Center for Instructional
Innovation and Assessment


Amber Sudduth Bone background
Heather Davidson background
Lysa Rivera background
Goals Contents
Department of Communication Studies

Institutional Goals

Listed below are selected learning outcomes in the area of critical thinking that Western Washington University is actively integrating into its curriculum. Each learning outcome is listed with its definition, along with a description of how Heather Davidson's teaching strategies meet each of these student learning outcome goals.


Critical Thinking

Learning Outcomes Definition Course Outcomes
Identification Accurately identifies and interprets evidence. COMM 308: Communication & Fundraising

Identifies successful and unsuccessful fundraising campaigns and nonprofit organizational efforts in order to interpret and evaluate evidence. Develops a comprehensive analysis of the philanthropic landscape of the United States. Uses evidence-based practices to guide fundraising campaign strategies. Accesses information using effective, well-designed search strategies and most appropriate information sources.

COMM 318: Professional Communication

Identifies professional opportunities and evaluates appropriate application approaches. Determines legitimacy and value of opportunities based on research of industry, company, or organization. Describes diversity of skills clearly. Articulates experience working with teams, including leadership and supporting roles.

COMM 244: Advocacy through Media

Identifies and articulate causes of personal or community importance. Determines what shortcomings exist in the promotion of a given cause. Explains significance of advocacy effort for a given cause based on statistical and anecdotal evidence as it applies.

Alternative Consideration Considers major alternative points of view. COMM 308:

Specific position is imaginative, taking into account the complexities of an issue. Limits of position are acknowledged. Others� points of view are synthesized within the position. Thoroughly analyses own and others� assumptions and carefully evaluates the relevance of contexts when presenting a position related to support of a cause. Cultivates culture of philanthropy among donors of all socioeconomic levels.

COMM 318:

Potential employer is understood as an audience to whom one writes. Industry HR practices are understood and largely adhered to. Marketing of academic and unpaid experience as transferrable skills is evident.

COMM 244:

Multiple viewpoints are considered in the development of advocacy strategy. Demographics considered include age, race, socioeconomics, sex, gender, orientation, and profession, place of origin, geopolitical stance, ability, size, social perception and stigmas, among countless others. Tailors communication strategies to effectively express, listen, and adapt to others to establish relationships to further civic action.

Accurate Conclusions Draws warranted, judicious, non-fallacious conclusions. COMM 308:

Conclusions and related outcomes (consequences and implications) are logical and reflect students� informed evaluation and ability to place evidence and perspectives discussed in priority order. Build fundraising campaign strategies based on evidence and consideration of stakeholders.

COMM 318:

Articulates academic successes as marketable employee skills. Identify and describe positive professional behavioral traits evident in experience and knowledge. Analyze companies to determine proper employee/employer fit. Systematic understanding of integration into organizational culture as a newcomer. Engage positive teambuilding strategies.

COMM 244:

Explicitly describes assumptions and provides compelling rationale for why each assumption is appropriate. Shows awareness that confidence in final conclusions is limited by the accuracy of the assumptions.

Justification Justifies key results and procedures, and explains assumptions and reasons. COMM 308:

Effectively define the scope of the organizational or campaign effort. Identify and explain the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to a given effort. Develop a fundraising plan reflective of the community in which it will be implemented.

COMM 318:

Confidently describes academic and nonpaid experience as valuable professional development. Identifies strengths and skills for employer. Clearly identifies mutual benefits of employment acquisition.

COMM 244:

Demonstrates ability and commitment to work actively within community contexts and structures to achieve a civic aim. Connects and extends knowledge (facts, theories, etc.) from one�s own academic study/field/discipline to civic engagement and to one�s own participation in civic life.

Adapted from the California Academic Press's Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric.


Learning Outcomes Definition Course Outcomes
Rhetorical Knowledge Focuses on a clear rhetorical purpose and responds appropriately to the needs of varied audiences and situations. COMM 308:

Identifies a creative, focused, and manageable campaign effort that addresses potentially significant yet previously less-explored aspects of fundraising. Promotional language choices are imaginative, memorable and compelling. Marketing communication enhances the effectiveness of fundraising efforts by using a compelling (precisely stated, appropriately repeated, memorable, and strongly supported) central message. Language choices represent appropriate attention to audience consideration. Asks complex questions about other cultures, seeks out and articulates answers to those questions which reflect multiple cultural perspectives.

COMM 318:

Understand potential employers as key audience members when creating job application materials. Research and identify key elements of organizational culture, values and mission. Reflect organizational or industry standards in written, verbal, and nonverbal communication. Considers culture as a panacea.

COMM 244:

Identifies key proponents and likely supporters of chosen cause. Designs strategies for recruitment of donor and volunteer support. Implements vast marketing strategies to successfully connect stakeholders to cause.

