, for instance.

 

b)At first thought of this question I was going to say that the weakness of the Philosophy Program is, as far as I knew it, the small number of disciplines covered relative to philosophy as a whole, but after a second thought I realize that the philosophy program was limited by being ‘under the wing’ of the English Department.  The Philosophy Program could not have done any better with the resources it had available.

 

c) the department could explain what style of writing is conducive to a great philosophy paper.

 

d) It is still to small.  There are some classes that are only offered every two years, which should be offered more frequently.  Also the program could use better direction.  Each focus, pre-law, religion, etc. should be more full.  I would like to see philosophy of law/criminal justice, logic, and other law related classes offered every semester, and the same with religion courses.  Often students have a difficult time enrolling in classes to fulfill their study program.

 

e) The bias towards a Continental style of philosophy.  Also, the size of introductory classes is unacceptable.  A non-lecture style of class is also very popular and very annoying.

 

f) The smallness of the program makes it so that there is not as much a variety of classes as there could be.  This is all I can think of.

 

g) Intro classes!  Including critical thinking—except for Donohoe, that I know of, the intro classes are not challenging or mind-blowing in the way that philosophy can be.

 

h) Some of the professors are far less effective than others.  The method of the better professors can’t make up for the lack of quality of an individual professor.

 

i) Not enough ethnic, cultural diversity in the staff such as Spanish, Black, etc. All the staff looks alike.

 

j) The main weakness of the program is in its lack of depth.  I would like to see more upper-level classes that go into one or two philosopher’s entire philosophies.

 

k) possible disunity because of extreme diversity.

 

l) Lack of understanding the areas outside of philosophy.  For example, we need to know evidence of evolution BEFORE we talk about the issue of creationism in Religion class.  Another example is that some faculty members are careless about sending proprietary Microsoft Word documents on e-mail, which might undermine free flow of ideas.

 

m) Need to offer more classes each semester.  More logic classes would be good.

 

n) Professors have a very hard time being unbiased some of the time.  This can be a strength and a weakness.  Sometimes there (in certain classes) is so much material that there isn’t time to interact with and talk about the material.

 

o) The religion dept. hopefully will strengthen in the future.  I had a few interim professors here in the last year or so who unfortunately did not give me much inspiration or much challenge intellectually.

 

p) A major weakness is the size of the program.  However, only so many individuals are interested in philosophy.

 

q) Not enough Eastern Philosophy.  Way too many courses that were only MWF.  I wish there were more exploratory classes along the lines of Philosophy of Literature and Film.  More primary source readings.

 

r) The lack of classes available, and a need for more teachers and more upper level classes offered during the summer.

 

s) Lack of budget for professors, too many pre-law kids, too many Friday afternoon classes.

 

t) more teachers!

 

u) Some of the classes required for the major were not of interest to me.

 

v) The classes are not real wide.  There are not a lot of different class options and the ones that are taught each semester have to be taken since there are not a lot of philosophy classes taught.

 

w) A limited amount of professors.  2 or 3 more would seem perfect for having more options for classes.  At the same time though, the 4 professors seem to offer the maximum of classes that is in their ability to teach or for anybody that is.

 

x) Too limited a selection of classes.  I basically had to take most of what was offered.

 

y) I understand that we are all adults but the program could do better with helping students make better choices about which courses to select.

 

z) Philosophy at West GA needs to have more of a variety of philosophers to study.

 

aa) I don’t feel prepared to graduate, even though I am doing so very soon.  I thought senior seminar would prepare me more for this by tying everything together that I had learned thus far, but so far I don’t feel like it has.  IT is a great class, but just feels like every other philosophy class.

 

bb) When I first started taking philosophy of religion courses they were all taught by visiting professors.  Now that I have come to the end of my studies here, I realize how much many of these past professors did not go over.

 

cc) A lack of focus on student research in terms of having students present at conferences. Also, a lack of classes offered my final semester. I wasn’t able to take any philosophy courses because I had already taken all of the classes being offered. A lot of this is due to lack of professors (Dr.s. Donohoe, Lane, and Tietjen can only do so much) and funding.

