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Faculty Learning Community

Last Modified Date: 
03/15/2012
Faculty Learning Community

The Animal Science Department’s Participation in the Faculty Learning Community Project on Program Assessment

 

The Faculty Learning Community (FLC) on Program Assessment is a community of colleagues working together to develop faculty knowledge of and expertise with program assessment through study, support, and individually- or collaboratively-designed projects of benefit to FLC members, their departments, and our university community.

Members are faculty who  1) want to learn about program level assessment in order to be resources for their departments and colleagues; 2) recognize that well done program assessment allows their departments/programs to promote to external constituencies the good work that they do to advance student learning; 3) understand that program-level assessment, when done well, results in improvements to curriculum, teaching, and student learning; and 4) are interested in conducting a project to improve their own program assessment.

FLC members meet monthly. These meetings will include a year of study, programming, and discussion related to assessment, program review, and student learning where you will be invited to create your own project related to student learning outcomes The second year in the FLC will be devoted to sharing new knowledge from your project with others in the FLC, your department/program, and the university community.

Wendy Davis, the department’s contact for assessment was chosen for participation in the assessment FLC. The following is the proposal/outline for the two part project.

Part 1

Background

During the Department’s undergraduate curriculum and outcomes review project (described elsewhere), the faculty expressed concern over students not being prepared for a number of ANS upper division courses. It was the feeling that the students did not have the base of knowledge needed to be successful in the course – they lacked the specific knowledge gained in the pre-requisite courses that is used as the “jumping off point” for the advanced courses. In many cases this forces too much class time to be spent on getting up to speed to move forward.

Two basic causes were identified, the students didn’t get what was needed out of the courses they took or they had not taken the pre-requisite courses.

Until recently, it was difficult to enforce course requisites at the time of enrollment. With the new registration system, it is relatively easy to block registration for those who do not have the requisite courses completed. The faculty agreed that all courses should utilize this technology starting during the enrollment period for the Fall 2012 semester.  

The first part of the project is to compare the perceived/actual deficiencies identified by the instructors of all Animal Sciences courses that had listed pre-requisite courses from the last time the course was taught without enforcing the requisite coursework and for the first time the course is taught when all the students have completed the listed requisite course work.

This should help identify some of the effects of students in the course being prepared for the class due to having completed the appropriate coursework as well identifying any areas of curricular weakness in the student’s previous courses once it is guaranteed that all students in the class have completed the requisite coursework.

Admittedly, the results will be mostly anecdotal, but this transition window was too good an opportunity to let pass without collecting data.

 Part 2

The second part of the project is more directly related to undergraduate outcomes assessment and the difficulty reported by some departments to get faculty “buy in” and subsequent participation in the assessment process. 

The goal is to create a system of education and support of the assessment process that makes participation as easy as possible for the participants.  The system is being designed for an undergraduate program in a small-medium sized department of approximately 10 faculty members who teach a total of 40 courses over the academic year. This may not be useful or practical for a department with a large number of teaching faculty and courses.

The goal: 

Insure that all undergraduate student outcomes identified by the department are effectively presented to the students and accurately assessed and amended, if needed, over time.

The project:

1. Realistic and meaningful outcomes must be created and/or acknowledged and/or agreed to by the faculty/administration.
status: completed as per explanation of curriculum review project

2. An inventory must be created as to where or how this knowledge/skill is presented to the students. In many cases, there are a number of courses that fit.
status: completed as per explanation of curriculum review project

3. Identify the course that best assesses the desired outcome, it may be a lower division course if that particular topic is basic and will be built upon in upper division coursework or a class that is intended to be taken near the end of the student’s undergraduate experience, one that is designed to help the student “put it all together.”
status: completed for RTIP-specific courses, in progress for other ANS courses

4. Identify or help to create a project/exercise that is appropriate to use to measure and then create the instrument to use to record that measurement.
status: completed for RTIP-specific coursework, to be completed for other ANS courses

5. Create the repository system to collect, analyze, respond to and store the information.
status: to be completed for all ANS courses

6. Create a system to keep the assessment cycle constantly moving forward, one that is least affected by a change in teaching faculty.
status:  to be completed for all ANS courses

 

 

 

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