Mission Statement

In keeping with the University’s mission, the History and Political Science department is dedicated to providing students with a broad range of opportunities in general-education and discipline-specific courses. Our faculty members are committed to quality teaching, mentoring, and research. The History and Political Science department continually strives to provide a reflective, multicultural, and international perspective for students to actively engage in.

Program Learning Outcomes

History Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Learning outcomes in History (and in History and Social Studies Education) content areas are the skill-sets, competencies, and knowledge students should acquire in their discipline before graduation. The following criteria are for majors and relate to the acquisition and mastery of historical knowledge, thinking, and skills.

    I. Historical Knowledge

    Understand a wide range of historical  information

    • identify the key events which express/define change over time in a particular place or region
    • identify factors in human change over time

    Explain historical continuity and change

    • describe the influence of political ideologies, economic structures, social organization, cultural perceptions, and natural environments on historical events
    • discuss the ways in which factors such as race, gender, class, ethnicity, region and religion influence historical narratives 

    II. Historical Thinking

    Recognize the pastness of the past

    • explain how people have existed, acted and thought in particular historical periods
    • explain what influence the past has on the present

    Emphasize the complex nature of past  experiences

    • interpret the complexity and diversity of situations, events and societies
    • compare eras and regions in order to define enduring issues

    Emphasize the complex and problematic nature of the historical record

    • recognize a range of viewpoints
    • compare competing historical narratives 
    • challenge arguments of historical inevitability
    • analyze cause and effect relationships and multiple causation

    III. Historical Skills

    Develop skills in critical thinking and reading

    • evaluate debates among historians 
    • differentiate between historical facts and historical interpretations
    • assess the credibility of different sources of information

    Develop research skills

    • formulate historical questions
    • obtain appropriate data from a variety of sources
    • identify gaps in available records

    Construct historical arguments

    • write a well-organized historical argument
    • support an interpretation with historical evidence from a variety of primary and secondary sources


    History and Social Studies Education Program

    With respect to the teacher-training aspect of this program, learning objectives follow those of the Department of Secondary Education, which comprise four clusters of outcomes.

     Cluster I: The Learner and Learning

    Standard 1 – Learner Development

    The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences.

    Standard 2 – Learning Differences

    The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.

    Standard 3 – Learning Environments

    The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self- motivation.

     Cluster II: Content

    Standard 4 – Content Knowledge

    The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches, including history and other social studies subjects such as anthropology, economics, geography, sociology, psychology, and sociology. The teacher also creates learning experiences that make these aspects of the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.

     Standard 5 – Application of Content

    The teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues.

     Cluster III: Instructional Practice

    Standard 6 – Assessment

    The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making.

     Standard 7 – Planning for Instruction

    The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.

     Standard 8 – Instructional Strategies

    The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.

     Cluster IV: Professional Responsibility

     Standard 9 – Professional Learning and Ethical Practice

    The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.

     Standard 10 – Leadership and Collaboration

    The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession.

Political Science Program Learning Outcomes


The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Political Science began in 2006.  The goal of the Political Science program is to provide a quality four-year program that meets accreditation standards and foster critical analysis of human issues through reading, critical evaluation, discussion, and the development of strong writing skills.  The program dedicates itself to providing students with a broad range of intellectual and hands-on opportunities in general education and discipline-specific courses.  Faculty believes that the discipline of Political Science lay at the heart of the collegiate experience and encourages students to explore the human condition through political perspectives.


Students who complete a B.A. or B.S. in Political Science should be able to

  • Demonstrate critical reading, analytical thinking, advanced writing, and oral presentation skills by writing and defending an original senior thesis in one of three areas: American Government, International Law, or Political Philosophy/Public Law.
  • Analyze and compare public values, political institutions, and political processes of various times and places
  • Demonstrate competency in identifying and comparing various types of political models, political theories, and academic literature
  • Appreciate civic knowledge and understand how it is important for civil engagement
  • Apply competitively for slots in graduate and other professional schools
  • Apply competitively for positions in Political Science-related and other liberal arts-related jobs
  • Create audience-specific papers and presentations that show critical thinking, an ability to use a variety of documents, and linguistic maturity.