 

dd) We need more courses which means more teachers. The ratio of majors to professors is pathetic. If we had more teachers, then a variety of classes could prompt more people to be interested in the subject. As one of the highest & oldest forms of human expression, it is sad to watch as other departments [?] favor while philosophy is neglected.

 

ee) The ratio of professors to majors is unsettling at best and disrespectful at worst—for the students and faculty. There needs to be more professors. Hopefully, funds can be allocated to this end.

 

ff) The class offerings. It would be nice if the program could grow.

 

gg) N/A

 

hh) Though the faculty, for the most part, adhere to it, there needs to be an active effort to achieve academic respect among students. The stereotypes that philosophy is a discipline for the elite or that it is somehow separate from all other disciplines still stands. It has become evident to me through philosophy that these stereotypes are untrue, however.

 

 

7.             Based upon the information provided in Question 6 (if any), what improvements would you suggest?

 

More analytic philosophy=1

Closer ties to English=1

Hire more faculty=11

None=2

More ethnic diversity within faculty=1

More / more in-depth classes=9

Encourage more interaction=2

Offer classes more frequently=1

“Active efforts … to attain a sense of academic respect”=1

 

a) If this is possible, professors that are immersed in a certain time period or approach could be present in one way or another during one or some of the class periods.  This could be a bodily presence, a brief, written statement, or something along those lines.  What is crucial is having someone who is deeply enfolded in that particular approach or time period “there” to defend and clarify what a particular thinker, epoch, etc. thought and said.

 

b) This might sound cliché, with regard to this question, but…none.

 

c) The Philosophy department should work more closely with the English department.

 

d) See 6.

 

e) Have more professors of the analytic style of philosophy.  And please get away from the idea that a discussion class is useful.  Lectures are much more informative.

 

f) It should become a department and get more money to hire a few more professors.

 

g) All classes read the philosophers themselves!  It’s Essential!

 

h) Make sure the teachers in the department are effective.  Not all students will like the same teacher, but if all students find an individual to be ineffective, get rid of her.

 

i) A Black person; a Asian, an Spanish.  So that all people will be able to see young and old models as well as a well rounded group of people.

 

j) More seasoned professors and more indepth classes.

 

k) none, disunity is bound to happen.  To my knowledge no professor ever held a grudge.  That’s a positive thing.

 

l) scientific issues or technical legal issues might well be covered in a philosophy class.

 

m) Maybe hire an extra teacher.  Teach more variety of classes.

 

n) Always encourage interaction, and make room for it.  Being unbiased in harder…Professor are unbiased a lot of the time.

 

o) Religion professors with more knowledge of Asian/Western religion.

 

p) It’s difficult to interest people in philosophy, so I’m unsure.  Perhaps more public functions.  The lunches were nice this semester.

 

q) I would like to see more classes even though it is not the fault of the philosophy program because they simply don’t have the resources for more classes.

 

r) More teachers, more upper-level classes and more summer classes.

 

s) Money, getting rid of people in that program who can’t or won’t honestly consider things, and earlier classes or relocating half the department to Carrollton.

 

t) Not really sure…

 

u)

 

v) Either more professors or more opportunities to do studies in other areas.  The Program is not big but there are a lot of fields I wish I could have studied in my philosophy work.

 

w) Just a couple more professors.

 

x) Hire more professors.

 

y)

 

z) Taking a poll on what the students or who the students would like to study.

 

aa) Teachers of senior seminar should utilize the entire discipline rather than focusing on “their” philosopher.

 

bb) Well, the department has a more permanent religion professor, which helps.  However, it would be great to have a wider variety of philosophy professors.

 

cc) Individual meetings with advisors, aside from end of semester advisement. Doing this and using it to focus on individual student achievements could create some confidence within the student so they might present papers at conferences.

 

dd) More teachers = more classes (see above)

 

ee) More professors. For more classes.

 

ff) offering courses more than once every two years; hiring more wonderful professors

 

gg) N/A

 

hh) Active efforts by faculty to attain a sense of academic respect. They already question our presumptions about “other” views well enough, but need more and unique avenues of such questioning.

 

 

*8.           What are your plans for after graduation (e.g. job, graduate school, etc.)?

