Anthropology (ANT)

The Anthropology Department offers a BA degree in Anthropology and a minor in Anthropology.

Educational Goal

The department’s goal is to produce students who have the understanding of human diversity and multiculturalism needed to lead in a globalizing society and are prepared to assume roles of ethical and moral leadership informed by anthropological perspectives.

Learning Outcomes for Students Earning the BA in Anthropology.

Students who complete an Anthropology major should:

  1. Be able to employ anthropological and social theory in a range of contexts
  2. Have had at least one fieldwork experience
  3. Know how to conduct original research in anthropology
  4. Be knowledgeable about the four subfields of anthropology
  5. In some cases, be prepared for work in specific subfields of anthropology through targeted advanced training with specific learning outcomes
  6. Demonstrate high-level critical thinking skills
  7. Know how to develop and support an argument
  8. Be strong academic writers
  9. Have strong professional presentation skills

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

The Department assesses student progress with respect to these goals through ANT 390 (our student-faculty seminar), through regular faculty discussions about the preparedness of students as they move through the curriculum, by tracking the placement of students in graduate programs and careers, and through an exit survey. ANT 390 provides an opportunity for the entire faculty (representatives of all four subfields) to interact with second-semester seniors in the classroom and to hear them discuss readings and present on topics in each subfield. This class also requires students to write a research paper and to give a professional-level presentation on a topic related to the class theme for that year. In 2010, the theme focused on anthropological perspectives on kinship and family. All Anthropology classes emphasize critical thinking and understanding of human and cultural diversity. Upper-division courses in Anthropology generally require term papers involving original research and the development of an original argument.

The Department recently restructured ANT 390 to give students a structured agenda, with clear deadlines and expectations to assist in developing their original research projects. Students also had increased face-to-face meetings with faculty to obtain more detailed and constructive criticism of their work in its initial stages. This resulted in better mastery of research, argument development, and presentation skills by students than in previous years. Students who have graduated often give us feedback that, although it was demanding, seminar was one of the most valuable courses they took at Wake Forest.

The Department’s exit survey has consistently indicated that students would benefit from a broader range of upper-division courses, both for four-field breadth and, for some students, more specialized preparation for graduate school. In response, the Department developed and offered four new courses during this reporting period.