B. A. And b. S. Geological sciences program assessment plan



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B.A. AND B.S. GEOLOGICAL SCIENCES

PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN

October, 2004


  1. List the OBECTIVES of the Program

OBJECTIVE 1: Graduates will obtain positions as practicing geoscience professionals, or


OBJECTIVE 2: Graduates will pursue a graduate degree in Geological Sciences or related fields.


  1. Explain how the department or program will know the extent to which OBJECTIVES are achieved.

The Department of Geological Sciences Undergraduate Studies Committee will conduct exit surveys of students to determine their future plans. Surveys will also be conducted through targeted mailings to alumni requesting information about their careers.




  1. List the LEARNING OUTCOMES of the program.

OUTCOME 1: Students will acquire the knowledge to understand fundamental concepts of geology and be able to solve problems applying that knowledge.


OUTCOME 2: Students will master fundamental field techniques necessary to the solution of geological problems.
OUTCOME 3: Students will demonstrate the ability to write in a style consistent with that found in a scientific journal.


  1. List and briefly describe the MEASURES that will be used to assess each learning outcome.

OUTCOME 1: A capstone field course will be used to assess students’ ability to apply knowledge learned to solve geological problems.


OUTCOME 2: Same as OUTCOME 1
OUTCOME 3: Term papers, senior theses, and publications in professional journals.



  1. Describe how learning outcomes are made MEASURABLE and BENCHMARKS or other determinants of success are set.

MEASURE of OUTCOME 1: All majors are required to successfully complete Field Geology, GL434, or equivalent, to fulfill the program requirement. At midterm, GL 434 instructors will determine the proportion of students demonstrating an adequate understanding of fundamental concepts in geology (midterm benchmark survey). Students will be judged on their mastery of fundamental concepts such as regional geologic history, the definition and use of stratigraphic terminology, and the interpretation of geologic cross sections. At least 90% of students evaluated will be judged to have an adequate understanding.


MEASURE of OUTCOME 2: All majors are required to successfully complete Field Geology, GL434, or equivalent, to fulfill the program requirement. At the end of the course, GL 434 instructors will determine the proportion of students demonstrating adequate mastery of fundamental field techniques necessary to solve geological problems (final benchmark survey). Students will be judged on their mastery of fundamental techniques such as measuring the structural orientation of rock units, creating a map depicting the geology of a study area, and writing a report describing the geologic history interpreted from the field study. At least 90% of students evaluated will be judged to have adequate mastery of these techniques.
MEASURE of OUTCOME 3: Term papers from writing intensive courses in the major and senior theses will be evaluated for writing style. Instructors in writing intensive courses will determine the proportion of essays that fall into the following two categories: (1) Although the scientific content may not merit publication, the style alone would not prevent the paper from being submitted for publication; or (2) The style alone would prevent the paper from being submitted. Advisors will evaluate senior theses according to these same categories. Included in the pool of successful writing (i.e., category (1)) will be papers presented by students at professional meetings or submitted to professional journals for publication. At least 75% of all evaluated writing will fall into category (1).


  1. Describe the process by which FINDINGS will be derived from the measures.

The Geology Field Camp director will evaluate students’ abilities as practicing geoscientists based on the midterm and final benchmark surveys of students in GL 434.


The Department of Geological Sciences Undergraduate Studies Committee will evaluate the tabulated results of student writing from writing intensive courses in the major and from senior theses.
The Department Undergraduate Studies Committee will compile data to quantify results from above and the number of students completing the MS degree program, the mean and variance for GPA and for time to completion. The results from different years will be compared to determine trends. Compilation of the results will be turned in to and archived by the department chair.



  1. Describe the process by which findings are analyzed to determine what IMPROVEMENTS should be made to better meet objectives and learning outcomes.

Continuous improvement strategies are built into the assessment cycle. Each year the Undergraduate Studies Committee will review the Field Camp director’s assessment of benchmark surveys of students in GL 434 and the reports of student writing from instructors of writing intensive courses. Improvements for meeting learning outcomes may be suggested for individual courses.


Every three years, the Undergraduate Studies Committee will review the data compiled from exit surveys and targeted mailings. Improvements for meeting program objectives will be discussed by the entire faculty at a faculty meeting.


  1. Identify a TIMETABLE for assessment.

The Assessment Plan has annual tasks over its three-year cycle. Exit surveys will be conducted by academic advisors every year as students graduate. Benchmark surveys in GL 434 and reports of student writing will be forwarded to the Undergraduate Studies Committee every year. During year two of the cycle (starting 2005-2006) a targeted survey of alumni will be conducted. During year three of the cycle (starting 2006-2007), the Undergraduate Studies Committee will compile all information and make recommendations to the entire department faculty.




  1. Briefly explain how the program’s assessment plan supports and interacts with ACCREDITATION and LICENSURE requirements (if applicable).

Not applicable




  1. Describe how the objectives and learning outcomes of the program are COMMUNICATED to students and others.

The Objectives and Outcomes will be incorporated into the department description in the Undergraduate Catalog. They will be included on requirement check-sheets for degree options, which are given to students as they begin the program. They will also be posted on the department web page.


Results of surveys and questionnaires will be published in department newsletters and on the web page.

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