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Skidmore College
Religious Studies Department

Student Learning Goals

Below are the departmental learning goals mapped to College-wide goals for student learning.

Student learning goals:

  • Students will be able todescribe religious traditions accurately (i.e. without the distortion that comes from romanticization or vilification). (Ia, Ib, IIIb)
  • Critically understand, evaluate, and interpret the imbrication of discourses of religion with other vectors of social/political power, including but not limited to race, gender, sexuality, class, colonialism, and nation. (Ib, IId, IIIb, IIIc)
  • Students will be able to use theories and methods in the study of religion in a sophisticated way, so that they can employ an appropriate theory or thinker’s work to advance an argument or illuminate data (i.e. where sophistication is reflected in the ability to select the right tool for the task).  (Ic, IIa)
  • To have familiarity with theoretical concepts in the study of religion sufficient to recognize the limits and strengths of particular theorists or theoretical lenses. (Ic, IIb)

Information literacy

  • Be able to find relevant and reliable sources of information, assess their value/accuracy/relevance, and effectively use that information. (IIb, IIIc)
  • Responsibly cite sources in written and oral communication. (IIc, IVb)
  • Understand that research is inquiry and evolves by drafting a realistic research plan and timeline, developing questions, testing theses, and revising as needed. (IIa, IIb)

Visual literacy

  • Look in a sustained way so as to carefully describe a religious image/object, noting formal qualities distinct from content. (Ia, Ib)
  • Situate a religious image /object in its historical context, distinguishing between sacred presence and religious representation. (Ia, Ib)
  • Drawing on the preceding skills, interpret or analyze the reception and/or circulation of religious images/objects, attending to how meanings change across contexts. (Ib, IIa)

Technological literacy 

  • Effectively select and use tools necessary to:
    • manage and produce research in religious studies (project management, file management, data collection and analysis) (IIIc)
    • produce complex, professional documents that communicate results of that research and analysis (word processors, citation software) (IIIc)
    • engage in public communication to disseminate the results of research and analysis (presentation software, blogging, microblogging/social media) (IIIc, IIId)

Effective oral communication

  • Participate in and lead discussion, cogently expressing one’s ideas, responding to others respectfully and effectively, and posing generative questions that guide discussion as it unfolds. (IIc, IId, IVb)
  • Prepare and deliver organized and compelling oral presentations using effective delivery techniques. (IIc, IIIc)

Effective written communication

  • Be able to sustain a complex, nuanced argument in a long-form written format. (IIa, IIb, IIc)
  • Contribute to knowledge creation by gathering evidence from primary and secondary sources to construct arguments and test hypotheses, synthesizing new and prior information into a written essay. (IIa, IIb, IIe)