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Retailing and Consumer Sciences: Undergraduate Programs


The undergraduate program in RCSC is one of the few four-year undergraduate retailing programs in the nation. RCSC offers a broad selection of courses that emphasize principles employed to manage the retail supply chain in order to satisfy consumers’ needs and wants. The RCSC major is a 120-unit degree consisting of the following components and their respective semester units: general education, 36 units; RCSC/College Foundation, 36 units; RCSC major, 37 units; and general electives, 11 units. There is no accrediting body for the RCSC discipline.

To advance into the RCSC major and be eligible to enroll in RCSC major course requirements, students must apply for competitive admission to the professional phase of the program. This typically occurs during their sophomore year. Acceptance into this final phase signifies that students have mastered basic competencies to prepare them for upper division courses in the major.

RCSC undergraduate student learning outcomes (undergraduate and graduate program outcomes) were developed by the RCSC faculty. The undergraduate learning outcomes were developed by all appointed, tenured, and tenure-track faculty with instructional responsibilities in the RCSC program. In identifying these outcomes, faculty examined the skill sets needed in the field (e.g., communication, analytic, theory application, strategic planning, etc.), identified courses that covered specific skill categories, examined the extent and nature of overlap in content among courses, and examined the current learning objectives outlined for each course in the RCSC undergraduate major. To implement the learning outcomes in the undergraduate program, learning objectives and activities for each course were then re-examined by faculty to insure that the programs’ learning outcomes were being met.

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

Undergraduate Program Expected Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment Plan (Course-based assessment rubrics linked after each outcome)

Upon graduating from Retailing and Consumer Sciences students will be able to demonstrate:

1.      Broad knowledge of contemporary issues, theories and their applications in retailing and consumer sciences.
2.      Ability to quantitatively and qualitatively analyze opportunities and risks faced by managers in the retail sector and make related business decisions.
3.      Ability to systematically identify and assess strategic priorities of firms in the retail sector and articulate effective strategies for business success.
4.      Effective written and oral communication skills for a variety of audiences.
5.      Knowledge of leadership, management and ethical standards in the retail sector and the ability to employ them effectively.
Assessment Activities: 

Regular or Recurring Activities

Faculty/Staff Involvement:

  • Course-based assessment rubrics were derived in consultation with each course instructor and are based on the evaluation activities (e.g., exams, written assignments) and grading criteria utilized in each course. 
  • Premajor/Major Entry Surveys were developed in consultation with Norton academic advisors and Student Services staff who are responsible for teaching our "success" courses.  The Pre-major Entry Survey is administered in RCSC 197A (Introduction to Retail Culture) by the RCSC academic advisor, and the Major Entry Survey is administered  in RCSC 384 (Leadership, Ethics, and Management Practices) by the RCSC Internship Coordinator.
  • The Graduating Senior Exit Survey was developed by the FSHD Undergraduate Curriculum Committee with input from FSHD faculty.  Graduating students complete the online surveys when they come to the Norton School Student Services Center to apply for their degree check.
Assessment Findings: 
* Course based assessment results through Spring 2017
* Course based assessment results through Spring 2016
* Graduating Senior Exit Survey Results:


Change in Response to Findings: 

Results of both direct (course-based) and indirect (exit survey) assessments indicate a high level of student success in meeting expected learning outcomes.  Most recently, course-based assessments for Spring 2017 show student success rates ranging from 86% to 100% across the five student outcome areas.  Student perceptions of their learning outcomes (Question 12 on the exit survey) are also consistently high, with the large majority of students indicating that they did “very well” or “extremely well” in achieving learning goals in the five outcome areas (Overall mean rating=4.3 out of 5 over the last 3 years).  In addition, student ratings of how well the RCSC major prepared them to perform important professional skills for career success (e.g., working in teams, thinking strategically, communicating effectively) were consistently high (Overall mean rating=4.4 out of 5 over the last 3 years).

Overall, the most recent RCSC assessment findings reflect very satisfactory student learning outcomes.  Nevertheless, the RCSC program has pursued a number of curriculum changes over the past two to three years with the goal of further enhancing student preparation for success in the workplace.  These changes include developing and offering a new course on Excel for Retail Business (RCSC 216A) and two new advanced seminars (RCSC 496A) to be offered beginning Spring 2018 – Advanced Retail Analytics and Advanced Consumer Analytics. We look forward to seeing further improvements in student outcomes as a results of these changes.

Updated date: Wed, 08/09/2017 - 08:48