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Eller College: Undergraduate Program


Undergraduate Program Assessment Overview (2012)

Over the years there has evolved a defining characteristic of the College that we refer to as “The Eller Experience.”  Because of our cohort system for delivering core courses we have developed an extraordinarily close-knit learning community focused on teaching ambitious students about business, economics, ethics, and effective communication.  This teaching environment is augmented by:

·         professional development and experiential education;

·         active collaboration among faculty and students;

·         anticipation of the future and innovation to meet is challenges;

·         fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in students, faculty, and staff

The purpose of the assessment program in the Eller College of Management is to produce feedback for the faculty, departments and administrative units on the performance of Eller students and respective curriculum and programs. The goal is to facilitate continuous improvement in preparing innovative business leaders of the future.

Undergraduate Program

Excellence in the undergraduate program is enhanced through continuously refining the Eller Experience.  We enhance the differentiators that have built our strong reputation for excellence through the following tactics:

 1. Constantly evaluating and modifying the core undergraduate experience with the goal of improving the close knit learning community focused on learning and experiences in foundation business disciplines, economics, ethics, entrepreneurship, effective communication, global understanding, and technology enabled solutions;

 2. Enhancing student preparation for leadership opportunities through professional development, experiential education, and meaningful global learning;

3. Fostering an entrepreneurial spirit though expanding the role and influence of entrepreneurship education so that graduates constantly seek solutions to internal organizational problems as well as create innovative solutions or fill the gaps in the marketplace.

All students become generalists in business and specialists in their chosen major consisting of 18-21 units. Our assessment programs include assurance of learning measures in both the business program and major.

A college-wide assessment committee meets and regularly and reviews the Eller College learning outcomes and progress made in all of the programs and majors.  Closing the loop and continuously improving the Eller Experience is paramount to the assessment coordinators and the faculty governance curriculum committees.  Measuring the effectiveness of what we do is important, but also looking ahead and addressing areas for the future is equally important.


Expected Learning Outcomes: 

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge of Organizations in a Global environment Outcomes

Overall Objective

Specific Learning Objective


Critical Thinking

Identifies a problem and the information needed to develop alternative solutions. 

Critical Thinking

Evaluates alternative solutions to a problem, recommends an optimal solution, and evaluates the efficacy of the solution after it has been implemented.

Critical Thinking

Uses mathematical models and performs statistical data analysis in support of business decision-making using appropriate software.

Critical Thinking

Articulates both sides of an argument, evaluates the quality of arguments and evidence, and constructs and defends the position taken.



Writes appropriately for a given audience with conciseness and clarity using appropriate business software.


Prepares and delivers a professional presentation on a business topic using appropriate business software.


Effectively utilizes data in written and oral presentations to communicate ideas.



Provides and receives feedback, ideas, and instruction in a professional manner.


Organizes tasks and delegates responsibility to complete collaborative projects in a timely manner.


Explains the impact of each team member (including self) on the collaborative project and the role each member plays.


Effectively works with a diverse, cross-functional team towards a common goal.


Business Knowledge - Econ

Explains the relationships among business, government, and markets, including international markets.

Business Knowledge - International

Demonstrates an awareness of global trends and the impact on businesses

Business Knowledge - Accounting

Acquires and appropriately uses information from accounting reports for internal and external business decision making.

Business Knowledge - Finance

 Uses the fundamentals and principles of finance in business decision making.

Business Knowledge - Management

Describes the roles and importance of people and processes in organizations, including the roles that managers play in the various industries and environment of the workplace.

Business Knowledge - Marketing

Conducts consumer segmentation, targeting and positioning to implement marketing mix decisions and communicates how these decisions impact the firm (profit and positioning)

Business Knowledge - Innovation

Generates ideas for innovative, scalable products and services, validates the ideas, develops business plans, and communicates value (social, economic, and commercial)

Business Knowledge - Legal

Integrate analysis of legal issues into business decision making.

Business Knowledge - Operations Management

Describes the issues and tradeoffs associated with creating and delivering products and services.



Demonstrates the ability to use business software and technology appropriately


Describes the appropriate use of information systems in a business environment.


Utilizes technology appropriately in research contexts


Social Responsibility

Identifies ethical dilemmas and develops appropriate courses of action that consider the well-being of others and society.

Social Responsibility

Evaluates the role of legal and social responsibility in business decisions.

Social Responsibility

Engages in public service and professional development activities.


Professional Development

Leverages skills and experiences for career success


Assessment Activities: 

Competency Initiatives

There are a number of initiatives within the Eller undergraduate program in which competencies are measured.  These measures are a critical component of our assessment plan for written communication, oral communication, ethics and professional development.

Pre-professional prerequisite exam (covers MIS 111, Acct 200, math requirement)

 As a part of the Professional Admissions Process (from prebusiness to upper division) students must pass this 20 question exam to achieve admission.  Applicants can take this competency exam two times, if a minimum score is not earned they participate in a review seminar over a weekend with one final opportunity to pass the exam and demonstrate competency. The below data emphasizes the importance of the exam particularly for our transfer students.  The exam helps students revisit their business foundation prerequisites, many attend workshops in preparation for the exam and by the end of the process 100% of the students admitted have demonstrated academic competency in the areas measured.

Skills Assessment Exam Data: Spring 2012 Applicants

Transfer Students vs. Continuing Students:

Transfer Status

Failed Exam (Count)

Failed Exam (Percentage)

Passed Exam (Count)

Passed Exam (Percentage)


First Semester






New Admit






Continuing Student













Passing Skills Assessment on First Attempt:

Applied for Term

Failed Exam (Count)

Failed Exam (Percentage)

Passed Exam (Count)

Passed Exam (Percentage)

Average Score






























Average Scores for All Three Attempts:

Applied for Term

First Attempt Average Score

Second Attempt Average Score

Third Attempt Average Score

















Outcome:  We could tell from looking at the 2121 and 2124 data that our test might be out among our student applicants given the dramatic difference in pass rates.  We also know that during this period of time a for-profit test prep group has been offering workshops to help students pass ($20/student).  As we continue to add lower division new courses, we are planning to continue to change the questions and add more content regularly.  Overall, we believe that students spending time reviewing the prerequisite competencies is time well spent and this is a very effective strategy to ensure students take the foundation courses seriously.  Some of the more difficult lower division Eller courses are considered “weed out” courses by students. We hope that this prerequisite exam helps dispel this myth by emphasizing that learning outcomes are important for future classes.


Ethics module: As a part of our Pre-professional interview process, students are presented with an ethics case.  Candidates are responsible for answering questions related to their position on ethics in the context of the case.  Of 292 interviewer comments reviewed, the average score (1 low – 4 high), was 3.498.  In addition, we selected a random sample of students, pulled their interviewer comments and used these to inform our strategy about this learning outcome.

This is an example of interviewers’ comments for Ethics & Social Responsibility

Ethics:  "good understanding of issues and stakeholders"

Ethics: "clear answer, but she could have backed up her answer more with supporting details"

Ethics: "did not provide a compelling argument for his position"

Ethics: "hadn't thought both sides through, will need to take more time to analyze problems"

Ethics: "Not enough explanation"

Ethics: "pragmatic response, but did not address the (ethical)

Ethics: "she stayed committed to her ethical beliefs which was effective in arguing her point of view"

Ethics: "strong conviction"

Ethics: "was not able to explain feeling on the situation. Could have presented both sides view better"

Ethics: “good sense of community responsibility”

Outcome: Because our required course is often not completed at the time of this interview, we realize that the framework for ethical decisions isn’t being applied uniformly by students to the ethics case.  As a result of this assessment we are developing a group of alumni to help us write cases and develop a rubric for evaluation.  Consequently, we will introduce an educational model and question set to our students before they apply and offer discussion sessions prior to actual interview day.  It is our hope that students learn to apply critical thinking to all sides of an ethical dilemma.


Business Communication (BNAD 314R):


Student writing is assessed with both a pre and post assessment measure to determine skill mastery.   The assessment measures are established to evaluate and provide feedback on professional business writing: critical thinking, the use of logic and reasoning, structural coherence, information design, and grammatical proficiency.   For both pre and post assessment, a professional external grader is hired to evaluate student ability to:

1)    Provide evidence of critical thinking (correctly identify audience, purpose and task.)

2)    Respond with the correct set of data in the form of evidence logically presented and persuasively utilized.

3)    Utilize the appropriate strategic structural approach (persuasive) and provide logical coherence within the document (idea development.)

4)    Demonstrate basic information design principles (utilize the correct formats and conventions found in document design.)

5)    Use language effectively (minimal error disruption or mechanical interference.)


