German and Russian (GER/RUS)

The German and Russian Department offers BA degrees in German, German Studies and Russian.

Educational Goal

In the broadest sense German/Russian majors and minors are receiving a humanities education. It is, therefore, the German/Russian Department’s educational goal that our graduating students exhibit astute reading skills and literary competency as well as advanced analytical writing and rhetoric and presentations skills not just in German or in Russian, but in English as well.

Learning Outcomes for Students Earning the BA in German or Russian

Students will be able to achieve internationally recognized standard of proficiency in areas of speaking, listening comprehension, reading and writing in German or Russian.

  1. Demonstrate mastery of aspects of German or Russian grammar, including spelling, accents, and vocabulary.
  2. Identify genres and the literary, cultural, historical, and political impact of literary works in the German or Russian speaking world.
  3. Apply a variety of reading strategies, including recognizing the meaning of words in context, learning to skim and scan materials, making inferences, recognizing the organizational structure of texts.
  4. Demonstrate advanced writing processes including generating ideas, gathering, evaluating, and organizing material as well as drafting, revising, editing and proofreading text.
  5. Apply oral presentation skills as they relate to literary, cultural, political or business studies.

Specific Learning Outcomes for Students Earning the BA in German Studies

The learning outcomes for the German Studies major are similar to the outcomes for the BA, with the exception of the linguistic component. More work is required in English.

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are assessed individually in each class, through appropriate measures stated in the course syllabi. To demonstrate final achievement of learning outcomes, the department requires a capstone course (GER 399) for the major. The capstone course is taught in different specialty areas, depending on faculty interest, with consistent rubrics for demonstration of achievement of learning outcomes that are consistent across all sections of the course. These rubrics include one final paper or multiple papers in German or Russian (learning outcomes 1 and 4); an oral presentation in German with Powerpoint or some other presentation software (learning outcome 5); a midterm or a final or a series of shorter tests that assess the analytic and comprehension skills (learning outcomes 2 and 3); and finally the course is taught exclusively in German or Russian, including all presentation and written work (though some secondary resources are allowed that might be in English, but only one or two).

The capstone courses for the German Studies (GES 390-397) are similar, but without the linguistic component. This capstone is taught in English and focuses more on written and analytic work.

In addition, the BA in German requires an exit exam test (Goethe Institut Zertifikat Deutsch, C1) and in Russian there is an exit exam compiled by our faculty. Both exams test the following skills, all consistent with the learning outcomes we have put forth for our students:

  1. reading comprehension
  2. listening comprehension
  3. grammatical accuracy
  4. cultural linguistic accuracy
  5. composition
  6. speaking ability / fluency