Departmental Learning Goals
Departmental learning goals mapped onto Bryn Mawr learning outcomes
Bryn Mawr College emphasizes 7 learning goals for its students: writing skills, research skills, oral communication skills, quantitative ability, ability to view problems from multiple perspectives, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving abilities. These goals coincide with the Department of Russian’s learning goals, albeit with the conspicuous absence of quantitative skills and with problem-solving of a specifically linguistic sort (i.e., using a foreign language).
- Writing Skills: We expect our students to develop not only fine writing skills in English, but also proficient Russian language writing skills. This is particularly important for our Russian Flagship students, all of whom must take Russian for Pre-Professionals, an upper-level set of Russian language courses designed to improve students’ advanced writing skills in Russian.
- Research Skills: We expect our students to be able to conduct research in both English and Russian, particularly in preparation for their senior thesis course. While students conduct research in Russian in the upper-level language courses and for the Russian thesis, we hope to implement more research-related projects in our lower-level English-language courses on Russian literature and culture.
- Oral Communication Skills: We place considerable emphasis on oral communication skills, given that we expect those students who complete the Russian major at Bryn Mawr to communicate efficiently in Russian (as well as in English). Although students achieve varying levels of Russian proficiency depending on how much time they spend abroad during college in a Russian-speaking country and how much Russian they take while at Bryn Mawr, we expect our students to achieve the advanced level of Russian proficiency by their senior year (ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, 2012).
- Ability to View Problems from Multiple Perspectives: One of the great benefits of learning a foreign language is the opportunity to see the world from the perspective of a foreign culture. We therefore expect our students to not merely see Russia through their own native perspective but to understand how Russian speakers see the world. Our courses devoted to the Russian language, literature, history, culture, and so forth all foster this skill in varying ways.
- Critical-Thinking Skills: We expect our students to have well-developed analytical skills by their senior year. Critical-thinking is not necessarily a prominent component of lower-level Russian language courses, but it is an important facet of our upper-level Russian courses (RUSS201: Advanced Russian and above) and for our literature, culture, and history courses taught in English.
- Problem-Solving Skills: Problem-solving of a linguistic nature is a prominent component of the language-learning process. When we administer oral Russian exams for Russian majors, we expect our seniors to be able to navigate complex social situations in Russian.
We place explicit emphasis on these six learning goals/skills for our Russian majors and we continue to hone our assessment of these skills each academic year. By emphasizing these skills, we feel we can further enhance the Russian major at Bryn Mawr.