  • Pre-Assessment:  As all students enter into their professional communication course (BNAD 314) they are given a writing pre-assessment that provides students with a writing task and provides the students with 75 minutes to generate a document in response to the task.  This assignment is calibrated with faculty and is selected from one of the identified learning outcomes for the course (strategic approach (direct or indirect) and format (business letter, email, short report.)  The task identified for the pre-assessment is then mirrored in the post assessment.  Students are given the same testing environment and requirements they face at the semester’s conclusion.  Additionally, the same grader is used for inter-rater reliability.   The assessment benchmarks skill sets of students entering into the cohort and are referenced again as students conclude the course.
  • Individual Assessment:  All students are required to complete five individually authored business writing tasks during the course:

                  o        Direct Informational

                  o        Indirect or Direct Persuasive

                  o        Stakeholder Analysis

                  o        Direct or Indirect Bad News

                  o        Recommendation Report

Additionally, all students must demonstrate proficiency in the following business formats

                 o        Business Letters

                 o        Email

                 o        Transmittal Letter

                 o        Business Report

Each type of strategic approach and form is scored and assessed by faculty, providing students with feedback and opportunities for revision.

  • Post Assessment:  At the conclusion of the semester, students are provided with the same type of task as defined in the pre-assessment.  Students are given identical testing environment (in class, timed at 75 minutes, and a similar prompt.)  The same external grader (for inter-rater reliability) is engaged to provide final assessment.  At this point, the student results are put into three categories:

                o        Pass: Student has met and surpassed the rubric at over 85%

o        Faculty Review: Student tests into a marginal zone (80%-84%) signaling concern in one or more areas of the rubric.  These candidates have their results pulled, redacted, and sent on for “blind” faculty evaluation by 2 additional faculty members.

o        Fail: Student has signaled a critical failure in one or more categories of the rubric, testing in at below 79% and requiring further writing instruction.  See remediation.


Faculty Review: All students under faculty review are read blind by two additional faculty members to determine the student’s deficiencies and to determine if the student’s writing would benefit from further instruction for an additional eight weeks to improve areas identified in the rubric.

  • Remediation:  All students testing in for recommended further instruction spend eight weeks in an intensive review course that builds upon their ability to demonstrate their ability to generate professional written documentation.  This is an online module that focuses exclusively on strategic approach and common formats.  Each student works through five written professional documents, a practice assessment and an additional final assessment to determine writing proficiency.

Outcomes: Final writing assessment results measure an improvement in ability to compose a professional document.  In fall 2011 the student pass rate was 57% with 43% failing.  In spring 2012, 54% passed and 46% failed.  While the spring cohort tends to be a weaker cohort, the trend is consistent: a significant percentage of our students are completing their core communication course, but moving forward into their major classes demonstrating a clear need for further instruction.  This is substantially higher than the failure rate we have seen in previous years, and it necessitates earlier intervention in writing.  The Undergraduate Studies Committee has proposed a lower division writing course, this is pending faculty approval and funding.


Oral presentations

Every Eller student competes in at least two Core course competitions.  One emphasizes critical thinking, strategy and creativity in the final case competition for Business Communication 314R (95 teams compete).  The other case competition emphasizes comfort with technology and enterprise related technology solutions in MIS 304 (95 teams compete).

Business Communication (314R):Oral Communication:

All students matriculating through BCOM 314 are measured for their ability to identify an audience and deliver a message in both individually and in team formations.

Individual Assessment:  Each student receives both instruction and assessment on their individual speaking abilities via an elevator pitch or mock interview.   All students are evaluated on the rubric (critical thinking, relevant data, structural coherence, image management, error interference.)

Team Assessment: All teams are required to present three times during the course. This includes pre-competition assessment where every team presents to a faculty member and receives instructional feedback on the rubric identifying oral competencies.  All teams receive both instruction and assessment as a team on the rubric (critical thinking, relevant data, structural coherence, image management as a team - synergy, ability to navigate discussion - and error interference.) 

External Validation:  Every student is entered into a college wide case competition sponsored by the college and a company or organization that provides a real world business problem to solve.  All 500 students engage in a full day event that provides them with the opportunity to “pull together” all they have learned in their first semester as they seek to research, solve, and present recommendations for a complex business problem.  Every student team is evaluated by teams of anchored external panelists, including representatives of the sponsoring company, to provide students with collective feedback on the student’s ability to demonstrate proficiency and relevancy of their team oral communication abilities.

BNAD 314 External Presentation Evaluation Statistics Spring 2010

Based on 364 judges’ evaluation forms submitted from Case Competition & CSR Community Showcase






Students demonstrated a clear understanding of the audience.





Presentation content was logical and supported with ample evidence.





Presentation was well-structured and easy to follow.





Students demonstrated effective slide design in a PowerPoint presentation.





Students displayed effective Q & A strategies.





Students demonstrated professional public speaking and delivery skills.





Students exemplified professional dress standards.





Outcome: Overall, oral communication is evaluated as one of our most valued competencies by alumni and employers.  The evaluation is positive for this learning outcome.  In addition, indirect feedback is very strong to continue to reinforce the learning outcomes of communication and teamwork from employers and alumni comments. They were asked for the Eller learning outcome that has been most important in their professional career.  This is a reflective sample of comments.


642: Business Communication skills and presentations

644: You're not going to always like who you're teamed with, but you still need to work professionally with them.

645: Networking

647: Project Management

648: Consumer behavior and Excel training

649: Time management, oral/written communication skills

650: Business Communication & Organizational Management

651: Teamwork and communication

652: How to interact with others who have different communication styles.

653: The importance of teamwork and ethics.

654: Effective communications and databases.

655: Working in teams. It helps you get to know what makes different people tick. I feel like I graduated with a minor in psychology because of all the group work. But it was extremely helpful.

657: Organizational development, statistics, and program evaluation.

659: Working with people & excel.

660: Accounting knowledge applied to my daily work.

661: Teamwork and leadership

662: Developing and presenting business proposals.

663: Presentation skills from Diza Sauers

666: Networking is key

667: Research, creating and delivering impactful powerpoint presentations. the ability to make the connections of cause and effect not just within the immediate business focus but on other areas that could be potentially impacted. Seeing the big picture and being able to deliver an actionable plan to achieve desired results.

669: I am currently getting my masters from Eller in the Masters in Finance program. I am using much of my skills and knowledge obtained through my undergraduate degrees.

670: Excel & PowerPoint

671: The importance of good communication and presentation skills.

672: My experience with Eller and the clubs and organizations within it helped me gain valuable networking skills that have gotten me to where I am today.

673: Problem solving and analytical skills

674: I've learned financial responsibility, time value of money, cost benefit analysis, and lots more, all of which will be extremely useful when I am running my own dental practice. Dentists are some of the worst business people, I'm glad I won't be one of them

675: Presentation Skills (buisiness comm, first semester cohort)

676: One of the most important pieces of knowledge (one of many)is from Professor Lehman Bensons class when he told everyone specifically of the importance of networking and the unfortunate truth that in business and life you can add just a little extra something with the proper connections and often it is the difference that is most important to quick advancement.

677: Communication skills

678: Professionalism, presentation skills, analytical thinking, market research.

679: Leadership, team-building, interpersonal, Systems Analysis and Design, Database Management Systems, business communication

680: Group projects

681: too many to count!

682: Networking with other people. I found Eller to be an excellent place for me to work on networking with other students, faculty and staff. The fact that everyone was so approachable made it easier.

683: Knowledge makes all the difference, not degrees. Too often when Seniors are on their way out the door, the get cold feet and begin to think Graduate School. Although this is clearly a viable option for some, it is merely a safety net for others. The biggest thing for these rising stars to realize is that you will never exceed in the game until you start playing. More importantly, don't rush results, it is a marathon, not a sprint.

684: Working with groups, time management, being prepared for the professional world

686: Communation Skills

688: My computer skills, communication skills, and knowledge about the structure of an organization.

689: Leadership skills and ability to work with others.

690: Analytical skills

691: Accounting information

694: Business Communication, Marketing Creativity

695: Technical and Social aspects

696: Business writing skills and general etiquette

697: communicating comfortably,naturally and efficiently with others

698: Business Communication
Services marketing


Professional Development

Readiness for career success is a learning outcome that is emphasized throughout the undergraduate program.  We utilize our professional program application interviews to help us assess the readiness and employability of our students entering their junior year when they are most likely to begin the internship interviewing process.  Occasionally students are accepted into the professional program based on their strong foundation and cumulative GPA’s but their interpersonal, leadership and professional skills don’t meet our standards.  In the spring of 2012 we began a competency initiative to ensure that all students have proficiency in professionalism/personal branding related to interview skills, resume and cover letter writing.  Students scoring below a 2.75 by interviewers are personally coached, attend workshops and are encouraged to become involved in activities that will attract employers when the students are ready for full time placement.

Assessment: Admitted students who scored below 2.75 on any of the items (letter of intent, resume or interview) were required to participate in a Professional Development Competencies workshop and re-submit the necessary items that were required of them for reevaluation.  Suzanne McFarlin coordinated the workshops and reviewed each resubmission.  We felt that the Sprig 2012 Professional Development Competency process was very successful, with 90% of the students attending the workshops, and 100% of the students resubmitting their necessary items with noticeable improvement.  The average score for this competency was a 3.5 (scale:1 lowest-4 highest) out of 292 random samples.