Critical Analysis Develops, examines, situates, and communicates a reasoned perspective clearly to others. COMM 308:

Organizes and synthesizes evidence to reveal insightful patterns, differences, or similarities related to the focus and approach of fundraising campaign. Proposes one or more approaches that indicates a deep comprehension of audience and intention. Presents solutions sensitive to contextual factors and with attention to reception.

COMM 318:

Creates application materials and professional documents reflective of monitoring and adjusting strategies in consideration of nuances in a given industry, location, or organization.

COMM 244:

Describes the need for support in clear and concise terms. Skillfully explains mutual benefits of donor support. Converts relevant information into a portrayal that contributes to a further or deeper understanding of the advocacy issue.

Composing Processes Understands writing as a recursive process that involves drafting, re-thinking, editing, reconceptualizing. COMM 308:

Design event and promotional marketing and promotion materials aligned with vision and stakeholder needs. Research successful strategies for marketing various campaign approaches and build outreach materials to support campaign. Incorporate feedback into revision processes to ensure outreach efforts are well received.

COMM 318:

Designs professional and application materials through a series of revisions and in consideration of numerous reviews and feedback sessions. Offers feedback on the work of colleagues in constructive form. Revisions include attention to audience consideration, organizational mission and values, stakeholders, language, and visual formatting composition.

COMM 244:

Uses revision in the design process of promotional materials.

Convention Knowledge Uses appropriate conventions for documentation and for surface features such as syntax, grammar, usage, punctuation, and spelling.

Creates and disseminates professional written materials in promotion and marketing efforts for a given campaign. Creates press releases and other written media to support cause, inform audience, and call them to action.

COMM 318:

Designs professional and application materials through a series of revisions and in consideration of numerous reviews and feedback sessions. Demonstrates highest standards of professionalism through written communication.

Adapted from Western Washington University's Learning Outcomes for Writing II.

Information Literacy

Learning Outcomes Definition Course Outcomes
Identifying Need Recognizes and articulates the need for information, identifies potential sources, considers the costs and benefits, and reevaluates the nature and extent of the information need. COMM 308:

Identifies a creative, focused, and manageable fundraising effort that addresses organizational or community gaps in provision of goods or services. Designs strategies for fundraising and community action based on stakeholder insight, evidence-based practice, and relational complexities.

COMM 318:

Insightfully discusses in detail relevant and supported information and implications relating to career searches.

Evaluating Evaluates information and its sources critically and incorporates selected information into his or her knowledge base and value system. COMM 308:

Determines organizational legitimacy prior to enveloping ones� self in promotion and fundraising for cause.

COMM 318:

Thoroughly analyses own and others� assumptions and carefully evaluates the relevance of contexts when presenting a position.

COMM 244:

Explores a topic in depth yielding a rich awareness and/or little known information indicating intense interest in the subject.

Synthesis Applies new and prior information to the planning, creation, and revision of the development process, and communicates the product or performance effectively. COMM 308:

Makes explicit references to previous learning and applies in an innovative way that knowledge and those skills to demonstrate comprehension and performance in novel situations. Educational interests and pursuits exist and flourish outside classroom requirements. Completes required work while generating and pursuing opportunities to expand knowledge, skills, and abilities. Knowledge and/or experiences are pursued independently. Synthesizes in depth information from relevant sources representing various points of view and approaches.

COMM 318:

When prompted, presents examples, facts, or theories from more than one field of study or perspective as they relate to professional development universally. Meaningfully synthesizes connections among individual and collective experiences outside of the formal classroom to deepen understanding of fields of study and to broaden own points of view.

COMM 244:

Fulfills assignments by choosing formats, graphs, or other representations in ways that enhance meaning, making clear the interdependence of language, thought, meaning, and expression. Organizes and synthesizes evidence to reveal insightful patterns, differences, or similarities related to focus.

Responsibility Understands many of the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information and accesses and uses information ethically and legally. COMM 308:

Use correctly all information strategies, and demonstrate a full understanding of the ethical and legal restrictions on the use of published or confidential information. Effectively addresses significant issues in the natural and human world based on articulating one�s identity within a global context. Considers ramifications of information presentation on stakeholders. Takes informed and responsible action to address ethical, social, and environmental challenges in global systems and evaluates the local and broader consequences of individual and collective interventions.

COMM 318:

Reviews prior learning (past experiences inside and outside of the classroom) in depth to reveal significantly changes perspectives about educational, professional and life experiences, which provide foundation for expanded knowledge, growth, and maturity over time. Discusses texts and other sources with an independent intellectual and ethical disposition so as to further or maintain disciplinary conversations surrounding ethics. Can independently apply ethical perspectives/concepts to an ethical questions, accurately, and is able to consider full implications of the application.

COMM 244:

Adapts and applies a deep understanding of multiple worldviews, experiences, and power structures while initiating meaningful interaction with other cultures to support causes of import while considering larger implications of advocacy work.

Adapted from the Association of College and Research Libraries' Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.