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Many Humanities faculty are apprehensive about the national, state, and institutional imperatives for
assessment. They ask how the truly distinctive Humanities learning outcomes can be evaluated using the quantitative methods that assessment seems to demand. Attempts to measure these qualitative educational outcomes, they fear, are more likely to eviscerate than to enhance their programs.

However, major Humanities theorists such as Johanna Drucker1 and Bruno Latour2 have argued for the desirability of measuring qualitative values. Likewise, Gerald Graff, while president of the largest professional organization of Humanities scholars, the Modern Language Association, has advanced the benefits of assessment.3

The National Symposium on Assessment in the Humanities brought together several Humanities
scholars who contributed to Literary Study, Measurement, and the Sublime: Disciplinary Assessment, a publication of the Teagle Foundation, to discuss ways that assessment can help Humanities
programs achieve their educational goals and strengthen Humanities disciplines as a whole by helping the public understand the value of Humanities education.

1. Johanna Drucker, "Humanities Approaches to Graphical Display." Talk given at MIT, 5/16/10. View at mitworld.mit.edu/video/796.
2. Bruno Latour and Vincent Antonin Lepinay, The Science of Passionate Interests: An Introduction to Gabriel Tarde's Economic Anthropology.
(Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2009).
3. Gerald Graff, "Message from the President: Assessment Changes Everything." http://www.mla.org/blog&topic=121. See also "Why
Assessment?" Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture 10(1) 153-165.

 
     
     
 
The National Symposium on Assessment in the Humanities was made possible by a generous grant from the Teagle Foundation.