Interviewer comments on Career Goals and Professional Development (random sample pulled from last two years):

Career: "career goals vague, but definitely marketing oriented"

Career: "difficulty deciding what she wants to do"

Career: "excellent ability to relate who he is and where he wants to go"

Career: "goals are clear"

Career: "he is not yet clear about how his goals can be achieved from the courses he wants to take"

Career: “very prepared with the introduction"

Career:"amazing young man, determined, motivated, has high goals"

Career:"difficulty articulating responses at first, also needed more elaboration. A lot of "ums" and pauses. I felt the quality of the answer was poor here. Did not explain "how""

Career:"good job showing goals and how they achieved it; try to relate to business"

Outcome: Our graduation placement data is another indicator of our success with professional development.  For the class of 2012, 78% of the class had career choices at graduation. As of May, 55% received at least one job offer, 13% were enrolling in graduate school and 10% were not on the job market (military, travel, etc.).  However, in a recent dean’s task force the faculty concluded that this remains an emphasis area.  The college has petitioned the University for a lower- division fee ($150/student/semester) to hire more career coaches, implement a lower division professional development requirement and require a career related experience before graduation.


Business Knowledge

The undergraduate program is structured so that all graduates are generalists in business having taken at least one course in every functional business area.  Consequently, we assess both comprehensive knowledge of business as well as functional knowledge by major.  For this report, only the comprehensive learning outcomes for the program are presented.  Over the past three years we have measured all core course competencies to set a benchmark.  It is our plan to visit in depth one learning outcome per year across the curriculum.

Business Knowledge: Economics

Explains the relationship among business, government, and markets, including international markets.

Learning Outcomes Assessment

ECON 300

Instructor: James C. McBrearty

Term: Fall 2012


The purpose of Economics 300 is to examine the ways microeconomic analysis can be used for business and public policy decision making. To that end, demand and supply analysis is applied to such topics as rent controls, agricultural price supports, minimum wages, health care, airport congestion and concert/athletic event ticket pricing, with special reference to ticket scalping.

Price, income, and supply elasticity are examined in some detail with special focus on the nation’s farm problem (disappearance of family farm), analyzing U.S. government policy toward illegal drugs, and why oil prices are so unstable.

The theory of the firm is examined first reviewing costs of production and then price and output decisions within the four types of market structures. Students are introduced to strategic behavior under oligopoly, and the various issues and problems of government attempting to regulate so-called natural monopolies are reviewed.

The last third of the course is devoted to government antitrust policy, wages-employment and, finally, income distribution and poverty. The intricacies of these topics are emphasized together with the complexities of designing appropriate government policies, together with their effects on individuals and businesses.

Like ECON 330, this course is taught in a large lecture format of 240 or more students every semester. The emphasis is on developing the essential skills of critical thinking, business knowledge, and social responsibility for all students enrolled in the Eller College.

Evaluation of the students is based upon twelve homework assignments (all done online); three midterm exams, each consisting of fifty multiple-choice questions with five answers; and, lastly, three pop quizzes designed to be “warm-ups” for each of the midterm exams.

Skill assessment is accomplished primarily through the three midterm exams. Sample questions from all three midterms are listed below along with an indication of the skill(s) assessed. The percentage of students with the correct answer is shown as well. A score in at least the high 70s or better indicates to me success in achieve the goals of developing critical thinking, business knowledge, and social understanding/responsibility.


First Midterm (Fall 2012)

Median Grade: 81.0%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge

Question 1 (Fall 2012)

A rightward shift in the supply of Bud Light could be caused by:

Percentage correct: 82.20%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge

Question 5 (Fall 2012)

If bagels and cream cheese are complementary goods, which of the following is likely to occur if the price of bagels has decreased?

Percentage correct: 83.90%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge

Question 11 (Fall 2012)

When Wendy’s restaurant chain first opened, it claimed that its square burgers were special and different. Wendy’s hoped to:

Percentage correct: 77.12%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge

Question 45 (Fall 2012)

Minimum efficient scale (MES) refers to:

Percentage correct: 76.27%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge

Question 46 (Fall 2012)

Suppose a given marginal cost curve starts out downward-sloping and at some point turns upward. The point at which it turns upward is the point at which:

Percentage correct: 87.29%

Second Midterm (Fall 2011)

Median Grade: 72.99%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Graphical Analysis/Business Knowledge

Question 8 (Fall 2011)

In the above exhibit, if the firm is charging price P* for output q*, in order to minimize losses in the short-run, the firm should:

Percentage correct: 84.82%

Learning Outcome: Critical Analysis/Business Knowledge

Question 10 (Fall 2011)

If firms in a monopolistically competitive industry are incurring short-run losses, which of the following will occur in the long-run?

Percentage correct: 78.94%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge

Question 20 (Fall 2011)

Suppose that each of the following goods or services is provided by a different firm.  For which good or service would price discrimination be easiest?

Percentage correct: 73.03%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge

Question 35 (Fall 2011)

Many golf courses charge members an annual membership fee as well as an admission/usage fee each time they golf. One reason for this is:

Percentage correct: 62.56%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge

Question 44 (Fall 2011)

In an oligopolistic industry, undercutting prices of rival firms:

Percentage correct: 82.85%


Third Midterm (Fall 2011)

Median Grade: 71.84%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge/Social Responsibility

Question 3 (Fall 2011)

Watt Power and Light, an electric company, will experience a loss:

Percentage correct: 85.21%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge/Social Responsibility

Question 11 (Fall 2011)

The Robinson-Patman Act (1936):

Percentage correct: 59.28%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Graphical Analysis/Business Knowledge

Question 23 (Fall 2011)

Consider the exhibit above.  In order to maximize profit, the firm will hire:

Percentage correct: 79.61%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Graphing Analysis/Business Knowledge/Social Responsibility


Question 33 (Fall 2011)

According to this Lorenz curve, what percentage of total income is earned by the middle 20% of families?

Percentage correct: 69.46%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Social Responsibility

Question 33 (Fall 2011)

The official U.S. poverty line is calculated as 3 times the annual cost of:

Percentage correct: 60.12%



Since I instituted homework assignments worth 25% of the course grade, well over half of the students now score an A or B as a final grade. With the addition of three pop quizzes this semester for bonus points to be added to their test/homework scores, the percentage of students in the A and B range should be slightly higher.

Since this class is a cohort course required of all business college students, they do not want to put much time and effort into it, because it is not in their major. Moreover, they especially do not like it when the course is offered at 8:00 AM, which has traditionally been done in the fall semester every year.

As in ECON 330, a number of students have difficulty with analytical reasoning which goes beyond the very basics. Questions involving graphs and/or calculations often prove particularly difficult for them. The students who do best in the course seem to come primarily from accounting, finance, and MIS. The skills developed in those majors seem to fit best with a microeconomics course, although I do try to work in a heavy dose of marketing concepts such as demand, elasticity, product “branding” and brand multiplication.

I do believe that with all its limitations, this applied microeconomics course is a valuable part of every business student’s supporting core courses. While not exactly a “capstone” course for the Eller College, nevertheless, it does integrate to some degree accounting, finance, marketing, and management.

Outcome: Follow up is necessary given the instructor’s comments about critical thinking and analytical reasoning for non-quantitative majors.


Business Knowledge: International

Demonstrates an awareness of global trends and the impact on business

Learning Outcomes Assessment

ECON 330

Instructor: James C. McBrearty

Term: Fall 2012


Within the context of the Department of Economics’ learning objectives, the purpose of Economics 330 is to take an in-depth look at macroeconomic institutions and policies. This course was designed to replace a much earlier money and banking course. The Department and College wanted a course which covered not only commercial banking and the Federal Reserve System, but also an overview of GDP itself, the business cycle, unemployment, inflation, fiscal policy, the banking sector, monetary policy, and international trade and finance. Global trends are to be integrated throughout the foregoing topics as much as possible.

The course, which is taught in a large lecture format of 300+ students every semester, is designed for all business majors in the Eller College, and focuses on the skills of critical thinking, business knowledge, and social responsibility. Communication, collaboration, and technology skills are better left to smaller courses which are major-specific.

To evaluate student understanding of the topics set forth above, I employ the following: twelve homework assignments of between fifteen and twenty multiple-choice and short-answer questions geared to the topics listed on the syllabus, all completed online (25% of grade); three midterm exams each consisting of fifty multiple-choice questions, usually with five answers (75% of grade); and three pop quizzes of between sixteen and twenty multiple-choice questions, usually administered approximately one week before the midterm exams (worth up to 30 bonus points).

Critical thinking, business knowledge, and social responsibility were assessed primarily through the three midterm examinations. Some specific questions from each exam are set forth below, along with the percentage of students with the correct answer. I believe a score in the high 70s or low 80s and better indicates a success in achieving the goals set forth above.


