Learning outcomes

Bachelor of Public Affairs: Student learning outcomes with WSU’s seven goals of the baccalaureate.

Learning goal 1: Critical and creative thinking

Graduates will use reason, evidence, and context to increase knowledge, to reason ethically, and to innovate in imaginative ways.

  • Demonstrates ability to discern between opinion and fact.
  • Demonstrates ability to evaluate normative claims.
  • Demonstrates ability to make reasoned arguments.
  • Formulates important and viable questions about public affairs.
  • Savors an appreciation for the absurd.

Learning goal 2: Quantitative reasoning

Graduates will solve quantitative problems from a wide variety of authentic contexts and everyday life situations.

  • Demonstrates basic numeracy while avoiding common errors.
  • Demonstrates ability to accurately interpret figures.

Learning goal 3: Scientific literacy

Graduates will have a basic understanding of major scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic affairs, economic productivity and global stewardship.

  • Understands a variety of established approaches to knowledge-building.
  • Understands connection between data and theory.
  • Understands the logic of scientific inquiry.

Learning goal 4: Information literacy

Graduates will effectively identify, locate, evaluate, use responsibly, and share information for the problem at hand.

  • Appropriately employs a variety of sources.
  • Distinguishes between academic and non-academic knowledge.
  • Understands the quality of sources including the role of peer-review and other editorial filters.
  • Employs previous works' findings and arguments in student's original work without changing their intended meaning.
  • Avoids plagiarism.

Learning goal 5: Communication

Graduates will write, speak, and listen to achieve intended meaning and understanding among all participants.

  • Demonstrates ability to use theory and evidence to support an argument or civilly challenge the argument of another.
  • Effectively communicates complex topics.
  • Creates audience-focused content.
  • Employs transparent communication strategies.
  • Demonstrates facility with a diversity of communication strategies when sharing knowledge with others.

Learning Goal 6: Diversity

Graduates will understand, respect, and interact constructively with others of similar and diverse cultures, values and perspectives.

  • Understands the concepts of public interest and public service.
  • Questions, but respects assumption rooted in cultural context or personal experience.
  • Actively seeks to understand "the other's" point of view.

Learning goal 7: Depth, breadth, and integration of learning

Graduates will develop depth, breadth, and integration of learning for the benefit of themselves, their communities, their employers, and for society at large.

  • Applies ideas in public affairs literature to situations not directly discussed in existing works.
  • Appropriately apply analogy
  • Understands the effects of structural or institutional influences on individual experience.
  • Demonstrates comprehensive knowledge of major course of study
  • Relates the specific body of knowledge from the major to key themes in general education.
  • Develops a specialized skill base applied to problem solving.

Curriculum map

Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs curriculum map (PDF)