 

Graduate school (unspecified)=4

Graduate school in philosophy=3

Graduate school in religion=1

Law school=2

Another undergraduate degree=1

Get a job=3

No idea=2

Work for awhile, then go back to grad school=2

Teaching abroad=1

 

 

*9.           What skills do you think you have acquired in the Philosophy Program that you will be able to use in your life after graduation?

 

Critical Thinking skills=10

Ability to ask questions=2

Self-awareness=1

Ability to recognize multiple perspectives=3

Logic=1

Analytical skills=6

Communication skills=9

Organization skills=1

Reading comprehension=3

Argumentation skills=4

Research skills=1

“Desire for understanding”=1

Abstract thought=1

“See relations between seemingly unrelated concepts”=1

“Recognize the potential for human thinking”=1

“Ability to bring about necessary discourse”=1

 

 

a) The critical thinking skills, the ability and willingness to take up multiple perspectives when looking at an issue, the recognition of the importance of what question you are asking and the way you ask as to the direction of the inquiry, and a general sense of reflecting on myself along with the world and tradition I inhabit.

 

b) With regard to everything that I learned in the Philosophy Program, I would need the space of an entire novel to discuss this, but to cover the basics, I learned how to analyze all problems that I encounter to the fullest extent so that I can use reasoning skills that I learned to logically deduce the best possible solution.  I also learned great communication skills that will help me succeed.

 

c) an ability to question myself and others as well as a broader range of knowledge.

 

d) the capacity to think, really think.

 

e) communication, organization, the ability to think about problems rationally, think more broadly about subjects and real-world events.

 

f) Critical thinking skills, communication skills, ability to assess arguments, articulation of ideas.

 

g) My reading comprehension has gotten much better.  My critical thinking skills have also improved drastically.

 

h) The skills are greatly important for my self-fulfillment and also for the preparation for grad school.  Better writing skills, more intelligible argumentation and more interest in philosophy in general.

 

i) Critical thinking.  Being able to analyze a given situation for all its worth.  An appreciation for learning, reading.  An appreciation for different ways of thinking.

 

j) Being able to critically analyze.

 

k) Critical thinking—I just hope I can get a job with this degree.

 

l) I have acquired better writing skills, as well as better researching skills that will be very helpful in graduate school.

 

cc) A genuine desire for understanding, critical thinking skills, and an ability to critically read and understand nuance within texts. I feel better able to see many different sides to any argument. I feel like I can handle abstract & theoretical concepts and can better articulate my ideas and provide argumentation for them.

 

dd) The ability to effectively communicate. The ability to break problems down into their smaller parts. The ability to see relations between seemingly unrelated concepts. The ability to recognize the potential for human thinking.

 

ee) Interpretive skills and critical analysis skills. A keener ability to argue. A sensibility to arguments.

 

ff) Writing, analytical, and strong argumentation skills.

 

gg) N/A

 

hh) Critical thinking skills, writing skills, communicative skills, as well as the ability to bring about necessary discourse.

 

 

 

10.           If there was a faculty member who made significant contributions to your course of study and you would like to mention her or him for purposes of recognition, please provide her or his name. 

 

a) In general, the combination of Dr. Lane and Dr. Donohoe has had the most influence on me.  There vastly differing approaches, interests, and general way towards Philosophy was fundamental to my experience.  The fact that I was exposed to both of their methods and ways of thinking, that I had to think through them and question myself gave me fruitful, albeit uncertain, foundations.

 

b) From my introduction into the Philosophy Program to my conclusion by graduating from it, Dr. Robert Lane was a great mentor to me and I looked up to him.  If I ever needed anything, even things outside of Philosophy, I could go to him and he would be so willing to help me.  I admire him and commend him for being such a great mentor to me.  Thank you Dr. Robert Lane.  I extend a “thank you” to the rest of the faculty of the Philosophy Program as well.

 

c) I was inspired in one way or another by every faculty member here.  From Dr. Alberg I was encouraged to continue to research Ancient and Medieval philosophical thinking.  I enjoyed being exposed to the diverse thought and am glad we did not just stick to the Greeks. From Dr. Lane I learned how grueling the Philosophical writing process can be and am a better writer for it.  Last but certainly not least, Dr. Donohoe has been an inspiration to the upmost.  She has encouraged me to continue writing and has inspired my interest into many topics that can be combined with Philosophy.  This semester with her has been truly enlightening.  I am pleased to call her my undergraduate mentor.