First Midterm (Fall 2012)

Median Grade: 71.8%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Computational Skills

Question 15 (Fall 2012)

Using the table below, calculate GDP.


Wages & salaries                                                                   $2000

Government purchases of goods & services                     $500

Exports                                                                                   $800

Rental income                                                                        $300

Consumption spending                                                        $3000

Transfer payments                                                               $300

Private investment spending (Gross)                                 $600

Profit                                                                                      $1200

Imports                                                                                  $600

Interest income                                                                     $800

Purchases of corporate stock                                              $500


Percentage correct: 86.93%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Social Responsibility

Question 19 (Fall 2012)

Providing training to both employed and unemployed individuals will help to alleviate:

Percentage correct: 90.85%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Computational Skills

Question 23 (Fall 2012)

If the MPC is 0.75, and $80 billion increase in planned investment spending would cause equilibrium output to increase by:

Percentage correct: 62.09%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Computational Skills

Question 44 (Fall 2012)

Given the consumption function C = $100 billion + 0.75Yd, where Yd is $300 billion, induced consumption is equal to:

Percentage correct: 47.06%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Social Responsibility

Question 47 (Fall 2012)

A recessionary gap is:

Percentage correct: 25.49%


Second Midterm (Spring 2012)

Median Grade: 78.65%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Social Responsibility

Question 4 (Spring 2012)

All other things held constant, higher marginal (income) tax rates:

Percentage correct: 73.46%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Social Responsibility

Question 15 (Spring 2012)

One major advantage of built-in stabilizers when compared to discretionary fiscal policy is that:

Percentage correct: 95.68%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge

Question 29 (Spring 2012)

If a single bank faces a required reserve ratio of 20%, has total reserves of $500,000, and checkable deposit liabilities of $400,000, what is the maximum amount of money this bank could create (add to the money supply)?

Percentage correct: 51.13%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge

Question 43 (Spring 2012)

The legal reserve requirement is:

Percentage correct: 95.29%


Third Midterm (Spring 2012)

Median Grade: 80.83%


Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge/Social Responsibility

Question 4 (Spring 2012)

When the Federal Reserve decreases the reserve requirement,

Percentage correct: 76.63%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Computational Skills/Business Knowledge

Question 23 (Spring 2012)

If Joanna purchases a bond for $4,500 that promises to pay her $5,000 one year later, what is the interest rate on the bond?

Percentage correct: 80.31%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Business Knowledge/Social Responsibility

Question 43 (Spring 2012)

If the exchange rate of Japanese yen for U.S. dollars decreases  from 100 yen = $1 to 80 yen = $1, then:

Percentage correct: 87.5%

Learning Outcome: Critical Thinking/Graphing Analysis/Business Knowledge/Social Responsibility

Question 25 (Spring 2012)



If sugar imports were not restricted in any way in the figure above, the nation’s volume of sugar imports would be:

Percentage correct: 80.75%


Students still have difficulty even at the Junior/Senior level with analytical questions having answers indicating more than one ramification, and often with calculations, even though I permit the use of a four-function calculator. I think they might be relying too heavily on the PowerPoint presentations which are posted on Blackboard.

To address these issues I instituted twelve homework assignments to be completed within forty-eight hours of the day they are assigned (usually covering one, but sometimes two, chapters), which are listed on the syllabus. These assignments constitute 25% of the course grade. Additionally, I am devoting more class time to critical thinking and problem solving not necessarily shown on the publisher’s PowerPoint slides. Also, I am hoping the pop quizzes will entice students to stay current with the course material and help prime them for the midterm examinations.

Outcomes: As a result of this exercise the instructor is making changes in the way he teaches.  More attention needs to be paid to global content in the assessment rubric as well because this course is designed to emphasize global economic topics.  The course name was changed in 2009 to reflect this strategy.  We need to continue to reinforce the global topics.


Business Knowledge, Accounting

Acquires and appropriately uses information from accounting reports for internal and external business decision making.

Accounting 200, financial accounting is assessed in Professional Admissions Competency exam previously mentioned. 

Business Knowledge, Finance:

Uses the fundamentals and principles of finance in business decision making

Learning Outcomes Assessment for FIN 360, Quantitative Financial Management

Instructor: Eric Kelley

Term: Spring 2011


Within the context of the Finance Department’s learning objectives, the purpose of Finance 360 is to introduce basic principles of finance and give students the opportunity to begin applying these principles to decisions facing the financial manager. Specific learning outcomes are:

1. Understand the following fundamental concepts:

a. Basic time value of money

b. Bonds

c. Stocks

d. NPV and IRR

e. Risk and return

f. The Capital Asset Pricing Model

2. Apply fundamental concepts in real-world problems:

a. Use accounting data to identify cash flows that are relevant for valuing a project

b. Apply basic statistical concepts to finance problems

c. Given a number of potential inputs, determine a firm’s cost of capital

Each of these outcomes was assessed as part of the semi-comprehensive final exam. Specific questions for each outcome and student performance (in terms of percentage correct) are listed below. Since these outcomes are critical for continuation in the field of Finance, I view 85% correct as a success. At the end of document, I provide my overall comments on these outcomes and summarize plans going forward.



  • Learning outcome 1a – Final exam question 24:

Percentage correct: 91

  • Learning outcome 1b – Final exam questions 28 and 36:

Percentage correct: 59

Percentage correct: 54

  • Learning outcome 1c – Final exam question 18:

Percentage correct: 84

  • Learning outcome 1d – Final exam questions 16 and 19:

Percentage correct: 94

28. Your firm has $10 million debt outstanding with a 5% coupon rate, annual payments, a maturity of 6 years,and a price of 105 percent of par value. If the tax rate is 35%, what is your firm's after-tax cost of debt?

18. A stock's expected dividends in years 1-3 are 4.00, 5.00, and 6.00. Beginning at the end of year 3, future dividends are expected to grow at 2% per year indefinitely. If the equity cost of capital is 8%, what is the stock's price today?

16. A project has the following cash flows: CF0=-1,000; CF1=300; CF2=300; CF3=800. What is its IRR?

Percentage correct: 98

  • Learning outcome 1e – Final exam questions 1, 2, 13, 29:

Percentage correct: 76

Percentage correct: 98

Percentage correct: 43

  • Learning outcome 1f – Final exam questions 11 and 29:

Percentage correct: 88

19. A project has the following cash flows: CF0=-1,000; CF1=300; CF2=300; CF3=800. What is its NPV if the discount rate is 5%?

1. A diversified investor is not affected by idiosyncratic risk.

2. A risk averse investor likes taking risks.

13. Suppose you combine stocks into a portfolio. If each stock's risk is completely independent of that for every other stock, what will happen as you increase the number of stocks in the portfolio?

11. Stock A has a beta of 1.2 and stock B has a beta of 1.05. If the risk-free rate is 3% and stock A's expected return is 10%, what is stock B's expected return?

Percentage correct: 55

  • Learning outcome 2a – Final exam question 37:

Year 0 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4

Revenues 150,000 300,000 250,000 200,000

Costs of Goods Sold -70,000 -30,000 -50,000 -50,000

Gross Profit 80,000 270,000 200,000 150,000

Selling, General and Admin -10,000 -50,000 -50,000 -15,000

Depreciation -70,000 -70,000 -70,000 -70,000

EBIT 0 150,000 80,000 65,000

Interest expenses -15,000 -15,000 -15,000 -15,000

Income tax (35%) 5,250 -47,250 -22,750 -17,500

Earnings -9,750 87,750 42,250 32,500

Capital Purchases -280,000

Changes to NWC 20,000 5,000 0 0 -25,000

The above information is related to a project your company is considering. Write down the expected cash flows needed to compute the project's NPV if you plan to use the WACC as the discount rate. Your answer should include 5 numbers - a cash flow for each year from year 0 through year 4.

Percentage correct: 88

  • Learning outcome 2b – Final exam question 39:

You have the following historical returns for a stock:

29. What is the slope of the security market line (SML)? A) 1.0 B) The risk-free rate C) Beta D) The market risk premium

Year Return 1 .08 2 .02 3 -.10 4 .09

a) Estimate the stock’s mean return.

b) Estimate the stock’s variance. (In your answer and in intermediate steps, use 6 decimal places.)

c) Suppose a second stock has a variance of .01 and the two stocks have a covariance of .002. What is the correlation between these two stocks?

Percentage correct: 84

  • Learning outcome 2c – Final exam question38:

Your firm has 5 million shares of common stock outstanding priced at $40 per share and a book value of $1 per share. The stock has a return variance of .15 and beta of .85. Its expected dividend in year 1 is $2.00 and you expect dividends to grow at 2% indefinitely. The market risk premium is 6% and the T-bill rate is 1%. The firm also has bonds outstanding with a total principal of $100 million. These bonds mature in 9 years, pay annual coupons of 5%, and have current price of 102% of par value. The marginal tax rate is 35%.

a) Write down one estimate of the firm's after-tax cost of debt.

b) Write down two estimates of the firm's cost of equity.

c) Write down an expression (insert numbers) for the discount rate you would use to find the NPV of one of the firm's typical projects.

