Skip to main content

Undergraduate Programs Assessment Plan, AY 2016/17 and Forward

 

Summary of Prior Assessment Plans (2009-2016)

Previously, program assessment occurred through several mechanisms, based on a set of 34 learning objectives, shared across all programs within the Environment and Society Department. These mechanisms included:

  1. A survey administered to students in all ENVS courses at the course level. This survey asked students to assess their own achievements relative to the 34 learning objectives, based on the course in question. The survey was administered at the same time as the prior USU standardized course evaluation instrument, which has since been replaced by the IDEA instrument. Data from this survey were regularly collated by the departmental staff and periodically reviewed by the faculty at their annual retreat each August. Usually, these data were reviewed by a subset of the faculty in conjunction with a process of program revision, initiated by other factors, such as a changing market, enrollment trends, or feedback from student exit interviews (see below). The department stopped administering this survey instrument in 2011, when the university moved to the IDEA course evaluation system. The rationale for ceasing use of our own instrument was the inclusion in the IDEA instrument of student assessment of progress on instructor-selected learning objectives.
  1. The IDEA course evaluation system. Starting in 2011, the department began using the data from the new campus course evaluation system to assess both faculty teaching performance and student-reported progress on the IDEA learning objectives. The department head retrieved and analyzed this data for all departmental courses from the website of USU’s Office of Analysis, Assessment and Accreditation on a semester or annual basis. The results were reviewed and discussed by departmental faculty at the annual retreat and/or a faculty meeting.
  1. Exit interviews conducted with graduating seniors. Each April/May, the department head conducted exit interviews with graduating seniors to elicit qualitative feedback on student satisfaction with their programs. These interviews occurred in person and could include one or more students at a time. Interview data were summarized in a report form and shared with faculty as judged necessary by the department head. Often only a small subset of students scheduled the exit interview.

Archived Assessment Plan 2012

Archived Assessment Plan 2009

 

New Assessment Plan (adopted AY 2016/17)

At the start of AY 2016/17, the ENVS faculty transitioned from departmental learning objectives to program-specific learning objectives.  This transition was accompanied by the adoption of a new assessment plan, to measure learning outcomes at the program level. The ENVS Department will begin implementing the new assessment plan during AY 2016-17, with the first set of data collected for spring semester 2017.

The core of this new plan is the addition of course-embedded assessment for the measurement of student outcomes for the program-specified learning objectives. For each learning objective, the ENVS faculty have selected at least one course for embedded assessment. Over the course of AY 2016/17, the instructor for each of these courses will identify the most appropriate assignment or test/exam for assessment use. The table below provides details on this course and assignment specification. The Environmental Studies program curricula are currently undergoing revision by the faculty. As such the course selections listed in the table below are tentative and subject to change as soon as the revisions are completed. The Recreation Resources Management program faculty have not yet completed course selection for the course-embedded assessment. Details for this program will be posted as soon as selection has been completed.

At the end of each semester, these instructors are responsible for submitting the outcomes data to departmental staff, for students in these courses in the designated program. Instructors will convert assignment or test/exam grades (or the relevant portions of grades) to a scale of 1 to 4 and report a frequency distribution:

4 = achieves mastery

3 = achieves proficiency

2 = approaches proficiency

1 = lacks proficiency

In addition, the department will continue to employ the following sources of additional data:

  1. IDEA course evaluations (see summary of prior assessment plans)
  2. Graduating student exit interviews (see summary of prior assessment plans)
  3. USU’s Career Services Alumni Survey, conducted 1 year following graduation

Data from all sources will be reviewed regularly by the faculty, or by subsets of faculty for each program (Environmental Studies, Geography, and Recreation Resource Management). These data will guide faculty decisions for regular program revisions and may lead to specific recommendations for curricular changes at the course-level, as well as at the program-level. 

Course-Embedded Program Assessment Table

Learning Objective

Selected Courses

Selected Assignments/Exams

Environmental Studies (tentative, curriculum currently under revision)

1. Describe and explain environmental issues from a rigorous interdisciplinary perspective by integrating insights based on principles, theories, and information from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

ENVS 2340

Multiple assignments (TBD)

ENVS 3010

Mid-term exam grade

2. Demonstrate understanding of ethical dimensions of environmental issues.

ENVS 2340

Multiple assignments (TBD)

New course under development

TBD

3. Apply, evaluate, and interpret appropriate quantitative methods (e.g. geographic information systems, statistics, and systems modeling) to gain information and understanding of environmental problems.

GEOG/WILD 1800

Labs

Revised ENVS 3500

Find and assess a correlation interpreted as causation, a "false" graph (or a graph that due to scaling showcases inaccurate information) and a biased study within the news and/or social media outlets. Explain why the mistake is made and what the article is actually suggesting.