 

d) Dr. Lane, Dr. Donohoe.  Each of these professors have made my experience here more full and more enjoyable.  They have in depth knowledge of the material and have shown an interest in my post-graduation success.

 

e) Dr. Robert Lane.  I would have to write an essay to describe his accomplishments, but simply put he has changed my life.

 

f) Dr. Lane, Dr. Donohoe.  Dr. Lane should get tenure.

 

g) Alberg, Donohoe.  Again, they’ve changed my thoughts on thought.

 

h) Dr. Lane has been the best professor I’ve had.  He has made me the best student I could be in his classes and I look to him not only as a teacher, but as a friend.

 

i) Dr. Auble has inspired me since day one at this university.  His skills in communication and music came across as a love of philosophy.

 

j) Dr. Donohoe is brilliant and a great professor.  Dr. Lane is the best teacher I have ever had!  Dr. Alberg is always willing to help out a student as much as he/she needs.

 

k) Dr. Robert Lane and Dr. Janet Donohoe.  I will be forever in debt to them, whether they know it or not.

 

l) Dr. Robert Lane, my advisor, helped me a lot in answering questions in email, preparing letters of recommendation, suggesting reading materials, etc.

 

m) All of the faculty members are great.

 

n) They all did…Dr. Lane helped develop my logical thinking and argument skills, Dr. Donohoe showed me the world of Continental Philosophy, and Dr. Alberg taught me a lot about the classical philosophers.

 

o) Dr. Donohoe

 

p) Each professor has contributed in my philosophical thought.  I was most influenced by Professor Donohoe.  I have a greater affinity toward Continental thought, so this clearly aided.

 

q) Dr. Robert Lane, Dr. Janet Donohoe, Dr. Jay Alberg in no particular order of influence.

 

r) Dr. Donohoe and Dr. Alberg both go above and beyond to make sure we enjoy as well learn things in classes.

 

s) All of you have done so much for me, from so many different perspectives.  I couldn’t give a full answer to this here.

 

t) Donohoe, Lane, Tietjen; they’re like superheroes and Alberg is like Charlie from Charlie’s Angels…(no really, each one has had an impact and has helped fuel my love for philosophy)

 

u) Dr .Donohoe

 

v) Dr. Tietjen

 

w) I couldn’t honestly list one name because they all have had a great impact upon me and my course of study.

 

x) Tietjen, Donohoe

 

y) Mark Tietjen, was a great influence on my success because he truly has a passion for philosophy and the success of his students.  He was the only philosophy professor that REALLY worked with me and understood my struggles with being a philosophy major.

 

z) Dr. Lane and Dr. Tietjen.  Even though they are very different in their styles of teaching, they both are great at what they do and are genuinely interested in their students and the study of philosophy.

 

aa) I really liked Dr. Manlowe even though she no longer teaches here (which is probably good since she wasn’t the best lecturer), however outside of lecture she was a wonderful help.  I also really enjoyed both Dr. Lane and Dr. Alberg.

 

cc) Dr. Donohoe has made the greatest academic impact on me in my academic career in the philosophy program. From the 1st class I has with her (during which time I declared the major) I realized she was a brilliant woman. She balances encouragement for the student while pushing them to do the best academic work possible. She encourages individual assistance and is available to discuss philosophy, your future, academic goals, etc. I have encouraged everyone I know to take her Intro class. I cannot say enough positive things about her. Without her Intro class, I doubt I would be a philosophy major.

 

dd) Dr. Lane He has been a great advisor and teacher. He was my first contact with the Philosophy Program. I cannot think him enough!!!

 

ee) Dr. Donohoe

 

ff) Dr. Lane

 

gg) N/A

 

hh) I have been impacted greatly by Dr. Mark Tietjen. He introduced me to my favorite philosophy, Kierkegaard, and never allowed me to settle into my presumptions about philosophy, faith, and the nature of self-development.

 

 

11.           Additional information you would like to provide.

 

a) I have been a wayward traveler when it comes to college.  I attended Kansas State, East Carolina and here.  It is the Philosophy Professors here that kept me coming back to UWG semester after semester.  I didn’t want to quit for them too (like I had so many times for other people) and now I can say I didn’t quite.  Instead, I made it.  I made it and did better here than anywhere else.