Percentage correct: 71

Instructor comments

I am generally pleased with students’ basic mechanics – i.e., learning outcomes 1a, 1d, and 2a, as well as the more definitional aspects of outcome 1e. The performance on the final for these questions confirmed the understanding the students displayed during the normal course of the semester.

Students seem to be falling short in the following areas:

1) They don’t do well when asked to move beyond the basics, even when the extension is small. One example is valuing a bond (learning outcome 1b). While the Finance Department appropriately views this as a fundamental concept, it is slightly more complex than a basic time value of money problem, and students don’t seem to be making the leap that they need to make. A second example is from learning outcome 2c, in which they are expected to use basic concepts in the context of a bigger problem. All of the individual pieces are simple, yet they fail to put them together.

2) They struggle with basic statistical concepts and their applications. The question used for learning outcome 2b above is about as simple as one can get when it comes to statistics, but performance was marginal at best. Moreover, based on class discussion, I was convinced students came into class not knowing how to calculate basic measures such as variance. Clearly, they are not retaining what they have learned in prior semesters on such topics.

Outcomes: Instruction has been improved reflecting the below suggestions beginning fall 2011. In addition, Eric Kelly was a member of the math task force looking at revising the mathematic sequence to address his concern with mathematical retention found during his assessment.  He was a vocal advocate of an additional statistics course.

1) Students do not seem to be getting enough repetition when it comes to bridging the gap between the very basic fundamentals and slightly more advanced application. In response, I will approximately double the number of problems that I require them to work outside of class. Rather than doubling the length of their assignments, I will move from 5 assignments to 10. Doing so will force students to both work more problems and work at a more steady pace throughout the semester.

2) Under my supervision, the Finance Department will offer a one-hour lab (FIN 360L) beginning in the fall to accompany the class. The lab will be required for Finance Majors and open to other majors as well, and students will be divided into sections of 25 each. In addition to providing more repetition, the lab will give students an opportunity for more interaction. We will also use the lab to better develop critical tools such as statistics and calculators that accompany FIN 360.


Business Knowledge, Business Management: Mgmt 310a

Describes the roles and importance of people and processes in organizations, including the roles that mangers play in the various industries and environment of the workplace.

Assessment Data for Undergraduate Program Learning Objectives and Measurements

Class:  Management 310A     Instructor:  Cindi Gilliland

Organizational Behavior (required class for all business majors, taken 1st semester Junior year)

Learning outcomes measured are:  Communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.  No pre-test data are available; all reported means are posttest only.

In general, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration are best demonstrated by students’ performance in real-world semester-long team projects.  Some students studied local real-world organizations and compared their management practices and policies to concepts presented in class, and their work culminated in the development of three consulting-style recommendations described and delivered to the organizations.  Other student teams worked with a variety of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations on social responsibility projects designed to build business functional skills in the students while at the same time improving the local community by facilitating refugee resettlement efforts.  These students prepared a series of written reports and documents as well as a formal PowerPoint presentation (copies of slides are available).  Qualitative and quantitative data about the success of these projects and the development of critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills from them are available upon request. 

Mean results of Spring 2011 exam questions designed to measure the three learning objectives are given below:

Critical Thinking:  taken from Final Exam Spring 2011

The following exam questions (indicated by actual exam question numbers) demonstrate critical thinking because students are not able to determine the answers by using memorized information, but instead must draw upon their knowledge and think critically about the information provided in the questions.  Original question numbers from the exam are left intact.


1.       Which of the following is LEAST likely to be considered a manager?

          97% of students answered this question correctly (see attached item analysis report).

15.  Joseph believes his team gave the best presentation, but Sharon feels that another team performed better.  Social scientists call this difference of opinion:    

          87% of students answered this question correctly. 

18.  What would an ethical relativist say about Americans evaluating bribery in Japan?

          72% of students answered this question correctly. 

29.  Darrah’s male coworkers have hung naked pinups to the walls and repeatedly make negative comments comparing Darrah’s body to those of the pinups’ when she walks by.  This would probably be considered:  

         89% of students answered this question correctly. 

37. The Green Company has low formalization and high participation in decision making.  It probably has a(n):

        86% of students answered this question correctly. 

39.  A company permanently redesigns the jobs of the workers in accounts receivables, so that they will each add 20 clients to their workload .  What term would best be used to describe these changes?

          98% of students answered this question correctly. 

49.  Dan is upset because his girlfriend broke up with him by text message instead of in person.  Communication research would explain this reaction by discussing:       

         89% of students answered this question correctly. 

Communication Questions: taken from Exam 3A, Spring 2011

  1.  Formal guidelines/rules and authority hierarchies are examples of which function of communication?

        75% of students answered this correctly.

  2.  The credibility of a source is determined by that source’s:

        90% of students answered this correctly.

 4.  John writes a memo to his employees. According to the communication process model, organizing his thoughts to put them into words BEFORE he writes them is an example of:

        87% of students answered this correctly.

 5. Suggestion boxes, employee attitude surveys, and grievance procedures (all written by employees and received by senior management) are examples of:

       98% of students answered this correctly.

 6. All of the following are TRUE regarding face-to-face communication EXCEPT:

      95% of students answered this correctly.

Collaboration/teamwork questions taken from Exam 2A, Spring 11

6.  What are the five stages of group development?

          99% of students answered this correctly.  

7.  Temporary groups with deadlines tend to follow the _____ model.

          79% of students answered this correctly.

8.  What term is used for a set of expected behavior patterns associated with a particular position in a group?

          93% of students answered this correctly.

9.  What term is used for the degree to which group members like each other?

          95% of students answered this correctly.

11.  What term is used for the tendency for individuals to spend less effort when working collectively than when working individually?

          97% of students answered this correctly.

12.  According to the book, which of the following is found in teams, but NOT in groups?

          68% of students answered this correctly.

13.  If your team wants to complete a task, which of following is likely to be the best number of team members?

          92% of students answered this correctly.


Overall, these results show that students did gain knowledge of critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills in MGMT 310A.  Information about their ability to apply this knowledge in teams working in real-world contexts is available upon request. 

Outcomes: The learning outcomes including critical thinking, collaboration, and functional knowledge are measured in this course.  Given the outcomes measured we are satisfied that students are achieving in these areas. 


Business Knowledge, Marketing: Marketing 361

Conducts consumer segmentation, targeting and positioning to implement marketing mix decisions and communicates how these decisions impact the firm (profit and positioning).



Instructor: Kim Nelson Term: Spring 2011


These MKGT 361 Learning Outcomes relate to the following Marketing Department Learning Objectives:

• Content Knowledge of Marketing Terms and Concepts

• Quantitative Marketing Literacy

• Critical Thinking Skills

• Global Marketing Issues

• Information Literacy (Current Marketing Events and Resources)

• Integrative Marketing Thinking (with other disciplines)


Other department learning objectives are better covered in other courses (e.g., communication skills, ethical awareness, creative thinking, appreciation for lifelong learning).

Each of the general Learning Outcomes above are refined and matched to particular assignments or formal assessments (exams). This semester, the Critical Thinking and Integrative Thinking objectives were measured with separate assignments. An additional measure for Quantitative Marketing Literacy was included.


1. Content Knowledge of Marketing Terms and Concepts

LO 1 Recognize and apply marketing terms and concepts to marketing situations.

Over 80% of the questions on the final comprehensive exam are classified as “Reflective” questions using the AACSB categorization. A reflective question requires the student to know terms and concepts as well as apply them in a marketing situation or to solve a marketing problem. There were some open book questions on a marketing plan chapter that comprised 10% of the final exam total. 90% of the final exam was closed book. Both are reported here.


Final Exam Review Sheet that lists all concepts to be tested.

Sample Final Exam Questions (MKTG 361-001)

Measure of Success: 80% of class attains satisfactory performance (greater than 70%)

Final Exam Results:

MKTG 361-001: Mean on Final Exam – 79.1% (>70% = 30/222, >60% = 11/222, Not completed = 1/222)

Mean on Closed Book Final – 77.1% (higher on open book)

MKTG 361-002: Mean on Final Exam – 77.2% (>70% = 44/214, >60% = 9/214, Not completed = 1/214)

Mean on Closed Book Final – 75.3% (higher on open book)

Evaluation: Adequate performance on content knowledge; anecdotal evidence that some students did not study because they would not get to the next letter grade level

Action: Present Marketing Plan classes more as an exam review session


2. Quantitative Marketing Literacy

LO 2 Recognize the value of quantitative skills in marketing and calculate breakeven targets, calculate elasticity of demand, calculate margins and markups.

