Black World Studies at Miami University
Mission and Learning Outcomes *
The mission of the Black World Studies program is to provide an excellent university experience for majors and general education students in the discipline of black studies.
Black studies is a discipline that investigates African peoples' experience from the perspective of their interests, aspirations, possibilities, and envisioned destinies. These experiences range from the earliest human civilizations, to the tragic era of enslavement, colonization, forced migration, displacement, and reconstruction of African people's humanity and life ways.
The foundation of black studies intellectual inquiry begins with an appreciation and understanding of African philosophy and world view. Key distinguishing features of the discipline include its emphasis on the agency and intellectual achievements of Africana peoples. The mission of Black World Studies is accomplished generically through the accomplishment of specific goals which are then further clarified by learning objectives.
The goals of the Black World Studies program may be divided into the three domains:
- cognitive (What should students know?)
- performance/skill (What can students do?)
- affective (What should students care about?)
Objectives are brief and clear statements of learning outcomes of instruction. Although goals express intended outcomes they are nevertheless conceived of as being broad and employ global language, whereas objectives use more precise terms. Objectives are related to and flow from the goals and take the goals to the level of action by operationalizing the goals.
Cognitive goals promote an understanding of the major developments in African peoples' experiences.
- Among the objectives of cognitive goals are students' ability to demonstrate knowledge of African civilizations and to understand the political, economic, and social movements for the liberation of African people worldwide.
- Students will also understand global linkages between African Americans and other people of African descent throughout the world and understand the impact of slavery and colonization of African peoples and societies.
- Another important cognitive goal, seeks to develop capabilities of students to analyze information critically using black studies theories and concepts. Objectives of the cognitive goal require students to understand Africana-centered theories, approaches, concepts, and research. In addition students must demonstrate the ability to apply data to understand the impact of societal, economic, and political factors on the life chances of people of African descent.
- Students will also write and present a cohesive argument demonstrating knowledge of research techniques and documentation, organization, and the mechanics of writing. Promoting understanding of the academic and career options available on the completion of the course of study is a third cognitive goal that may be measured by student ability to participate in the discipline's professional associations, advance to graduate training, or become a productive and informed consumer of information, data, and critiques.
The performance/skill goal cultivates the ability among students to think critically, analyze issues, and present findings orally and in writing.
- Objectives that operationalize the performance/skill goal entail students demonstrating reading comprehensive and strong communication skills (oral and written) and acquiring skills to collect and analyze data, and exhibiting the ability to formulate research questions.
The affective goal promotes an ethos of volunteerism and civic engagement in the broader community.
- Attainment of the affective goal is demonstrated when students will have internalized their roles as global citizens and applied their knowledge on behalf of the larger community. Active engagement in the community mandates that students demonstrate a sense of social responsibility through participation in community outreach activities, such as service learning projects in Africana communities locally, nationally, and/or internationally.
* Adopted by BWS Executive Committee - 2012. Adapted from "Affecting Institutionalization: Assessment of Student Learning in Africana Studies" by Charles E. Jones, Adele Newson-Horst , Alfred Young, and Shawnrece Miller. 2008. Journal of Black Studies, vol. 39, no. 1 (Sept), pp. 43-56.