Bruce Amstutz
I am not sure how the process has evolved, but Kathie Hunt sent me a version of humanities
outcomes that Davis put together, based on the one that Barry put together, based on the Social
Science outcomes, that seemed to me to going somewhere. I actually felt a sigh of relief when I
read the first four especially. I think that the forth one about the "unquantifiable in human
experience" articulates in a much better way what people have been trying to get to with the idea
of ambiguity. The last three, however, still seem generic and borrowed. I hope that we don't
forget altogether the affinity group's work, which did, after all, come out of the small group
process that some people at the last Humanities meeting thought was important. These seem like
a better pattern to build on than, rather than "adapting" those of social science. The framing of
statements of outcomes in terms of the student, however, is a quality of the Social Science
outcomes to emulate.
Besides the content, there are two strategies that Davis is using that I appreciate. First, I like what
I take to be an effort to be broadly inclusive and yet genuine. The first four outcomes that he
articulates seem to me to be focused on getting to what is distinctive about the humanities, yet
intentionally set in a language which is not puristically defined and narrow. I think that the
"Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts" formula from the UW that we used in making a first
sifting of the IASTU courses may be a little narrow. Second, I like that he makes the effort in the
first two outcomes to articulate them in different levels of operation i.e. "engage in" and
"critically analyze." This is consistent with the multiple modes of human experience of the first
outcome. I think that this could be also applied to the 3rd outcome which talks about reflecting
critically about form. I am including below my own fiddling around with these first four which
adds an "engagement" version to this "critically analyze" outcome.
1.) Actively draw upon diverse manners of human understanding, including aesthetic, cognitive,
emotive and imaginative modes, to consider and give creative expression to a broad range of
human experience.
2.) Critically analyze expressions of human experience, across cultures and through time, that
employ diverse manners of human understanding; including aesthetic, cognitive, emotive and
imaginative modes.
3.) Experience, creatively explore and appreciate the structural, aesthetic and expressive
characteristics of the diverse medium of communication through which the breadth of human
experience has been expressed. (I am thinking of the grain of the wood and how it contributes to
form; the grammar,rhythms and rhymes of language; the touch and gesture in a line of charcoal
or ink.)
4.) Critically analyze and reflect on the structural, aesthetic and expressive dimensions of form
and communication through which the diversity of human experience has been expressed across
cultures and through time.
5.) Consider and value the unquantifiable in human experience and recognize the many ways that
people in all culture and times have found to express, understand and honor that which escapes
I liked that the statements of the affinity group where in an order that suggested a development
from the individual aesthetic level;, to the critical thinking, transformative level; to the social
awareness level.
There could be a humanities version of the gen ed critical thinking outcome that focused on the
kind of critical self assessment and examination that is necessary in creative processes, the
finding of language to critique our expressions, and the importance of hearing feedback for
artistic growth and transformation. Don't we all believe that the disciplines of art and
communication make us grow personally, not just through expanded experiences, but through the
critical assessment of what we say, do, and make?
There is a social awareness outcome in the openness and appreciation of diverse forms of human
expression across cultures and through time. Politics divide us, but the expressions beauty and
the human condition bring us together.
Sorry for the long post,
Bruce A

Bruce Amstutz - Shoreline Community College

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