Students were given additional readings and problems to highlight the increasing importance of quantitative analysis in marketing. They were given a homework assignment and tested on the topic in an exam. These topics have been covered before in math, economics and accounting but these problems put those calculations into a marketing context. Homework assignments allowed the use of calculators but were supposed to be done independently. Exam questions did not allow a calculator but used numbers that are very basic and easy to handle (e.g., 5/10=.50, a + 5 = 10).


Reading on Breakeven, Margin/Markup, and Market Share

Homework Assignment #4 – Required independent work

Measure of Success: 80% of class attains satisfactory performance (greater than 70%)

Embedded Exam Questions – Exam 4 – simple numbers but calculators not allowed in exam.

Measure of Success: Mean of 70%, individual scores would require excess input

Results of Homework Assignment:

MKTG 361-001: Mean= 90.9%, N = 222 (>70% = 18/222, >60% = 12/222, Not completed = 3/222)

MKTG 361-002: Mean= 93.1%, N = 214 (>70% = 9/214, >60% = 7/214, Not completed = 3/214)

Evaluation: Adequate performance on homework assignment

Action: Include more explicit academic integrity instructions. Randomized questions might be possible but destroy the logical progression from basic to more complex questions.

Results from Embedded Exam Questions:

MKTG 361-001: Overall Mean=57.0% on marketing math, the only question with satisfactory result was breakeven quantity calculation. Variable/Fixed cost determination, breakeven revenue, margin/markup solving for unknowns and elasticity were unsatisfactory. Breakeven revenue failure is more careless reading and very basic common sense than actual calculation if they can do breakeven quantity.

MKTG 361-002: Overall Mean=50.7% on marketing math, the only question with satisfactory result was breakeven quantity calculation. Variable/Fixed cost determination, breakeven revenue, margin/markup solving for unknowns and elasticity were unsatisfactory. Breakeven revenue failure is more careless reading and very basic common sense than actual calculation if they can do breakeven quantity.

Evaluation: Unsatisfactory performance on this supposedly already learned skill. The satisfactory performance on the open book homework and failure on the closed book exam questions raised both academic integrity issues and/or inability to perform very simple mathematical calculations. The answers were offered in multiple choice format making this an even easier task. The second section did worse but that is probably correlated with lower attendance and less mental participation in the classroom.

Action: Advise Eller undergraduate curriculum committee of these results. I believe similar problems are on the Eller quantitative admissions test so the results are surprising. Create more practice problems that can be done and scored online with immediate feedback. It appears that few students did the practice problems in the reading.

3. Global Marketing Issues

LO 3 Relate global economic, social, political and cultural differences to marketing problems. Recognize factors that impact the marketing of products in other countries.

Students were asked questions about global marketing based on the textbook reading (Chapter 5) and class lecture on the topic.

Questions from Chapter 5 (“Developing a Global Vision”) on Exam 1 (11 questions)

Measure of Success: Class average greater than 70% on set of global marketing questions

Sample: MKTG 361-001 Exam 1, N = 213 Weighted Average Correct = 85.81%

Evaluation: Adequate performance on global marketing objectives. Average on complete exam – 81%.

Action: None. Continue same procedures

4. Information Literacy

LO 4 Use various marketing related sources of information found on the internet to answer marketing questions or to solve marketing problems.

Students were given internet sources to explore and answer questions. These sources were designed to expose students to various information sources (e.g., Census data, demographic lifestyle segmentation, trendspotting resources) and to show how that information could be used by marketers (e.g., understanding consumer spending patterns, identifying potential target markets). The purpose is exposure to the resources rather than complex analysis.

Data: Homework Assignment #2, Secondary Research, Required independent work

Measure of Success: 80% of class attains satisfactory performance (greater than 70%)

Results of Homework Assignment #1

MKTG 361-001: Mean= 94.5%, N = 222 (>70% = 5/222, >60% = 4/222, Not completed = 2/222)

MKTG 361-002: Mean= 93.1%, n = 214 (>70% = 9/214, >60% = 7/214, Not completed =3/214)

Evaluation: Adequate performance on using the internet to investigate and apply marketing data. Relatively easy assignment but the object was exposure to a variety of research sources. Students remembered sources and some used them in another class (case competition)

Action: Update sources each semester for more timely data and/or new developments

5. Critical Thinking Skills

LO 5 Identify marketing concepts in real business situations; identify external environmental factors; identify factors for inclusion in a SWOT analysis

Students were assigned a reading and explanation of how to recognize external environmental factors that impact marketing strategy and how to create a SWOT analysis. They were also given several business publication articles to use as sources for identifying and classifying relevant external environmental factors that impact a business. Questions also identified internal organization factors that could be strengths or weaknesses. This is a new learning assessment for Spring 2011 to better assess critical thinking skills.


Homework Assignment #1, Situation Analysis/SWOT Anlysis, Required independent work

Measure of Success: 80% of class attains satisfactory performance (greater than 70%)

Results of Homework Assignment:

MKTG 361-001: Mean= 88.1%, N = 222 (>70% = 13/222, >60% = 4/222, Not completed = 0/222)

MKTG 361-002: Mean= 88.8%, N = 214 (>70% = 17/214, >60% = 4/214, Not completed = 0/214)

Evaluation: Adequate performance on questions and analysis; some difficulty in categorization

Action: Provide additional practice exercise in categorizing various measures to improve performance on relating real world measures to theoretical constructs (the four perspectives).

6. Integrative Marketing Thinking

LO 6 Identify marketing concepts in real business situations; compare and contrast two concepts; use concepts to solve marketing problems; relate marketing to other business disciplines (accounting, management, operations)

Students were given an outside reading on Balanced Scorecards so that they could learn how some marketing concepts and measures can enhance traditional accounting and finance measures. They had to be able recognize the four different perspectives (financial, customer, operational, learning/innovation) in real measures for real industries (e.g., hotel industry or banking). They also had to understand how these soft measures can provide useful information about any organization and supplement historical accounting data.


Homework Assignment #3, Balanced Scorecard, Required independent work

Measure of Success: 80% of class attains satisfactory performance (greater than 70%)

Results of Homework Assignment

MKTG 361-001: Mean=88.9%, N = 222 (>70% = 8/222, >60% = 5/222, Not completed = 1/222)

MKTG 361-002: Mean=90.5%, N = 214 (>70% = 7/214, >60% = 3/214, Not completed = 1/214)

Evaluation: Adequate performance on questions and analysis; some difficulty in categorization

Action: Provide additional practice exercise in categorizing various measures to improve performance on relating real world measures to theoretical constructs (the four perspectives).

Outcomes: The instructor utilized his data to make improvements in the course.  The most important feedback to the Undergraduate Studies Committee was his finding on students being underprepared in quantitative analysis.  This provided the evidence along with indirect feedback that our previous business math and one statistics course was not preparing students adequately for upper division quantitative statistics.  Consequently, the faculty changed the lower division requirements fall of 2012 to include a new model with more business school courses to include business calculus, intro to business statistics and a second statistics class emphasizing critical analysis of large data sets.  During this multi-year conversation it was also learned that students need more in depth preparation in excel.  Consequently, the MIS 111 introductory course added a one unit applied excel lab. The new second statistics class was added with an imbedded lab (4 units) to ensure adequate time with the material.  These changes were directly tied to the findings from Finance and Marketing upper division course assessments.


Business Knowledge: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Requirement

Generates ideas for innovative, scalable products and services, validates the ideas, develops business plans, and communicates value (social, economic, and commercial). 

Note: Stemming from student feedback on Eller’s graduation exit survey, and the fact that only the students in the McGuire Program take entrepreneurship courses we were not satisfied that such a highly ranked program was not included in our core Eller experience.  Beginning fall 2011 the faculty approved a new E-I requirement, much like our ethics requirement, a student selects from a list of courses and must complete one before graduation.  A large sophomore level course, Entrepreneurship 200 was designed to provide the experience for the majority of our students.  This course has been in our curriculum for three semesters.  Actual learning outcomes have not been measured as we are currently evaluating the overall efficacy of the course, the appropriate level and assumptions about the learners.  We are adapting the course and continue to wonder if the course would better serve as a senior capstone.

Memorandum about Entrepreneurship 200

Jane Robbins

Senior Lecturer

Date:October 26, 2012

Re:Observations and Experience, ENTR 200  Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Business and Society

I provide herewith a brief summary of my observations on, and experience with, ENTR 200, the focal course of the Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI). Attached are the syllabus, partial concept list, and group project description for this semester. Below is some background on the course, followed by my observations.


ENTR 200 explores foundational concepts, processes, and questions related to innovation and its practical counterpart, entrepreneurship. It is an “active” class that uses a variety of pedagogical techniques and evaluation methods. Through interactive lecture, discussion, in-class exercises, applied quizzes and midterm, an individual branding  project and a group innovation project, LinkedIn discussion forum and other pedagogical tools, students develop an understanding of the role and complexity of innovation and entrepreneurship; their own innovative capacity; and the dynamic ecological process by which innovations are developed, succeed, or fail.

