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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Application For Course Approval

for General Education Program

Course Number: APG 327
Course Title: History of Physical Anthropology

Check the general education core area for this course:*
_X_ Letters

Department(s) in which course will be taught: SOC & APG
Faculty member(s) responsible for course: James Loy
Office: Chafree, Room 503
Officce Phone: 401.874.4131

Will non-tenure track faculty teach this course? Yes ()    No (X)

If yes, approximately what percentage of sections will be taught by non tenure-track faculty?

The integrated skills* that this course will focus on are:
_X_ Read complex texts
_X_ Write effectively
_X_ Use of qualitative data

*Note: At least three integrated skills are required.

Course description (as would be found in catalog):
327 History of Physical Anthropology (3)
An examination of some classic works in human evolution and physical anthropology. Designed to provide an understanding of the philosophical and historical development of biological anthropology. (Lec. 3) (L)

Part I

1. The primary learning objectives for APG 327 are as follows:

(a) to provide students with information on the history of ideas in physical anthropology (especially paleoanthropology, the science of human evolution) and to place each theoretical development within its cultural context;

(b) to instruct students in the reading of complex texts, especially the analysis of anthropologists' and other scientists' use of logic, various forms of argument, and qualitative data to reach their conclusions;

(c) to instruct students in designing a term paper and writing it effectively;

(d) to instruct students in the ways past generations of paleoanthropologists and other evolutionary theorists have used qualitative data to argue for their various views.

2. This course qualifies for inclusion in the General Education Program because it introduces undergraduates to the insights physical anthropology (especially paleoanthropology) can provide into human origins (i.e., our biological evolution) and our place in the natural world. It also shows how the larger cultural milieu within which anthropologists work can affect their theories and analyses.

3. APG 327 qualifies for inclusion within the Letters division of the General Education Program because it involves reading and discussing original texts from the 19th and early 20th century beginnings of physical anthropology. Each text is analyzed as the product of not only a particular writer, but also a particular cultural context.

4. Opportunities for practice in three integrated skills areas will be provided as follows:

(a) Reading complex texts. To ease students into reading the course materials, the assigned load has been set at approximately 20 pages per class session. (Much of this material is contained in the two required texts, with several additional articles placed on Closed Reserve at the Library. The Reserve articles should also be available electronically via the Library's website.) Time has been provided in the course schedule for each day's reading to be analyzed and discussed in class so that students come away understanding the author's theoretical framework, style of argument, use of evidence, and conclusions. At times, I may lead the entire class in this analysis. On other occasions, I may break the class into small groups for text analysis, with group reports to follow. Individual students' efforts at reading and understanding will be assessed by their contributions to class discussions, by occasional "pop quizzes" on the assigned material, and perhaps by written exercises keyed to particular texts (these will be designed as the course proceeds).

(b) Writing effectively. As outlined in the course syllabus, each student will be required to design and write a 10-12 page term paper on a topic related to the subject matter of the course. To help students succeed in this project, the writing assignment has been divided into three distinct phases that build from one to the next. First, each student must submit his/her choice of term paper topic early in the semester. This must be accompanied by a one-paragraph development of the theme of the paper and a preliminary list of the references (books, articles, websites) to be used as source materials. Second, the completed paper will be turned in just after mid-semester. This will give me time to read and annotate each paper, giving students feedback on both composition problems and content. And third, all term papers must be revised and resubmitted just before the end of classes. I will then re-read each paper and evaluate it for improvement in composition and content. Of course, I will be available throughout the semester to work individually with students if they run into problems at any stage of the term paper assignment.

(c) Use of qualitative data. Pointing out the ways early paleoanthropologists and evolutionary biologists have used qualitative data to support their theoretical positions will be a major part of text analyses. Initially, I will point out to the class the ways various authors develop and argue for their theories (and against competing theories). J. C. Prichard, for example (see course syllabus), relied mainly on arguments by qualitative analogy from animals to humans as he contended that the human races are not distinct species, but parts of one exceedingly varied biological species. As another example, Charles Darwin's use of argument by consilience of numerous qualitative points to support his evolutionary model will be explained to the students. After a few such sessions, I will then set the class to work (probably in small groups) to identify the modes of argument and the use of qualitative data in later reading assignments. Each small group's insights will then be discussed by the entire class. Students' success at identifying and understanding anthropologists' use of qualitative data will be probed during the scheduled essay exams.

5. Not applicable. APG 327 is taught to classes of 20-25 students.

6. James Loy will be the only instructor for this course.

Part II

A Fall 2002 syllabus for APG 327 is attached to this proposal. Also attached are (a) a guide to citation and bibliography styles for the term paper, (b) a hand-out developed to show students how to outline the main points in one of the assigned readings, (c) a study guide provided to the class prior to the Fall 2001 final exam, and (d) a copy of the Fall 2001 mid-term exam.