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Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work


Mission Statement


Our mission is to raise the awareness of Kansas State University students concerning cultural diversity, the relationships between human biology and culture, the common humanity we share, our shared past and its continued influence on our lives, and the significance of this knowledge to their lives. We believe that understanding the human story, our biology, and cultural diversity is essential for individuals, our country, and the world in the 21st Century.  Our faculty have specific strengths in medical anthropology and world religions, offering certificates in Global Health and Religious Studies.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will demonstrate a depth of knowledge and apply the methods of inquiry in one of the sub-disciplines of anthropology.

Critical Thinking.

Students will demonstrate the ability to access and interpret information, respond and adapt to changing situations, make complex decisions, solve problems, and evaluate actions while practicing the core research methods of an anthropological sub-discipline. 

Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate anthropological ideas clearly and effectively through writing, speaking, and/or other media forms.


Students will demonstrate the initiative to recognize, communicate, and implement their anthropological mindset, skills, and knowledge in a career path of their choosing. 


Students will demonstrate awareness and understanding of the skills necessary to live and work in a diverse world.

Academic and Professional Integrity.

Students will demonstrate awareness and understanding of the ethical standards of anthropology.

communication of results in at least one of the four fields of anthropology.

These student learning outcomes relate to Kansas State SLO's in the following way:


University-Wide SLOs

Program SLO is conceptually different from university SLOS

Program SLO


Critical Thinking



Professional Integrity








Critical Thinking




































Assessment of Outcomes

Anthropology is a diverse field, as noted by Alfred Kroeber to be “the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities.”  Because of this, our students are allowed to forge their own path through the curriculum and emerge with widely variable specific knowledge, skills, and dispositions.  With no shared path it is difficult to find shared standardized assessments.  Therefore, we will evaluate the full academic career of each student and assess them in accord with the specific knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will be required for them to attain their own individualized goals.  Fortunately, due to the small size of our faculty (5) and majors (typically about 15-25 graduating seniors per year) and our focus on undergraduate success, we have the ability to do this through an annual meeting in which we will evaluate each student.

Every Spring (early May) the faculty will meet to assess the program by looking carefully at each student in that year’s graduating class.  We will examine key relevant assessments (listed below).

Throughout this process we will assess

  1. how well our program served them in attaining these learning outcomes
  2. the quality of our assessments in gathering the appropriate information needed, and
  3. how suitable these outcomes are for their life and career.

Our goal will be to remediate any identified shortcomings of our curriculum, specific assessments, and/or the assessment process as a whole.

Key Relevant Assessments:

The following materials will be used for assessment.  This represents a range of possibilities, not a list of requirements.  Students are not required or expected to produce all of these materials, and faculty are not required to assess all of these materials.  These just represent the most relevant assessment materials that might be available for assessing a student outcome. 

Mentorship: Every student is assigned a faculty mentor who they meet with twice per year.  During our annual meeting, the mentor will provide information about the students goals, their path toward achieving those goals, and present any key contextual factors that might be relevant to the assessment.

ANTH 301 Performance: Our “initiation” class for all incoming majors is the only course that all majors are required to take.  They receive an introduction to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of anthropologists and perform several assignments that may be used as a baseline for us to assess where they started the program.

Advanced Electives: We offer a wide variety of electives with a wide variety of requirements and assessments.  During our annual assessment a faculty member can show any student work that they think might be relevant to assessing the learning outcome for a student.

Extraordinary Opportunities:  We offer over 30 teaching assistantships annually, research opportunities, internship opportunities, and money for travel, training, field school. research, and conferences.  Many of these activities are opportunities for faculty to closely observe a student’s professional development.

Sapiens Symposium:  Each year we hold a student conference called “The Sapiens Symposium” in which students present their work.  In the month leading up to this we also have an essay contest for the annual “Ibn Battuta Award” and several students use the symposium as a warm-up before presenting their work at larger regional and national professional conferences.  Although not all seniors present at the conference, they are encouraged to do so, and many do.  Presentations here, and submissions to the Ibn Battuta and other awards, offer an opportunity to assess all six outcomes.  Many students will have also given a short presentation at the Sapiens Symposium as part of our ANTH 301 Initiation class, which can provide a benchmark for assessing improvement.

Methods & Independent Readings: Methods courses and Independent Readings create substantial opportunities for 1-on-1 mentorship and nuanced assessment of each learning outcome. 

Grants, Applications, CVs, etc.:  Working with their mentors and other faculty students usually produce graduate school essays, CVs, grant applications, and other materials as they prepare for the transition out of college. 

Senior Letter  Graduating seniors will also be asked to write a reflection on their growth and experiences in our program, and share at least one “showcase” example of their work. 


Summary of 2021-2022 Assessment

We looked at the full body of work of each of our graduating seniors and assessed their growth relative to their own specific career goals.  Through this process, we found that all of our students showed tremendous growth.  All students reached proficiency in knowledge, communication, diversity, and integrity, and all but one student reached proficiency in critical thinking and agency.  Students reported that we offered “a degree in life” that expanded beyond the academic realm.  They appreciated our focus on mentorship and commitment to their individualized career goals.  Over half of our graduating seniors met or exceeded their initial career goals in a wide range of endeavors.  One student received a Fulbright to study in Austria, two went on to further study in medicine, four more have promising jobs in the career of their choice (digital video, archives, sustainability, and modeling), and one has made her own career with over 100,000 followers on YouTube.  One challenge we discovered is the steep learning curve for incoming transfer students or students who join anthropology in their Junior year and are not prepared for the type of writing and research that we do.    Another challenge is helping students achieve a sense of “agency” which we define as “the initiative to recognize, communicate, and implement their anthropological mindset, skills, and knowledge in a career path of their choosing.”   We implemented some new advising and mentoring protocols to address these issues.