The course has been offered since Fall 2011 (in its third semester).  The course was represented to me as an important, high-visibility initiative, and I was asked to create an introductory but rigorous and comprehensive course with the objective of preparing students to “responsibly engage in, and effectively contribute to, a dynamic, innovative global economy and society,” in part through an “exploration of the interrelationships among science, technology, law, and innovation” (quotes from the charge provided to me). The course structure was set up before I arrived, to be a large lecture (200-400 enrollment/semester), with no pre-requisites or sectioning, and no qualified assistants. I understand that the format and level of this course were the subject of considerable debate. I personally expressed doubt about both.

Final enrollments to date have been as follows; figures represent normal attrition between initial registration and midterm of 10-15%:

Fall 2011       329

Spring 2012   107

Fall 2012       186

Despite the sophomore classification, this course, particularly in Fall semesters, has a wide range of student status from Freshman (in Fall 2011) to Senior. I estimate that students range in age from 18 to mid 40s, and their preparation for college-level work ranges from seriously unprepared and unready to well-prepared and mature. The class includes many students who are new transfers from community college or who are still taking courses at community college and this is one of their first true college courses. This diversity is most clearly reflected in test scores. For example, the median and range on the midterm has been as follows:

Semester      Median after curve    Range and Curve      Avg item difficulty     Grade Distribution

Fall 2011       70.0    42.0-101.0 (24 pt curve)     0.47    N/A but recall about

2% A’s with curve

Spring 2012   81.0    46.0-100.0 (8 pt curve)       0.68    A: 24%; B:34%; C: 22%; D: 18%; E: 5%

Fall 2012       73.00  56.5-102.5 (6 pt curve)       0.64    A: 6%; B: 24%; C: 34%, D: 23%; E: 13%

Final Grades for the course to date are as follows. They are aided, in my view, by three factors: students are motivated to work hard on the project in order to improve their grades; I have in the past formed groups to balance out skills and abilities, so weaker students benefit from being in groups with stronger students; and by this time in the course students are better grasping the cumulative, interconnected nature of the subject matter. In addition, the Spring 2012 class was noticeably more homogeneous in preparation and readiness; there were no Freshmen and no first-semester sophomores.

Semester and Enrollment     Final Grade Distribution

Fall 2011-329 A: 8%; B: 65%; C: 22%; D: 2%; E: 3%

Spring 2012-107       A: 18%; B: 72%; C: 10%

Fall 2012-186 Not yet available; expect to be more like Fall 2011, with perhaps fewer B’s and more C’s


The subject matter of innovation and entrepreneurship is by its very nature integrative, abstract, highly dependent on awareness of the external environment, and grounded in an expectation of uncertainty and change.  It is not a narrow discipline or function, but rather the sum total of them all, in practice; this is a major reason why there objections to putting it at a lower level.

Although the course is basic and is not inherently difficult, the majority of students—perhaps 60-70%--struggle with the open-ended and boundary-spanning nature of innovation and entrepreneurship, and have difficulty with cumulatively connecting the concepts or applying them/recognizing them in context. They enter the class with no understanding of the environment for business or its most basic functions (in the individual project, the two dominant frames of reference are parents  and sports, and they are not familiar with basic concepts like lobbying, research and development, revenues, human resources, etc.). Most of all, they demonstrate deficiencies in critical reading and judging, and the ability to locate and use evidence.  While many of these students work hard, I would estimate that 25¬-30% of them (perhaps 50% in Fall 2011) lack the maturity/self-organizing skills, professionalism, and motivation to take responsibility for their work and performance in the course.  Questions we routinely receive are, e.g., “what is my student i.d.? What is Blackboard? How do I make a pdf? What is my section number? Where is my room?”

Even among the class as a whole, Blackboard statistics, and students’ admission when asked, indicate that it is not uncommon for large majorities to come to class without having completed the reading, or to come without the exercise materials for the day. This occurs despite a clear, instructive syllabus, including about expectations and participation, and online reminders. In a class where preparation to engage with the material during class is essential, this inhibits the flow of the course as well as students’ ability to benefit from a process-oriented course like innovation. Naturally, it detracts from the learning experience for those students who are prepared. I frequently have to regroup in real time.


Changes to course since Fall 2011

After the first semester teaching this course it was clear that most students lacked the skills and habits to approach abstract material.  For Spring 2012, I cut some material from the course to free up time for basic skills training, even though remediation is not the purpose of this course or a good use of my training and management experience. I developed a set of mini quizzes to prepare them for the test (substituting them for prior reflection papers), and began to train them to read for analysis, to make deductions, how to find and use information relevant to a problem—how to think. I went over every quiz in class, not just the answers, but why the answer was the answer, and how to find it in the case.  This was extremely time-consuming, remedial work that ate up instructional time on the subject.

Structurally, I set a “no freshmen” rule (but I now realize that many sophomores and even juniors are new to campus). I divided the class into breakout sections, and provided more time for group work (I had had to rent Union space to hold some group sessions in the prior semester). Students performed much better in spring 2012; I believe this was also partly attributable to its smaller size and to the fact that students were generally more advanced in their college careers.

This Fall (2012), however, is more similar to Fall 2011; it is larger, and has more first-time-at-U of A students. In addition to going over the quizzes, I put them online via Respondus, and spent many hours incorporating feedback so that students had the feedback to the answers as study guides. I annotated and voice annotated the quiz cases, and voice-annotated my lecture slides so students could “listen” to me explain the concepts and examples again, or essentially repeat the lecture.  I held countless one-on-one tutorial sessions and group review sessions to go over the skills required to think about unstructured information.  Of the students I invited to these sessions (based on their early grades), only 20% showed up or responded. Based on a show of hands, an even smaller percentage was utilizing the voice-annotated slides before quizzes. When I was able to show that the group that came to the review sessions scored 15 pts above the median for the entire class, students started paying more attention. In the days before the midterm, there was relatively high use of the annotated slides by a majority of the class.


Going forward

One problem I see is that students view this course as just another gen ed—which type of class they generally, and vocally, loathe. Many are there because they have to take it, and they do not place or see the value of the course in the way that I believe Eller, in requiring a course like this for all, originally intended.  Fall 2011 in particular was full of angry students who had been put in a class they were not ready for in a structure that was wholly unsuited to them and to the subject. I believe that has harmed the EI.

With the changes I have been able to make, many students end up enjoying the course and begin to work very hard (regardless of how well they actually perform on standard measures) as they course goes on.  They recognize that they are learning, have mastered a lot of the core concepts and that, in fact, they are better prepared for the real world (see attached survey results). I see a lot of progress in the students by the end of the class, particularly in their level of professionalism, recognition of what it takes to be convincing in support of an argument or idea, their work habits, and their willingness to engage with messy material rather than have a checklist of things that give them “points” as in high school.

Notwithstanding, I doubt the course is properly positioned, either in level or relative to the business curriculum, or that devoting resources to students who are neither ready nor interested is either efficient or desirable. With Eller trying to build a reputation for entrepreneurship, and McGuire having a reputation that should be maintained rather than jeopardized, forcing students who may never become Eller students to take this course, or any student to take it before they are ready, seems to me to be a huge risk to reputation. I am absolutely certain that targeting this course to pre-business students ended up placing the course at odds with its original conception and goals. Yet if we want to be able to say that every student graduates with one course that provides an authentic learning experience in innovation and entrepreneurship, then this is, in the main, the course that will give it to them. It may be that it needs to be moved up and given a more meaningful status.

Another limitation has been course support. The original conception of this class as a huge lecture assumed that it would not require qualified people aside from one instructor. The course material—the process of innovation--does not lend itself to this model. While I have improved things by sectioning the class into breakouts and gaining GAs to run breakouts, they are not qualified to teach and are often sidetracked by their own programs and schedules. The course is a large management and logistical job, and the GAs require considerable training. As GAs change each year, even each semester, there are a lot of inefficiencies and a lack of continuity.

For next Fall (2013), I am thinking of trying to teach this course in RM 127, where I can video the lectures real-time, and cycle students through for alternate days’ of required attendance. For example, if there are 200 students, each group of 50 students would have the benefit of a “small” class with me every fourth session.  This model, however, may be best suited to a higher level, as students would be responsible for keeping up with the work and taking quizzes remotely. It also would not work well if the class got too large and students had to wait too long for face-to-face time.

As briefly discussed, we are also just beginning to think about making this course the single EI course, and devoting more, and more consistent, resources to it under a Course Director/section model, perhaps using adjuncts as we do not have doctoral students. My initial thinking is that if Eller wants to build a reputation for giving every student a bonafide experience and grounding in innovation and entrepreneurship, we should do that in a controlled, consistent, and high-quality manner so that it really is what we say it is.

Outcome: Given the feedback from this instructor and department head, talks are under way with Undergraduate Studies to determine the correct placement of this course within the Undergraduate Program.  Evidence is pointing to a possible capstone course with this content as a way to “launch our students with innovative thinking”.


