Spotlight on Program Improvements

Spotlight on Program Improvements

MA History
Outcome One
Program Improvements: Assessment
Some curricular changes are possible. In the fall, we will again offer a graduate research seminar. At that time, we will conduct a pre-test of students in the beginning of the semester to determine their preparation in historical methods and historiography. The pre-test will consist of a short essay on the historiography of a subject that the students feel knowledgeable in. The results of that pre-test will be compared with end of the semester results to judge improvements during the course. There will also be a mid-semester assignment on definitions of historiography and historical method that will have as its aim improving student understanding of this core skill.
BA Speech Communication
Outcome Five
Program Improvements: Community Outreach
Considering student response and the response of peers at the national level, we will foster growth in service learning as a first step response to improve outreach activity by adding service learning to SP 420, Political Communication, and SP 520, a new curricular offering in Political Communication Theory. We added one section of service learning to our basic speaking sections for spring '04 and will offer two sections again next fall for Speech majors only.
BS Fishery Biology
Outcome One
Program Improvements: Student Learning
A. Faculty Strategies to Improve Results
1. An evolution/genetics course requirement was added to the WB major- this should address weaknesses students showed in this area (questions 39, 61).

2. FW370 now incorporates more emphasis on mathematical and statistical knowledge in addition to study design fundamentals to address identified weaknesses. Faculty have met to coordinate courses at the junior (FW370) and senior level (FW401 and FW471) to create linkages among the courses and to insure that later classes build on knowledge gained in earlier courses.

3. Changes were made to our entry level courses (FW100, FW192, FW200) to allow faculty to target material more specifically at majors. Non-majors will now be exposed to our field in FW200, at different level than in our majors’ courses. We also decided to better coordinate introductory material presented in those courses with our FW360 course (particularly in the areas of population dynamics and their applications to management).
MS Design and Merchandising
Outcome Two
Program Improvements: Student Learning
1. The instructors for DM 501 and DM 551 will continue to emphasize the importance of disseminating research and creative scholarship and will address the processes for doing so.

2. The Graduate Committee will encourage faculty to work with students on the development of conference submissions and manuscripts.

3. The Graduate Committee will encourage faculty to develop course assignments that could provide a foundation for a conference or exhibition submission or journal manuscript. Eulanda Sanders has taken this approach with AM 546, and this has led to increased design submissions. Jen Ogle has redesigned the AM 550 project such that results also could form the basis for a conference or journal submission.