 

b) In order for this University to become more diverse, there have to be the intentional desire and willingness to reach out in areas where Asians, Blacks, and Spanish are located.  We must go and get the talent and bring it here, not to expect for the talent to come here.

 

c) Use primary texts.  Don’t make professors teach classes outside of their specialization!  Split classes like existentialism, phenomenology, and American Phil., and Modern phil. (etc) into two semesters so we can learn more about each philosopher.  Hist. of phil. And science should be required for philosophy major.

 

d) I dislike that such an important discipline is only a program and not a department.  I also think it’s silly to combine English and Philosophy.  History would be a better choice. Of course, I can’t blame the program for those decisions and I don’t.  The encouragement I was given to pursue my career was phenomenal and I consider myself truly lucky to have been able to participate in such a wonderful program.

 

e) Don’t do drugs.

 

f) Best five years of my life!

 

g) It’s good to see the profs. Working os hard to make a quality program, it makes it even more worthwhile to be a part of.

 

h) After spending my years her eat WGA, my decision to be a phil. Major has been the most surest and important decision I have made.

 

cc) I know more than I knew before.

 

dd) Since beginning my philosophy major, I feel as if I know less, than when I began.

 

ee) N/A

 

ff) Keep the close relationships in the department. That made this major so much more enjoyable to me than my other.

 

gg) N/A

 

hh) Philosophy WAS a stepping stone for me, but now I realize its intrinsic worth.

 

 

 

*12.         Please give a thoughtful evaluation of your philosophy program.

a) I am glad to see that the program is progressing

 

b) This program is overall, quite incredible.  Each professor shows a true passion for their students success and engagement with the material.  They all set aside time for personal assistance and offer advice on program related topics as needed.

 

c) Overall I think the program is excellent.  With department status and another professor or two it could be great.  All of the professor though are absolutely wonderful.

 

d) This program is the best thing that ever happened to me.  It gave me an interest in a discipline that I have come to love and it has helped me grow as a person and a thinker.  The program is great and it allows individuals to learn and grow by giving them knowledge that leads them to thinking harder about many different things.

 

e) I believe it has helped me prepare as best I can for my career goal of being a lawyer, not merely teaching what to think, but rather how to think has been key.

 

f) More classes on Religion is needed.

 

g) I enjoyed all of my classes but I feel like my knowledge lacks the depth I will need for graduate school.

 

h) It’s my passion.  I learned so much and am grateful that at such a small institution with such a small philosophy program I found a wealth of knowledge. 

 

i) There are a lot of interesting philosophical issues that really matter.  Thinking about the meaning of Copenhagen Consensus would be more important than Plato’s Crito, for example.  Dealing with new philosophical issues (e.g. human cloning) might be considered more.

 

j) Our Philosophy Program is challenging and interesting.

 

k) I like it.  I learned a lot and want to continue studying philosophy.  See 5,6,7

 

l) I am very happy with the small but personal education.  I was very happy with the amount of primary texts that I grappled with (despite how hard they were).  At the same time I enjoyed the format of the political philosophy course.  I might not have been a philosophy major if not for Dr. Donohoe.

 

m) I enjoyed the professors and classes offered, but I wish there were more courses offered such as metaphysics, philosophy of language, semiotics, etc.

 

n) Philosophy drew me in from the start and allowed for a much different academic experience.  I was used to the simple quiz/test format like in the sciences/mathematics sphere.  Overall it was AWESOME!!!

 

 

* These questions were not asked on all of the surveys since we changed the survey in 2007.