Objectives: Each faculty member should:

  1. Teach a variety of courses in the Political Science core and specialization areas
  2. Continue to improve in effective teaching by
    1. setting high expectations of themselves and students
    2. engaging in scholarly research that informs their core and specialization areas
    3. promoting active learning
    4. encouraging collaborative learning and
    5. providing clear assessment with prompt feedback.
  3. Be engaged in scholarly works and share the results of those works with the Political Science community and related discipline communities

B.  Relationship to the Overall UVU Mission

The Political Science program takes seriously Utah Valley University’s mission.  The program provides students with a variety of skills necessary for professional competency in several public and private fields and fosters a desire for lifelong learning through traditional and innovative pedagogical methods, including engaged learning.  Faculty believes that with these skills and attributes, students will be prepared for a constantly changing, increasingly global marketplace of ideas.  This begins through General Education Distribution Requirement Social/Behavioral Sciences category courses, and upper division courses specific to the programs. 

In lower division courses, the program is principally responsible for the American Institutions requirement for General Education, mandated by the Utah State Legislature.  American Institution courses offered by the program include POLS 1000 (American Heritage) and POLS 1100 (American National Government).  As a result of the legislatively mandated courses, a large number of UVU students pass through the program courses.

The UVU mission values include learning and scholarship, critical and creative thinking, academic freedom, ethics and integrity, accountability and openness, engaged learning, diversity, and global engagement.  The program fosters such goals:

Learning and Scholarship: The faculty members believe strongly that their commitments to scholarship and student-centered learning help students keep pace with changing technology and ideas.  Students cannot be encouraged to become engaged in the discipline if their instructors are not. Faculty members regularly engage in discipline-specific research, attend scholarly and pedagogical conferences to improve teaching and networking opportunities, and engage students in learning opportunities such as poll surveys, archival research, and internships.  Instructors help students understand the contexts of other times and places, gather a variety of evidence, and debate rationally in the classroom, helping students take part in the most up-to-date discipline-based knowledge.

Faculty also encourage students to engage their colleagues and the local community through learning and scholarship.  Political Science is applying for a chapter of ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Pi Sigma Alpha, the Political Science national honor society, so that students in Political Science have the opportunity to meet and network with Political Science instructors and students from other colleges and universities.  In the meantime, a Political Science Club is filling the void with a series of meetings and discussions on political topics.  Such opportunities help students become prepared for graduate school, as well as the rigors of the workplace.

Critical and Creative Thinking: The Political Science program’s courses are designed to challenge regularly students’ critical and creative thinking skills.  Students confront and evaluate several forms of information, judge arguments, create realistic solutions to complex problems, and construct fact-based, logical arguments.  Students regularly analyze issues of the past and present, such as black and grey markets, campaign literacy, and a variety of public policies, while considering the consequences of such political issues.

Academic Freedom:  Faculty members believe that there can be no development of critical thinking and creative skills without academic freedom for faculty and students.  The program values a free marketplace of ideas where all students and faculty feel free to question and comment on important discourse.  Students debate a plethora of issues, from the effects of policy decisions based on climate change to setting up clean elections in former Soviet states.  All students are encouraged to evaluate ideas for their veracity. 

Ethics and Integrity:  Through coursework and discussion, students confront opportunities to evaluate how political institutions and political behaviors affect national and global societies.  For example, in some Political Science courses, students learn about topics such economic aid, political corruption, and money in politics.  Instructors encourage students to realize that a lack of political ethics and integrity hurts entire societies immediately and over generations in areas beyond political participation.

Accountability and Openness:  The program is committed to accountability and openness.  It believes that such values are not only something we share with taxpayers, administrators, and students.  Currently, Political Science is actively including students in majors meetings, Facebook updates, and email messages to improve outreach to majors and non-majors.  Students are kept apprised of budgets and program limitations, so that they can gain an accurate picture of how the program works to serve them.

Engaged Learning:  Faculty members are working hard at developing opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom.  Political Science has a well-established internship program that helps students gain experience in the public and private spheres of politics.  Students have been able to get hands-on learning as legislative interns in Harry Reid’s U.S. Senate office and the local branch of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, among many others. 

Diversity: The Political Science program realizes that students are not a homogeneous interest group.  Instructors create safe, respectful learning environments where all arguments are welcome to participate.  Most courses either have the formal Global/Intercultural designation or include perspectives from diverse perspectives.  Such courses include POLS 356G - Comparative Politics of Central Asia, POLS 359G - American Indian Law and Tribal Government, and POLS 4610 - International Law and Relations.

Global Engagement:  It is impossible to have a Political Science program that does not address cultural literacy in American or global areas.  American Institution courses give students grounding in issues facing Americans.  Political Sciences courses address current issues in International Relations (an emphasis within the Political Science BA/BS degrees) and demands students in other courses, such as American government, understand how America’s government’s actions impact the world.


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