Business Knowledge: Legal Environment, Mgmt 402

Integrates analysis of legal issues into business decision making

Class:  Management 402     Instructor:  Suzanne Cummins

Capstone experience,  Integrating Business Fundamentals with Ethics and Law

Learning outcomes measured are:  Ethics/social responsibility and critical thinking. 

The questions embedded test for both critical thinking and understanding one or more of the ethical theories taught in the class.  To preclude collusion between semesters, I use different questions to test the same area of content each semester.

Though these are open book tests, the student would not find the “answer” to these either of these questions in the book – the student must reason through what the book says to select the correct answer. 


The following ethics/social responsibility/critical thinking question was difficult (based on an average 80% on exam, and the relative number of wrong answers on the question as compared to the exam mean).  The question relates to Kant’s philosophy of moral absolutism as described in a 19th century translation of his work entitled “The Science of Right.”    This question tests the student’s understanding of moral absolutism, critical reading and analysis.

62% of the students were able to answer this question correctly, and 38% were not.

Why does Kant refer to the right of necessity (jus necessitatis) as “so-called” in the first sentence of the paragraph following the bracketed comment on page 3?


The following ethics/social responsibility/critical thinking question was very easy  (based on an average 80% on exam, and the relative number of wrong answers on the question as compared to the exam  mean).   This question required students to understand the definition of  the ethical school of teleology, with a general notion about the philosophies and philosophers that fall inside and outside that school of thought.  The book provides the definition and categorizes the philosophers.  The question requires students to apply their rudimentary knowledge  by critically thinking through the options provided in the question.

419 (approx. 91%) out of 458 students got this answer correct, and 39 (approx. 9%)  got it wrong. 

Teleology (see pages 1-7) encompasses which of the following:


Outcomes: This course is a senior capstone and has a difficult position because the students are often absent because of job interviewing.  As a result of declining attendance, yet an overall interest in the course, the course is now offered in both a face to face format and online.  All exams are proctored by proctor-U.  The instructor continues to find ways to interact meaningfully with her students including informal topic “teas”.  This is a very innovative instructor that utilizes preceptors and has implemented a variety of educational models over the years.  According to the assessment students are effectively learning in this hybrid model of online learning and in person testing.  Our indirect feedback is starting to reflect that students are hungry for an experience that culminates their core courses.  They are reflecting a desire for a program capstone, and we are carefully watching the entrepreneurship course as an opportunity.


Business Knowledge: Operations Management, MIS 373

Instructor: Eyran Gisches (fall 2012)

The two learning outcomes that I think are relevant to MIS 373 are (taken from the Undergraduate program outcomes):

1.       Uses mathematical models and performs statistical data analysis in support of business decision-making.

2.       Describes the issues and tradeoffs associated with creating and delivering products and services.

For each one I chose a question that may measure it from each of the five midterms in this course.

Outcome #1 may be measured using:

Exam #1 question #10: 326/346 = 94%

Exam #2 question #1: 288/315 = 91%

Exam #2 question #4: 294/314 = 94%

Exam #3 question #7: 132/171 = 77%

Exam #4 question #5 : 244/296 = 82%

Exam #5 question #14: 269/349 = 77%


Outcome #2 may be measured using:

Exam #1 question #16: 164/353 = 46%

Exam #2 question #19: 290/305 = 95%

Exam #3 question #12: 132/171 = 77%

Exam #4 question #16: 232/296 = 78%

Exam #5 question #19: 252/350 = 72%


Outcome: Overall the students seem to have done better on the math problems (although not very difficult ones) than on the conceptual/tradeoff questions. This may possibly be improved by having them face more of this type of problems earlier on (if currently they are not).


Business Knowledge: Technology, MIS 304

Describes the appropriate use of information systems in a business environment.

In this required core class the instructor culminates the course with an applied technology presentation from 95 teams of students.  While the project varies every year, he is committed to technology literacy, comfort explaining and understanding technology in business with future opportunities and challenges in mind.  He uses outside evaluators, local IT professionals, to judge the presentations.

Learning Outcomes Evaluated (scale 1 lowest- 10 highest), 18 judges, 22 team sample

  1. Demonstrated a knowledge of the role Information Systems plays in business (9.2 average score)
  2. Demonstrated an understanding of the tradeoffs between centralized and decentralized approaches to implementing Information System Technologies (9.1 average score)
  3. Logically structured a decision based on knowledge and understanding of the above learning outcomes (9.2 average score)
  4. Demonstrated a capability to present an alysis and results in a professional manner (9.7 average score)

Outcome: These outside evaluators helped us measure both communication and technology learning outcomes.  Based on the feedback, students have mastered these learning outcomes.

Summary of Undergraduate Program Improvements from Assessment

The faculty representatives on the Undergraduate Studies Committee (USC) are the stewards of the Eller Undergraduate curriculum.  This faculty governance committee has been instrumental in designing and implementing the following improvements over the past five years:

-Continuously working with the math department to improve foundational math courses.  We moved from many small sections with uneven quality to large sections with master teachers for business math.  However, the significant change occurred fall of 2012 when business math was cancelled and the math requirement was redesigned with business calculus and two Eller controlled statistics classes.  The second statistics class emphasizes understanding large data sets.

-Budget cuts are often unkind to innovative teaching strategies.  Five years ago an innovative course emphasizing high level excel was cut from the curriculum because of the high cost of teaching “skills”.  With much pressure from alumni and employers, and through data from assessment, we realized the need for excel preparation had to be replaced.  Beginning fall of 2012 a new lab was added to MIS 111 to ensure that students have adequate preparation in Excel.  Finance has added an Excel modeling course for their majors as well.

-It is a common discussion within the faculty that students are not spending adequate time on homework or completing problem sets.  We believe “time on task” is a critical part of learning.  Consequently, a major innovation has included implementing more lab experience in large classes.  We now have a lab for FIN 360, MIS 111, and BNAD 277 (2nd stats class).

-Business communication is a favorite class for Eller students.  However, in only one semester, it is responsible for helping students become outstanding writers, presenters and critical thinkers.  From the assessment data showing growing failure rates on the upper division writing proficiency exam we found that one communication course isn’t adequate to meet our stated learning outcomes.  Consequently, there is faculty interest in a lower division writing experience to build strong skills and habits before students begin the upper division. This will be voted on by the faculty in spring 2013.

-The Faculty has strong interest in improving placement of all Eller undergraduates.  A dean’s task force convened in 2011 determined that three, one unit classes should be developed in the prebusiness foundation.  The faculty are considering a one unit course on “business environment/current events/major immersion ”, one unit course on understanding self, the career process, networking, and  personal branding, and finally a one unit mandatory career related experience before graduation customized for each student.  Much of this is predicated on approval of a prebusiness student fee.

-In 2009 we changed Econ 330 to include Global Topics in the title and content.  This course is our primary course that emphasizes global economic knowledge and competency.  Similar to ethics, this competency is found is all courses, but this one course ensures that students have adequate exposure to global business.

-With a strong reputation for entrepreneurship and innovation we have tried many ways to ensure that all students are exposed to these learning outcomes.  Five years ago we had an integrated project  in the first semester.  The strategy has now changed to include an Entrepreneurship-Innovation requirement to graduate.  This is similar to our Ethics requirement.  Students select from a series of options, with at least one large course on the topic taught by an Eller faculty member.  Currently, however, with E-I we are still assessing the timing of the experience (sophomore year to get them engaged in Entrepreneurial thinking early or as a summative capstone).

Indirect Measures

As reported, our learning outcome assessment findings have informed our decisions to make significant changes over the last five years in our curriculum.  Both direct and indirect measures have informed our strategy.  We value indirect feedback because it helps us understand what we are not doing or teaching and what is missing from the Eller Experience.  We seek continuous-  understanding of the ever changing business landscape and innovative adaptations to the Eller Experience to prepare students for the future. 

Longitudinal Graduation Survey

Employer Survey

Alumni Survey

Eller Student Council Be Heard Week

National Student Engagement Survey

Major Learning assessment pages (website), updated every 5 years during APR process

Future Plans

The Eller College stakeholders have a philosophy of continuous improvement both within every course and holistically throughout the program.  While we’ve accomplished a comprehensive benchmark for all upper division core courses, the next stage of our assessment process includes:

  • Yearly: core instructors complete worksheet for imbedded questions and outside evaluator data, especially important if faculty change
  • Yearly: Undergraduate studies committee (faculty governance) reviews direct and indirect data and identifies one particular competency to investigate and measure in-depth throughout the program
  • Data Tracking: Do a better job of compiling and tracking and summarizing longitudinal data
  • New Courses and programs: Ensure that all new courses have a comprehensive assessment protocol.
  • Provide an incentive for faculty to complete the requisite assessment protocol
  • Use faculty award money on small grants and recognition for innovative faculty that are “closing the loop”.
Updated date: Mon, 07/02/2018 - 15:37