PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University has been selected by the Society for American Archaeology as one of eight colleges and universities that will participate in a three-year project dedicated to renewing the undergraduate archaeology curriculum.
Each participating institution will design or revise two undergraduate courses to incorporate a set of principles and guidelines developed earlier by an SAA task force on curriculum. The principles include stewardship, diversity, social relevance, ethics and values, critical skills, communication and real-world problem-solving. The goal is to develop a curriculum that will better equip archaeology students — and the discipline of archaeology — for the problems and prospects of the 21st century. WSU’s contribution will be a course in archaeological field methods, to be taught by Professor William Andrefsky, and one in the archaeological history of the Pacific Northwest, to be taught by Professor Mary Collins. Funding is provided by the National Science Foundation.
WSU and Pennsylvania State University are the two public research universities selected; the other participants, which represent a variety of educational contexts, include Boston University, University of South Florida, Indiana University-Purdue, University at Indianapolis, Hamline University, Albion College and Mesa Community College. Professor William Lipe of the Department of Anthropology will head the WSU effort on behalf of the department’s program in archaeology.
The project as a whole will result in 16 redesigned courses. Each will be taught and evaluated twice at the home institution before all the course designs are published and made available to archaeology faculty nationwide. The SAA estimates that the “renewed” curriculum has the potential to impact 30,000 anthropology majors nationwide, nearly all of whom take one or more archaeology courses as part of their major. In addition, approximately 500,000 students take undergraduate anthropology courses as electives each year, many of which are focused on archaeology.