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Nutritional Sciences: Graduate Programs

Overview: 

The Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Arizona offers graduate programs leading to a Master of Science degree and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Nutritional Sciences under the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Our interdisciplinary faculty hold appointments in the College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Public Health, as well as research centers of excellence including the Arizona Cancer Center, Steele Memorial Children’s Research Center, Arthritis Center, Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, Sarver Heart Center, Center on Aging, BIO5 - Institute for Collaborative Bioresearch and Collaboratory for Metabolic Disease Prevention and Treatment.

The Nutritional Sciences Department has two signature research areas:

  1. Bioactive Compounds, Nutrients and Lifestyle: Relationships to Cancer
  2. Metabolic and Behavior Factors Influencing Body Composition

Other active research programs include investigations in diabetes, obesity, immunity, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular diseases.

 

 

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program Learning Outcomes:

1. Critically evaluate nutritional science research and integrate core concepts, principles, and data to deepen understanding of the field.
2. Apply critical thinking skills to develop testable hypotheses, design experiments to test these hypotheses, and interpret and apply new findings to the field.
3. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills.
4. Demonstrate interpersonal skills to contribute in multi-disciplinary collaborations.
5. Achieve a core competency in professional development.

Assessment Activities: 

 

Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program Assessment Map

  Required Courses Semester meetings Annual progress reports Fellowship application Dissertation/Thesis
1. Critically evaluate nutritional science research. NSc 520 Assignment       Committee-completed rubric
2. Apply critical thinking skills.       Committee-completed rubric Committee-completed rubric
3. Develop effective oral and written communication skills. NSc 696B Seminar Presentation       Committee-completed rubric
4. Demonstrate effective interpersonal skills.     Evaluation rubric by mentor and student    
5. Create professional portfolio   CV/portfolio rubric completed by NSGP Evaluation rubric by mentor and student    

 

Assessment Findings: 

Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes
Evaluation from 2015-2016 academic year (all scores on a 5 point scale with 5 as the highest and 1 as the lowest)
SLO #1: Critically evaluate nutritional science research and integrate core concepts, principles, and data to deepen understanding of the field.
Assessed through: NSc 520 Assignment and Dissertation/Thesis Defense rubrics.
Findings:
Average for 520 assignment: 4.6 (5 students)
Average Thesis rubric: 4.9 (3 students)
Dissertation/Thesis rubric seemed to work well for this SLO with additional information from the three individually scored statements. The scores are comparable with the scores from the last academic year.
Based on feedback from our 2014 Academic Program review, we are currently re-structuring the graduate program curriculum. The NSc 520 rubric will be utilized in Fall 2017 while we assess the most appropriate places in the curriculum to evaluate this SLO.

SLO #2: Apply critical thinking skills to develop testable hypotheses, design experiments to test these hypotheses, and interpret and apply new findings to the field.
Assessed through: Fellowship and Dissertation/Thesis Defense rubrics.
Findings:
Average fellowship rubric: 4.7 (3 students)
Average Thesis rubric: 4.9 (3 students)
The Dissertation/Thesis Defense scores are comparable with the scores from the last academic year.

SLO #3: Demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills
Assessed through: NSc 696B Seminar and Dissertation/Thesis Defense rubrics
Findings:
Average for 696B seminar rubric: 4.3 (7 students)
Average Thesis rubric: 4.9 (3 students)
Both rubrics seemed to work well for this SLO with additional information from individually scored statements on each rubric. The scores are comparable with the scores from the last academic year.

SLO #4: Demonstrate interpersonal skills to contribute in multi-disciplinary collaborations
Assessed through: Annual progress report rubric
Findings:
Average Annual progress report rubric: 4.3 (9 students)
There were numerous comments from the faculty mentors about the excellent interactions between the graduate students and the laboratory personnel.

SLO #5: Achieve a core competency in professional development
Assessed through: Portfolio and Annual progress report rubrics
Findings:
Average portfolio rubric: 2.94 (9 students)
Average Annual progress report rubric: Not determined
The portfolio rubric showed an improvement over the previous year. It also continues to show wide variability due to the various stages the student progression through the program and their proximity to graduation. The rubric seems to be working well as a conversation starter and an avenue to suggest network contacts rather than a lack of achieving this SLO. This is the first year students and mentors were asked to discuss professional development during the annual progress report. Due to the inaugural year of this part of the evaluation, we are reassessing the input we received and determining utility for future years.

Overall findings will be presented at Faculty Retreat on 8/15 and recommendations will be followed up by the Graduate Executive committee during the Fall semester.

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PDF icon Composite Assessment Rubrics716.05 KB
Updated date: Wed, 09/27/2017 - 16:59