4. As per the revised DM code, faculty will be rewarded for mentoring graduate students and for helping graduate students to disseminate their work via conference presentation, design exhibition, or journal publication.
BS Human Development and Family Studies, 2011
Outcome Three
Program Improvements: Curriculum and Faculty Evaluation Process
Program Improvements & Changes Students are able to find current, primary (research based) sources using PsychInfo, evaluate validity, accuracy, and usefulness of sources, synthesize research evience in the service of an argument/conclusion, and write using APA style. They have an appreciation of internal and external validity, reliability, and the link between research and effective practice. A particular lack is Measurement/assessment, and the faculty will discuss whether to interject more observational assessments, checklists, interviews into the curriculum, either in one class or revisited in separate classes. There is some variability in faculty ratings of students, and future discussions shall focus on standardizing how we are doing the outcomes assessments, and/or whether some faculty may be rating students' improvement/progress over the course of the semester, while others may be using more absolute standards. This will help our outcomes assessment progress.
BS Technical Journalism, 2011
Outcome Two
Program Improvements: Curriculum: Course Redesign
Results of Assessment: Improvements The Colorado State Department of Journalism and Technical Communication has made a number of specific changes as the result of both formal and informal assessments. Those listed here are some examples of changes that have been recently integrated or are in progress. Current redesign of JTC 211, Computer-Mediated Visual Communication, and the associated redesign of JTC 326, Online Writing and Information. This project results from review of annual student course evaluations, which indicated specific needs and differences in level of software proficiency across the student population; professional input regarding types of software and visual communication knowledge most typically required professionally; a comprehensive survey of upperclassmen regarding the structure of JTC 211; subsequent discussion by faculty regarding the various findings, input from Department, College and University curriculum committees, and significant input from course developers in the University's Teaching and Learning Center. This overall process indicated that all students in the program should have more experience with audio-visual communication. The result was a successful campaign by the Department for permission to institute new a student course fee for JTC 211. This fee allows the Department to purchase state-of-the-art video cameras for each student in the course – enhancing their ability to expand their professional skill sets. The JTC 326 course now is seen as the complementary writing element to the software/hardware focus in JTC 211.
MS Human Development and Family Studies
Outcome Five
Program Improvements:
Scenarios with multiple choice answers have been developed (January 2004) and will be administered in staffing (HD678) in the last semester of each year (e.g., May 2004). (See supplement.)
Also in HD677: Ethics, students now write a career paper with steps to success. These papers will be assessed for business knowledge using the rubric for Marriage and Family Therapy Career Plans (see supplement).
Below is a list of recent additions to the program and curriculum that address additional education needs in the above stated objective:
-Officials from the COMFT state board now meet with the MFT students first hand to discuss licensure, professional state requirements.
-Monthly meetings are held in staffing to discuss professional development issues such as several therapists who are successful in private practice have come and shared their secretes to success.
-The attorney who wrote one of the texts used in HD677 spends 3 hours in HD677 discussing business aspects of being a therapist that are imperative to success.
MS Human Development and Family Studies
Outcome Six
Program Improvements: Student Learning
The next time that HD534 is offered (each fall), student will develop treatment plans to demonstrate their ability to effectively assess, plan, and intervene in difficult cases. These plans will be assessed using the first and second sections of the Rubric for Marriage and Family Therapist Core Competencies (see supplement).
Below is a list of some of the additions to the program that will address additional education needs related to this learning outcome:
-MFT students now visit various centers in the community for an extensive lecture and tour including social services where child abuse is reported, and Mountain Crest where 72 hour holds are assessed for suicide and homicide.
-Each student is issued a notebook with decision trees and protocols to effectively intervene in issues addressed in the above objective.
MS Business Administration: Accounting
Outcome One
Program Improvements:
Accounting department faculty met to discuss the department assessment strategy and determine several steps to improve assessment practices as well as student performance. The department established a process for gathering national CPA pass rates and comparing CSU Accounting (grad) student pass rates. GMAT tracking began for MS Accounting program entrance.
BS Business Administration, 2007
Outcome Two
Program Improvements: Learning rubrics revised and faculty training on writing skills coherency
Program Improvements It was noted that student meetings with BUS200 professors had a positive and significant impact on grades and student progress. In the future, BUS200 instructors will continue to place emphasis on the indirect plan and "developed outline" so as to increase student performance in these areas, as well as promoting student meetings during instructor office hours. The communications rubric will be tweaked based upon university-wide peer review comments. In addition, the lead BUS 200 instructor will be presenting a workshop to COB faculty outlining student writing skills covered in BUS 200, so that faculty know what techniques they can evaluate in subsequent coursework.
MS and Ph.D Anatomy
Outcome One
Program Improvements:
The program has been successful in developing a system in which the outcomes assessment grading rubrics are made available to all committee members when their students complete paperwork to defend their thesis/dissertation. This change has allowed the program to gather the data presented, and they are hopeful that these changes will make the assessment process more automatic in the future.