 


 

 

 

Appendix F

Philosophy Program Retention Data

 

 

 

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

AVG
Majors

Graduates
(July-Dec-May)*

subtotal

Lost from
UWG

Retention rate

 

 

2010-11

 

57

59

63

69

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2009-10

 

 

 

56

 

59

 

59

 

60

 

58

 

53

 

53

 

58

 

65

 

65

 

57

 

58

 

58.4

 

14

 

44.4

 

8

 

82%

 

2008-09

56

58

 

59

59

55

60

59

62

58

 

63

58.9

9

49.9

10

80%

2007-08

53

 

56

55

 

48

50

50

53

 

 

52

52.1

5

47.1

13

72%

2006-07

46

48

48

55

 

54

57

 

58

57

 

57

53.3

4

49.3

10

80%

2005-06

33

 

 

32

42

38

38

 

48

46

48

 

40.6

5

35.6

9

75%

 

 

*Beginning this year we are following IRP’s method of calculating the annual number of graduates based on a July-Dec-May calendar rather than a Dec-May-July calendar. This is the reason for the discrepancy between the numbers shown here and those shown in previous Assessment Documents.


 

 

Appendix G

Minutes of Assessment Meetings Fall 2010

 

 

September 1, 2010

Present: Janet Donohoe, Bob Lane, Walter Riker, Mark Tietjen

 

1.       We reviewed the contents of Senior Portfolios for students who graduated during the last year (July 2009 through May 2010) and the process that we put in place last year (fall 2009) for employing Senior Portfolios in our assessment activities. In doing so, we realized that one aspect of that process was unclear: for the purposes of a given academic year’s assessment, would we consider the Portfolios of all students graduating within that academic year, or would we consider the Portfolios of the students who complete PHIL 4300 (Senior Seminar) during that year? We decided on the latter: our statistics will be based on each cohort of students who complete a given section of PHIL 4300. The relevant criterion of success will thus be revised as follows: “90% of students in each section of PHIL 4300 have a complete portfolio with successful work represented.” We will apply this revised criterion of success in assessing the data from AY2009-10. We also decided that the persons responsible for this aspect of assessment will be (a) the senior seminar instructor (for the seminar paper, resume, intellectual autobiography, names of references) and (b) the student’s advisor (for the completed advising sheet).

 

2.       We discussed the Senior Seminar Anthology from fall 2009. In doing so, we decided to change one aspect of the assessment process we developed this year. We will not collectively evaluate each year’s Anthology to determine whether the essays it contains meet three of our student LOs; instead, the person responsible for determining this in a given year will be the instructor of that year’s section of Senior Seminar. According to Janet, the instructor of the fall 2009 section of PHIL 4300, all of the essays in the 2009 anthology meet all three of our student LOs: 3, 4 and 6.

 

3.       We reviewed the results of last year’s Senior Outcomes Assessment interviews. In our discussion of these results, we decided that the criterion of success that we formulated last year (“90% of students can appropriately answer the questions in an oral format.”) is too vague. We decided to replace this criterion with one that cites a specific average score for each of the six student LOs that are assessed during the SOA interview. Our new criterion for success with regard to this aspect of our assessment is as follows: “The average score for each LO is 3.5 or higher.” We will use this criterion of success to evaluate the results of the SOA interviews conducted by Janet in fall 2009. We also realized that a question pertinent to LO 6 (students “will be able to … exhibit critical thinking skills”) had been accidentally omitted from the SOA form used in our fall 2009 interviews. Bob will correct this error before conducting interviews for 2010. Finally, we decided that, beginning in 2012, we will begin calculating a three-year average for each of the above statistical criteria.

 

4.       Bob informed everyone that we will need to enter the results of the above three forms of assessment (portfolios, anthologies, SOA interviews), keyed to each of our 6 student LO, into the database that Jon Anderson is compiling for SACS compliance. Results for at least one LO must be entered by the end of fall semester 2010; the results for the rest must be entered by the end of AY2010-11. Bob will enter this information into the database after he has completed this year’s assessment documentation.

 

 

September 8, 2010

Present: Janet Donohoe, Bob Lane, Walter Riker, Mark Tietjen

 

1.       We reviewed the results of the Exit Survey administered to students in PHIL 4300 in fall 2009. We agreed that the results were generally positive. Unfortunately, not all students registered in PHIL 4300 returned a completed copy of the survey. Unlike the manner in which we administer traditional student evaluations, we gave each student a copy of the Exit Survey and asked that he or she return it to the instructor, and this resulted in only six students completing and returning the Survey. As a result of our discussion we decided that, in order to increase the number of respondents, we will administer the Exit Survey in the same manner as a traditional student evaluation: students will complete the Surveys during a meeting of the PHIL 4300 class; the instructor will not be in the room, and the student will not put his or her name on the Survey; a volunteer student will collect the surveys, place them in a sealed envelope, and return them to the instructor; the instructor will not examine them until the following semester, well after he or she has submitted final grades for the relevant section of PHIL 4300.

