Statement of Student Learning

In Spring 2012, Macalester Faculty, the Student Affairs Division, and the Board of Trustees approved the Statement of Student Learning. The Statement describes the college-wide values, learning goals, and student responsibilities promoted by a Macalester education.

Summary of Goals and Outcomes

Demonstrate Intellectual Depth and Breadth

Macalester graduates will be able to apply their broad understanding of the liberal arts and their deep understanding of a chosen field to analyze issues, solve problems, or express or appreciate aesthetic values.

Students demonstrating intellectual depth in a field and breadth across the liberal arts will be able to...

  1. Use bodies of knowledge, theories, or methodologies within a field to analyze issues, solve problems, express or appreciate aesthetic values, or achieve desired goals;
  2. Use bodies of knowledge, theories, or methodologies to recognize and address unresolved questions or issues in a field;
  3. Compare and contrast how different fields analyze issues, solve problems, express aesthetic values, or achieve desired goals;
  4. Produce novel applications, creative expressions, or new insights connected to bodies of knowledge from one or more fields.

Think Critically and Analyze Effectively

Macalester graduates will be able to apply their critical thinking skills to analyze issues with an open mind, question their assumptions, and evaluate relevant literature, data, or other sources of information before reaching a conclusion.

Students demonstrating critical thinking and effective analysis will be able to...

  1. Question both stated and unstated assumptions and explore issues from multiple perspectives;
  2. Gather information (quantitative, qualitative, interpretive, aesthetic, normative) most relevant to an issue;
  3. Recognize when further information is necessary;
  4. Synthesize and critique relevant information to formulate defensible conclusions, build upon existing knowledge, or create novel ideas;
  5. Re-evaluate their own conclusions when considering new information relevant to an issue.

Communicate Effectively

Macalester graduates will demonstrate an ability to inform, express, or persuade effectively in writing, speech, and visual media.

Students who inform, inspire, or persuade others by communicating effectively will...

  1. Consider audience perspectives or needs and the context in which communication occurs;
  2. Articulate findings, ideas, positions, or perspectives, or convey information: (a) in writing using many genres and styles; (b) in oral form in prepared presentations, group discussions, or performances; (c) in visual forms such as graphs, illustrations, art work, multimedia;
  3. Listen attentively when interacting with others, either as presenters or audience members.

Demonstrate Intercultural Knowledge and Competence

Macalester graduates will have the knowledge, attitudes, skills, and self-awareness necessary for interacting, negotiating, communicating and forming relationships with people from diverse backgrounds.

Student demonstrating intercultural knowledge and competence will...

  1. Engage with ideas and people that challenge their own cultural perspectives;
  2. Reflect on how their own cultural background may affect their interactions or relationships with others;
  3. Demonstrate empathy by acting in a supportive manner that recognizes the feelings and perspectives of another cultural group;
  4. Articulate the complexity arising from interrelationships between various aspects of culture, such as language, history, values, politics, religion, practices, and unequal distributions of power and resources;
  5. Navigate differences by drawing on relevant cultural frames of reference and adapting their perspectives and behaviors accordingly.

Make Informed Choices and Accept Responsibility

Macalester graduates will be able to analyze, reason about, and describe their own choices, take into account the ethical standards of various communities, and make decisions based on ethical considerations.

Students who make informed choices and accept responsibility will...

  1. Discern how their own choices and ethical stances are grounded in larger community values or ethical standards;
  2. Recognize and compare ethical standards associated with communities different from their own;
  3. Articulate a well-reasoned choice or ethical stance on an issue, while understanding its limits;
  4. Anticipate the intended and unintended implications of their choices and ethical stances;
  5. Respond accordingly to the consequences of their choices and ethical stances.

Engage Community

Macalester graduates will participate in activities that enrich communities and themselves. They will also integrate and apply their educational experiences to meet community needs and contribute to the common good.

Students demonstrating community engagement are able to...

  1. Identify distinctive characteristics of communities (e.g., beliefs, history, expectations, assets, strengths, issues, and challenges);
  2. Describe interrelationships between local, national, and international issues and how they affect communities;
  3. Participate in activities that contribute to communities while respecting their distinctive characteristics (e.g., beliefs, history, expectations, assets, strengths, issues, and challenges);
  4. Reflect upon their roles, motivations, and actions with regard to their involvement within and across communities;
  5. Work collaboratively within and across communities to achieve a civic aim.

Statement of Student Learning (complete text)