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The University of New Mexico requires all academic programs to design learning outcomes that provide an intellectual guideline for what students should ultimately gain from their degree program. To help academic programs determine whether or not students are effectively mastering material and achieving the learning goals that have been designed, programs utilize assessment tools to evaluate student performance. Below is information on LAS Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) and Assessment for undergraduate and graduate students.
The Latin American Studies (LAS) Program is designed to provide students with a broad yet solid interdisciplinary foundation. Undergraduate students complete at least two semesters of 300-level Spanish or Portuguese, with supplementary skills in a second language [Spanish, Portuguese, Quechua, or K’iche’ Maya). All undergraduate LAS majors select one of three Core Areas. Between their Core Area and Electives, they complete coursework in at least three different disciplines. The Core Areas are: (1) Humanities (i.e., art history, literature and culture, history, media arts, religious studies); (2) Social and Natural Sciences (i.e., anthropology, biology, community and regional planning, economics, history, management, political science, sociology); (3) Core Area Focus (self-designed) (ex. environment and ecology; development; gender; U.S.-Latin American relations). Approximately 65 percent of their area studies course work focuses on either the Social/Natural Sciences or the Humanities, providing significant structure and focus.
Goal 1: Students will acquire knowledge of at least three dimensions-historical, literary, economic, etc.-of local, regional, and international processes in Latin America.
Goal 2: Students will think critically and solve problems on Latin American topics through the lens of various disciplinary perspectives.
Goal 3: Students will become clear and effective communicators in English and in either Spanish or Portuguese.
Goal 4: Students will become intercultural communicators, with communicative proficiency in one Latin American language, being able to demonstrate an understanding and acceptance of cultural differences while communicating.
Before graduation, every LAS major must submit to the LAII Associate Director for Academic Programs a research paper of at least 5-pages in length, written by the student in a 300- or 400-level class, after she or he has completed 24-36 hours of LAS course work. The paper must have at least 40% Latin American content and should relate to the student's chosen core area of focus (either Humanities or Social Sciences). It should employ research methods appropriate to the discipline, using data and/or secondary sources, and developing a coherent argument.
The Latin American Studies (LAS) Program is designed to provide MA students with a broad yet solid interdisciplinary foundation. The MA in Latin American Studies is designed to prepare students for careers in government service, teaching, scholarship, business, travel, and tourism, and inter-American and/or non-governmental organizations. In addition, the program complements graduate work in a student's chosen professional field (i.e. dual degrees: the LAS Program has five formalized dual-degree programs with Community & Regional Planning, Education (LLSS), the Law School, Public Health, and the Robert O. Anderson Schools of Management) and provides graduate training in preparation for the pursuit of a disciplinary or interdisciplinary PhD.
Goal 1: Students will develop in-depth knowledge in two fields of concentration in Latin American Studies, including at least one disciplinary field of study.
Goal 2: Students will learn theory and/or research methods in two disciplines.
Goal 3: Students will develop and utilize academic forms of written and oral communication to present their research.
Goal 4: Students will develop and apply interdisciplinary of methods to Latin American topics.
There are generally two routes for completing M.A. degree requirements.
Plan I: involves course work, a master's thesis (that has a primary focus on one concentration but draws on theories and substantive content from the second concentration), oral defense of the thesis, and satisfactory performance on a comprehensive examination in one field.
Plan II: involves course work and satisfactory performances on comprehensive examinations in two fields.
Thesis option- Students must select two areas of concentration. Students are required to present an oral defense of the thesis before a thesis committee composed of at least two faculty members in one area of concentration and one faculty member from the second area of concentration. Students also are required to sit for the comprehensive examination in the second area of concentration, administered by two faculty members from that concentration.
Non-thesis option- Students must select two areas of concentration. Students are required to sit for the comprehensive examinations in both areas of concentration. The examinations are administered by a Committee on Studies (COS) composed of two faculty members from each concentration.