Examples of Program-Level Goals at Georgetown

During the 2009-2010 academic year, Georgetown’s academic departments and programs spent considerable time and effort meeting to develop their program-level student learning goals. For some departments/programs, this was the first time colleagues were meeting to explore what these goals might look like. For others, this process reinforced earlier conversations and focused more on how these goals could be applied systematically throughout the program.

To identify their learning goals and reach consensus on them, many faculty members asked: How might we envision our ideal student upon graduation—what would he/she be able to do, know, and value? Others took more of a deductive approach, examining their own courses and determining the key patterns of goals.

At a broad level, the learning goals for the undergraduate majors are as follows:

  1. Recognizing the broad relevance of computational thinking in everyday life, as well as its applicability within other domains.
  2. Developing a high-level understanding of systems as a whole. This understanding should transcend component implementation details to emphasize the structure of computer systems and the processes involved in their construction and analysis.
  3. Understanding how theoretical underpinnings of the discipline influence practice.
  4. Understanding fundamental computer science principles that allow for easy adaptation as computer science evolves.
  5. Recognizing recurring themes such as abstraction, complexity, and concurrency and understand how they have broad application to the field of computer science.
  6. Understanding multiple programming paradigms and learning to program in more than one.
  7. Applying knowledge in multiple software projects and at least one substantial one. Doing so helps demonstrate practical applications of principles learned in different courses.
  8. Demonstrating knowledge and understanding of essential facts, concepts, principles, and theories relating to computer science and software applications.
  9. Deploying appropriate theory, practices, and tools for the specification, design, implementation, and maintenance as well as the evaluation of computer-based systems.
  10. Recognizing and being guided by the social, professional, legal and ethical as well as cultural issues involved in the use of computer technology.
  11. Communicating scientific understanding in oral and written forms. Many of these goals have been adapted from the Association for Computing Machinery.

To support the development of our students’ ability to “think like sociologists,” we have established the following learning goals for our Georgetown sociology students:

  1. To integrate social theory and research;
  2. To apply sociological concepts to real life conditions;
  3. To formulate hypotheses;
  4. To examine critically social issues of importance;
  5. To make reasoned arguments based on social facts;
  6. To apply data to test hypotheses;
  7. To analyze quantitative and qualitative data;
  8. To interpret already analyzed data to generate conclusions; and
  9. To foster imaginations that envision a more just society.

  1. Develop managerial, interpersonal, organizational, communications, analytical, and diagnostic skills;
  2. Develop skills in managing human resources, including recruiting, selection, training, coaching, motivating, and compensating employees;
  3. Think creatively and understand the progression from ideas to innovations and organizations;
  4. Understand the ways in which individuals, groups, and organizations change – and develop the skills necessary to create change in those settings; and,
  5. Work and lead effectively in increasingly diverse and international teams and organizations, in changing economic, cultural, social, and legal environments.

Learning Outcomes:

The major prepares for students for a wide range of job opportunities in:

  1. Management consulting firms, which provide services (strategic, behavioral, operational, technological, etc.) to clients in a wide variety of industries;
  2. Innovative and entrepreneurial ventures, including small and family businesses;
  3. Large firms and non-profits in which effective talent and performance management, motivation, and compensation are important;
  4. Any organization where excellent teamwork and strong interpersonal, analytical, and communications are critical success factors.

The programmatic learning goals for the majors and minors in our department include both general and specific objectives.

1. Overall knowledge and capabilities

  • Knowledge of and ability to use various problem solving strategies
  • Ability to justify and explain specific approaches to solving problems
  • Ability to synthesize knowledge from different areas of physics
  • Ability to work in teams
  • Development of written and oral communication skills
  • Application of knowledge to independent research projects.
  • Tools and encouragement to become life-long learners
  • Understanding of when numerical calculations are indicated and the ability to carry them out.

2. Specific physics knowledge

  • Develop a solid understanding of physics, both conceptual understanding and the ability to solve problems in the following areas.
  • Introductory mechanics: fundamental principles governing momentum, energy, and angular momentum, with applications to dynamics of systems interacting via gravitational, electric, and contact forces; connections between atomic nature of matter and mechanics of macroscopic systems.
  • Electricity and magnetism: conceptual understanding of electric and magnetic fields, interaction of charges and fields, Maxwell’s equations, electromagnetic radiation, simple electronic circuits.
  • Statistical physics: basic concepts of energy, entropy, temperature and the heat capacity of solids.
  • Modern physics: special relativity, inertial reference frames, time dilation, length contraction, paradoxes, principle of equivalence; basic quantum mechanics, wave-particle duality, Schroedinger’s equation, the hydrogen atom.
  • Mathematical methods: develop understanding of and ability to solve problems in ordinary and partial differential equations, complex variables, linear algebra, vector algebra and calculus, partial differentiation, multiple integrals, Fourier series, integral transforms, calculus of variations, and probability.
  • Experimental physics: error analysis, curve fitting, data analysis, simple electronic circuits, implementation of fundamental experiments such as optical spectroscopy, electron diffraction and interferometry; learn basic experimental methods such as lock-in amplification, analog to digital conversion, image capture, etc.

3. Advanced physics knowledge

In addition, our goal is to give students the opportunities to explore in depth two or more specialty areas at a level sufficient to prepare them for graduate coursework. These areas include biophysics, optics, microelectronics, advanced classical mechanics, advanced statistical mechanics, computational physics, particle physics, cosmology, nanoscience and soft matter physics.

4. Specific goals by degree

B.S. students: Acquire sufficient knowledge and skills for students to be able to gain admission to and succeed in good quality physics graduate programs (top 100 physics grad schools).
A.B students: Acquire sufficient knowledge and skills for students to be able to gain admission to and succeed in graduate programs in other fields (e.g. medical school) or in jobs in industry and national labs.
Minors: Acquire a basic knowledge of physics sufficient to successfully apply to careers in science related areas, e.g. high tech business, secondary education, etc.

Upon completion of the Russian major, students should be able to:

1. Communication

  • Understand extended speech and follow complex lines of argument.
  • Read technical, scholarly, and literary prose; appreciate and  understand an author’s attitudes or viewpoints; recognize markers of genre and style.
  • Interact spontaneously with native speakers on a wide range of subjects and express and sustain a personal viewpoint.
  • Write detailed texts relaying information and supporting a particular point of view.
  • Access and use the new media in Russian.

2. Culture

  • Understand the place of Russian within the context of world languages.
  • Identify major religious, artistic, and social currents that inform Russia’s past and present.
  • Recognize major periods and currents in Russia’s cultural and literary development.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the norms of contemporary Russian life (e.g., family interactions; popular entertainment; media, including internet; etc.).

3. Academic and Professional Applications

  • Apply Russian as a research tool to a particular academic discipline (e.g., literature, linguistics, history, political science, theology, etc.).
  • Use Russian in the professional arena (e.g., in working for the U.S. government, an NGO, a private company or firm conducting business with Russia, etc.).

4. De-Othering the Other

  • Participate appropriately and meaningfully in a broad range of social interactions with Russians, whether inside or outside of Russia (e.g., cultural and sports events, educational dialogue, religious services, etc.)
  • Share their own perspectives on Russia in a manner that is well informed and respectful.