Founded in 2012, the Humanities and Liberal Arts Assessment project (HULA) research team has taken on the project of understanding the learning theories and related theories of human development that lie at the heart of the humanities. Professional Humanists—those with advanced degrees in humanities subjects— have been passing on their practices and craft knowledge for millennia through master-apprentice relationships. Our goal is to make the implicit craft knowledge and practices of these disciplines explicit.
The value in illuminating the craft knowledge of the goals of the humanities in relation to the methods and mechanisms by which those goals can be achieved is that then assessment becomes possible via instruments developed organically out of humanists’ practices in contrast to instruments imported from other contexts.
These assessment instruments have a twofold value for both professional humanists and those outside the humanities: they should provide for more accurate and meaningful evaluation of outcomes to undergird the presentation of humanities work to those outside the humanities, as well as providing developmental resources for professional humanists that will help them hone their craft.
At Harvard, HULA is a part of the Graduate School of Education's Project Zero. See more here. HULA's new white paper, "Understanding the Contribution of the Humanities to Human Development," can be viewed here.