 

2.       We discussed whether to conduct an Advising Survey during AY2010-11. In 2005 and 207, we administered this survey of all philosophy majors immediately after each major’s academic advising meeting with his or her advisor. In our discussion, we realized that there is overlap between the Advising Survey we used in ’05 and ’07 and the Exit Survey that we have administered over the last several years. So we decided against administering the Advising Survey and decided instead to include in the Exit Survey the questions from the ‘05/’07 Advising Survey that do not overlap with those already in the Exit Survey. Bob will draft a revised version of the Exit Survey and email to everyone for review, in time to administer the Exit Survey in PHIL  4300 by the end of the semester. Also, since the Exit Survey’s quantitative questions refer to our Program Goals, and since we revised those Goals last year, the quantitative questions must also be revised.

 

3.       We discussed whether to conduct a mail survey of alumni in AY2010-11. We last conducted such a survey in fall 2008, and at that time our plan was to do so every two years. During this discussion, we concluded that the minimal benefit of such frequent surveys would be outweighed by the risk that our alumni would become irritated by being asked to complete the survey so frequently and as a result refuse to participate. So we decided to conduct this survey every five years. We will conduct the next survey in fall 2013.

 

4.       We discussed the possibility of compiling a graduating senior report card to help us assess our performance relative to that of other programs on campus. Such a report card might include comparisons of the GPAs of philosophy majors to students majoring in other disciplines, comparisons of standardized test scores with overall major GPAs (to help discover where we stand with regard to grade inflation in relation to other degree programs), and a poll of all undergraduates graduating from UWG in a given year (to determine how philosophy fares compared to other programs with respect to satisfaction in skills and advising). As we did in our assessment meeting in fall 2009, we agreed that having this information would help in our assessment activities, but we recognize that the relevant data cannot be gathered by a single program but must result from an institution-wide initiative.

 

5.       As requested by Tim Schroer, we discussed DFW rates (the percentages of students earning grades of D, F, W or WF) in our Core classes. We agreed that the DFW rates for PHIL 2100 (now 2010) and PHIL 2110 (now 2020) were within an acceptable range, especially when compared to Core classes in other disciplines. But we were surprised that IRP had provided statistics for PHIL 2120 (2030) only for 2009 and not for any previous years. It is especially important that we see the rates for 2120 for earlier years, since the rate for 2009 is so much higher than the 2009 rates for 2100 and 2110. Bob will try to get the DFW rates for 2120 for years 2005-2008 from the IRP website. With those more complete numbers, we will revisit the question of our Core DFW rates during next year’s assessment meeting.

 

6.       We discussed the fact that we will soon be required to come up with assessment procedures for each Learning Outcomes for each of our four Core classes. Bob suggested that this may require us to key each LO to some (part of some) test or writing assignment. For example, one LO for PHIL 2030 is to “[d]escribe selected theories within meta-ethics and normative ethics, as well as selected arguments for and against those theories.” Instructors teaching this class may have to tabulate student scores on test questions or other assignments directly relevant to this LO (e.g., “Among the students answering question 1, 40% received full credit, 50% received partial credit, and 10% received no credit”). We would need to decide collectively what counts as success with regard to each LO. We discussed the constraints this might impose on our ability to freely choose how to instruct students and select appropriate intra-class assessment instruments. We reached no resolution on this issue and agreed to continue thinking about how we will approach it. 

 

 



[1] We changed our Program Goals in AY 2009-10; this portion of the Exit Survey will change accordingly in AY2010-11.

[2] http://www.usg.edu/strategicplan/one/global_prep.phtml

 

[3] http://www.usg.edu/strategicplan/one/advising.phtml

 

[4] Data was requested from chairs of respective departments during fall 2009. Not all requests were answered. These tables include information for those comparator and aspirational institutions with degree programs in philosophy and who answered our requests.

[5] http://www.westga.edu/1874.php

[6] Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 69 (2) 1996, pp. 94-95.