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University Learning Goals

Development of the University Learning Goals

In the 2008-2009 academic year, a university-wide assessment committee developed the overarching learning goals for Brandeis. The committee included faculty from the School of Arts and Sciences, the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, the International Business School and the Rabb School for Continuing Education as well as staff from Students and Enrollment.  Draft learning goals were developed and vetted with various constituencies across the university.  While the university has now moved to a decentralized model of assessment, these university learning goals continue to define the expectations of a Brandeis education.

Brandeis University Learning Goals

Brandeis Education:
Learning in Service of Justice

A Brandeis education combines core skills, knowledge and social justice. Brandeis recognizes that learning occurs in and outside the classroom and designs its programs to enable students to meet the learning goals listed below.

Inspired by our namesake, Justice Louis Brandeis, we seek to produce graduates who have a desire to inquire and learn throughout their lives and who will endeavor to advance justice in the world.


Core Skills

Master communication skills.
Specifically, our graduates should be able to express clearly facts, ideas, opinions and beliefs in a variety of written and oral formats.

Master quantitative skills.
Specifically, our graduates should be able to:
  1. collect, interpret and effectively utilize numerical data and quantitative information;
  2. use mathematical and other abstract models to express and understand causal relationships.
Exhibit strong critical thinking skills.
Critical thinking allows for the clarification of ideas and the development of new ideas that are useful and worthy of further elaboration.

Specifically, our graduates should be able to:

  1. analyze, interpret and synthesize information and ideas from diverse sources, including different types of texts (e.g., oral, written, visual and performance-based);
  2. evaluate the relevance and validity of information, empirical evidence and theoretical arguments;
  3. solve challenging problems and arrive at reasoned conclusions.



Demonstrate ability to engage in research and scholarship.
Specifically, our graduates should:
  1. possess a substantial core of knowledge in their chosen field(s);
  2. understand the resources and methods of their chosen field(s);
  3. use knowledge to raise and explore new questions, theories and problems.
Demonstrate intellectual flexibility.
Specifically, our graduates should be able to:
  1. modify their conclusions based on new information;
  2. modify their approach to a problem based on the requirements of a particular situation;
  3. apply different analytic lenses to understand complex issues.
Demonstrate intellectual creativity.
Specifically, our graduates should:
  1. integrate knowledge from the domain of ideas and the domain of experience;
  2. generate original ideas and insights appropriate to a given context.


Social Justice

Participate as informed citizens in a global society.
Specifically, our graduates should:
  1. engage in self reflection, inquiry and learning throughout their lives;
  2. act as socially and ethically responsible members of their communities and the world.
Demonstrate understanding of diverse societies.
Specifically, our graduates should:
  1. exhibit knowledge of and respect for cultural traditions other than their own;
  2. understand the interdependence of people around the world.
Engage in service throughout their lives.
Specifically, our graduates should:
  1. follow the example of Justice Brandeis by contributing to the creation of a just society;
  2. exemplify the value of altruism by volunteering and acting as advocates.


Note: Some of the language and concepts here were influenced by the six principles of undergraduate learning developed by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and materials from the Liberal Arts Education Assessment web site at Wabash College.