Additionally, These results have been shared with the department with the intention of fostering discussion as to how to strengthen these areas of students’ theses/dissertations, while maintaining the understanding that overall, these are good papers, but could possibly be improved. One suggestion that will be discussed further (after additional students have been evaluated) includes the idea that faculty create more specific expectations within the relatively weaker areas (i.e., Method, Results, Discussion, Tables and Figures) and share these with their students.
DVM Veterinary Medicine
Outcome One
Program Improvements:
An internal course evaluation revealed that students felt the content and PBL process objectives of the course (i.e. problem-solving skills, clinical reasoning) were being appropriately addressed. However, they indicated a need for more emphasis and integration of "soft skills", such as client communication and practice management. These concerns will be addressed by changing the assessment system to more of a portfolio-based system. Students will be asked to complete a minimum of 4 assignments (depending on the cases each particular group completes) in order to pass the course. These assignments focus on client communication and practice management.
BS Human Development and Family Studies
Outcome One
Program Improvements: Curriculum and Research Skills
Program Improvements & Changes Based on senior exit surveys, needed improvements in professional development and research skills were identified. As regards professional development, the practicum course HD286 is no longer required of our undergraduates, and instead, HD277 addresses ethical and other professional topics, and these topics are not combined with the practicum experience. Similarly, based on feedback, we are offering HD350, to enhance program presentation skills and APA writing. Both of these improvements are based on outcomes assessed through the capstone seminar HD492. Both courses are new and, hence, we do not have outcomes assessment related to them at this time. We have found the senior exit surveys a valuable tool, and see in our classes that the students are avid about completing these surveys. Many students have wanted extra time to fully provide their input about their chosen major, and have seen that our faculty are very open about "hearing" their views and making improvements in this regard.
M.S., Ph.D. Soil and Crop Science, 2008
Outcome One
Program Improvements: Curriculum: Added a Course
Program Improvement Based on previous evaluations, the department initiated a 1-credit course, Scientific Writing for Graduate Students in 2008. The course was held for the fourth time in Spring 2011 and is scheduled again for Spring 2012. The course (SOCR 530) is now a regular part of the curriculum, rather than an experimental or group study course, and is taken by most of our graduate students.
BS Computer Science, 2011
Outcome One
Program Improvements:
Program Improvements & Changes Slight improvements in student performance are being realized in programming and data structures, which shows that efforts to improve this area are succeeding. It is, however, clear that the weaknesses measured in the last assessment in combinatorics/counting and propositional logic section of the theory exam were not anomalies and need attention.

The areas of weakness indicated by this year's assessment (and last year's) have been targeted by faculty teaching lower division required courses, and meetings with the Undergraduate Committee and faculty teaching these courses continue to reassess the manner in which particular topics are presented. Efforts in the courses covering the areas of weakness are being targeted for imposing uniformity of content from semester to semester and year to year, and better communication between courses in a sequence has continues to be a priority. It is also being questioned whether too much theory is being introduced into the first and second courses of the required course sequences. We are working on a standard core content for all the 100 and 200-level courses to be followed by all faculty teaching those courses. There is some faculty resistance making this attempt a slow and on-going process.
BS Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism (NRRT
Outcome One
Program Improvements: Student Learning
The data from the Internship Evaluation by employers (Criterion 1) shows that for Spring and Summer 2009 our students did not do as well on their public speaking and writing skills in the work place as we wanted. Only 79% of students scored a 4 or better on public speaking skills and 81% of students scored a 4 or better on writing skills. While still fairly high, these scores are both below the 86% target we set. As such the internship coordinator will work on stressing the importance of high quality speaking and writing skills to students in the Internship Preparation course (NR 387) and will emphasize to students during the pre-internship orientation session to put more effort into their speaking and writing assignment during the internship. During the last reporting cycle for Criterion 2 we saw an increase in the "Professionalism" score for our students during their presentation after faculty agreed it had become a problem and we worked with students to emphasize its' importance. However, it is clear this has become problematic again with only 54% of students scoring a 7 or better on a 10-point scale for this item which is below our intended threshold of 75%. Additionally, "Speaking Ability" was below the 75% mark. Accordingly, we will need to once again specifically emphasize the importance of presenting a professional image during formal class presentations and this topic will be brought up at the next faculty meeting.
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