Our mission:

Our mission is to raise the awareness of Kansas State University students concerning cultural diversity, the common humanity we share, and the significance of this knowledge to their lives. We believe that understanding cultural diversity is an essential survival tool for the twenty-first century. Since anthropologists are the leading source of information on different peoples around the world, our courses are designed to introduce students to the concept of cultural diversity and many related issues.  Anthropology provides an excellent knowledge and skills base for students seeking employment with a bachelor's degree in a wide variety of employment settings. Cultural resource management firms, public health, public administration, marketing, museums and zoos, the military, and social services are some of the many areas that have drawn on the training and experience of anthropology majors. A strong anthropological background offers excellent preparation for those entering graduate studies in anthropology and related fields, and in pursuing other professional training, especially medicine and law.

We have developed 6 Student Learning Outcomes (SLO's) that we continuously assess to make sure we are achieving this mission.  Because Anthropology is such a diverse field, we strive to make sure students are able to  demonstrate achievement in 2 of the 5 following SLO's (specific to each field of anthropology):

Cultural Diversity (cultural anthropology):

Students should be able to:

  • • Identify ways in which different aspects of culture – economic, social, political, and religious practices and institutions – relate to one another in a cultural system (holism),
  • • Draw comparisons between different cultures, past and present, recognizing that such comparisons require a holistic understanding of each of the cultures involved in the comparison, and
  • • Describe the processes of globalization and the ways they shape and are shaped by different aspects of culture in human communities throughout the world.
Dynamic Nature of Culture (archaeology):

Students should be able to:

  • • understand culture as a dynamic system of adaptation
  • • demonstrate knowledge of major cultural developments through time and across the globe.
Linguistic Knowledge (linguistics):

Students should be able to:

  • • apply their knowledge of linguistics to the understanding of foreign languages
  • • demonstrate an understanding of the role of language in shaping culture and world view
Humans as Biocultural Beings (physical anthropology): 

Students should be able to:

  • • demonstrate knowledge of the integration of human biology and culture
Research Methods:

Students will be able to:

  • • demonstrate familiarity with the methods of data collection and analysis in at least one of the four fields of anthropology.

In addition, all majors will be able to demonstrate achievement in understanding and using the Anthropological Approach.  Students will demonstrate basic knowledge of the holistic four-field nature of anthropology and the concepts and integration of culture and biology as used by contemporary anthropologists.  This specifically includes the development of anthropology as a distinct field of inquiry and the relationship between anthropology and other academic disciplines.  Specifically, students should be able to:

  • • Describe the development of anthropology as a profession in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,
  • • Explain why anthropology can be considered both a science and a humanity, and
  • • Describe its relationship to other fields.

These student learning outcomes, along with our other 6 SLOs which are currently being developed, relate to Kansas State SLO's in the following way:

2012-2013 Assessment Summary: 

Anthropology is a diverse field, bringing together 4 very different yet interrelated fields of study. Our faculty covers all four major subfields of anthropology (cultural, linguistic, archaeology, biological) and have worked in every major continent around the world. Their dedication to serving undergraduate students has won them several of the most prestigious university, state, and national teaching awards, and brought world-wide recognition to the program. Our program offers many opportunities to undergraduates that most programs in the world cannot offer. Our students often work right along side us as teaching and research assistants. Our undergrads are offered hands-on training and experience in the methods of digital ethnography, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, and osteology. Such experiences propel our students to win top scholarships and attend the best graduate programs in the world. Recent graduates have won multiple National Science Foundation fellowships and Fulbright awards, among others. 

Over 87% of students leave our popular Introduction to Cultural Anthropology courses demonstrating proficiency in their understanding of cultural diversity, how cultures are integrated, and how globalization is changing the world.  Over 70% of students leave Introduction to Physical Anthropology demonstrating proficiency in their understanding of humans as biocultural beings. Our rigorous upper-level courses have thus far allowed all (100%) of the students who take these courses to demonstrate proficiency in anthropological research methods, and 85% of all majors exit the Capstone course demonstrating proficiency in their understanding of the nuanced and complex Anthropological Approach.

After a long process of revising our SLOs, we are now confident that we have a method that works and is providing us with quality feedback to improve student learning. We have already started adding new courses to improve our program, such as our Academic Skills course, and are changing our other courses to improve in those areas where we currently are not demonstrating the levels of proficiency we desire. 

 As an undergraduate program, we recognize that we are not simply producing future anthropologists. The global and holistic perspective we provide serves them well in whatever career they might choose. Our graduates have had successful careers in a wide range of fields, including medicine, law, public service, and education. We will continue to revise our courses and curriculum to match the ever-changing needs of our students as the world itself changes.

The faculty unanimously agreed that the revisions in our assessment plan instituted in 2009 are much better suited to our small diverse program than our previous plan. In 2009 it was decided that as a very small program (4 to 6 faculty at any given time), integrating 4 very diverse fields in which oftentimes only one faculty member is a true expert in the specific field, it would be best to assess specific outcomes in those courses in which those learning objectives are meant to be achieved. No revisions to this model will be made in the coming years.


The following table outlines the courses in which each SLO will be covered and assessed:


Cultural Diversity

ANTH 200, 204, 505, 508, 510, 514, 515, 517, 524, 526, 536, 550, 618, 630,634

Dynamic Nature of Culture

ANTH 260, 533, 570, 676

Linguistic Knowledge

ANTH 220, 514, 792

Biocultural Beings

ANTH 280, 680, 688, 694, 695

Research Methods

ANTH 519, 626, 641, 677, 678, 679, 680, 694, 695, 697, 730, 792

Anthropological Approach

ANTH 602