ENVS 3010

Benefit-cost assignment

4. Synthesize and integrate material in interdisciplinary team-structured activities.

ENVS 2340

A.  A group discussion
B. Group oral presentations
C.  Group posters

ENVS 4700

Service Learning Project (majority of grade)

5. Communicate information necessary to understand environmental problems and solutions in written, oral, and visual formats to professional and lay audiences in a manner that is both scientifically accurate, relatable and understandable by the audience.

ENVS 2340

A.  Group discussions
B.  Group presentations
C.  Group poster presentations
D.  Individual NRSIA article analysis

ENVS 4700

Service Learning Project (majority of grade)

ENVS 5000

Final project report: students are asked to apply the full suite of course concepts to a nonprofit organization in which they have been performing volunteer service during the semester.

6. Demonstrate understanding of how the interactions between humans and the environment affect human health, ecosystem health, resource availability, sustainability, and political stability.

ENVS 2340

A.  Two tests and a final exam
B.  NRSIA article analyses
C.  No-pressure quizzes

ENVS 4700

A.  In-class discussions
B.  Online discussions
C.  Service -learning project (majority  of grade)

7. Demonstrate understanding of how environmental policy is made and how, together with economic incentives, it structures people’s use of environmental resources.

ENVS 3010

mid-term; grade on legal case briefs

Geography

1. Demonstrate proficiency in application of basic geographic terminology, principles, and concepts.

GEOG 1000

Exams

GEOG 1300

Exams

GEOG 4100

Research paper

GEOG 4210

Critical reflection paper

2. Explain the diversity and interdependence of regions, places and locations.

GEOG 4210

County presentation

3. Interpret connections between the natural world and human society.

GEOG 4100

Research paper

GEOG 4210

Field trip written assignment

GEOG 4400*

Disaster presentation

4. Draw knowledge, understanding and a diversity of approaches from other disciplines to synthesize them in a geographical context.

GEOG 4120*

Third essay

GEOG 4210

TBD

GEOG 4400*

Midterm and final exams

5. Apply geographic information systems (GIS) to the analysis of geographic data and spatial relationships.

GEOG 1800

Final project

 

WATS 4930**

Labs

WATS 4931**

Research project

6. Apply and interpret appropriate basic statistical and other quantitative analyses for geographic data, including spatially-explicit data.

STAT course

Course grade

 

GEOG 1800

Final exam; final project

WATS 4930**

Lab on spatial statistics

WATS 4931**

Research project

7. Communicate geographical ideas and information effectively and fluently by written (w), oral (o) and visual (v) means.

GEOG 1800 (v)

Final project

GEOG 4120* (o, w)

Third essay; group presentation

GEOG 4210 (o, w)

County presentation; critical reflection paper; group project and presentation

*course required only for the Human-Environment Geography Emphasis

**course required only for the Geographical Information Science Emphasis (name change pending approval)

Recreation Resources Management

1. Identify and articulate central foundations, theories and ideas, and best approaches and practices in RRM.

ENVS 3300



ENVS 4130



ENVS 4500


ENVS 4600

Multiple assignments (quizzes/exams, exervises, writing assignments)

Writing Assignments- Final Research Project Paper


Writing Assignments- Final Research Project Paper

Multiple assignments (quizzes/exams, exercises, writing assignments)

2. Utilize theories, principles, and knowledge of RRM to address management issues and challenges.

 ENVS 3300



ENVS 4130


ENVS 4500


ENVS 4600



ENVS 4920

Multiple assignments (quizzes/exams, exercises, writing assignments)

Writing Assignments- Final Research Project Paper

Writing Assignments- Final Research Project Paper

Multiples assignments (quizzes/exams, exercises, writing assignments)

Final Report

3. Utilize theories, principles, and knowledge of related disciplines to address management issues and challenges.

ENVS 3300



ENVS 4130


ENVS 4500


ENVS 4600



ENVS 4920

Multiple assignments (quizzes/exams, exercises, writing assignments)

Writing Assignments- Final Research Project Paper

Writing Assignments- Final Research Project Paper

Multiple assignments (quizzes/exams, exercises, writing assignments)

Multiple assignments (quizzes/exams, exercises, writing assignments)

4. Quantify and analyze recreational use and associated impacts utilizing research approaches and methods, sampling and measurement, and data analysis techniques for managing recreation resources.

Revised ENVS 3500

ENVS 4500

ENVS 4550

Final synthesis project

Final Research Project

Final Research Project Report and Presentation

5. Write logical and analytical papers supported by appropriate research.

 ENVS 4130


ENVS 4500

 Writing Assignments- Final Research Project Paper

Writing Assignments- Final Research Project Paper

6. Determine, apply, and interpret appropriate basic statistical or other quantitative analyses to RRM data.

 ENVS 3500- Revised

ENVS 4550

 TBD

Final Research Project Report and Presentation

7. Productively conduct group/team work to deliver professional quality presentations and reports.

 ENVS 4130


ENVS 4500


ENVS 4550

Final Research Project Presentation

Final Research Project Presentation

Final Research Project Presentation

8. Demonstrate basic competency in the use of geographic information systems and field data collection using global positioning systems

GEOG/WILD 1800

Final project