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The College of Science views assessment as a critical component of its mission to provide students with a world-class education, at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.


Assessment is viewed not simply as a snapshot of educational outcomes captured when students graduate.  Rather, we view assessment as a dynamic process that guides the development of educational programs and activities, defines the kind of information that is collected about students’ experiences, and specifies how the information is used to refine educational planning and objectives. 

The assessment process begins by defining a vision of what College of Science students will understand and what they will be able to do after their time at the University of Arizona.  The vision drives the development of curricula and programs within departments, and generates specific claims about what programs should accomplish.  From these claims, metrics are chosen that will allow for evaluation of how well the goals are being achieved and provide guidance about improvement for students in the future. 

The specific vision, claims and metrics are expected to vary considerably across units, reflecting the breadth of research and scholarship in the College of Science.  However, all departments are engaged in the process of defining objectives for students, collecting information about how well the objectives are being achieved, and using the information to adapt and improve programs.  Objectives that are common to departments in the College of Science include the following:

  • Students will know and understand the core concepts, theories, findings and principles of their chosen field of study.  Departments will gather data and use the information to review and refine their curricula to ensure that the educational content delivered in courses is aligned with current scholarship.

  • Students will understand and, to the extent that it is feasible, have had experience in using the methods and approaches that are central to their primary field of study.  The College of Science is committed to providing opportunities for students to become involved in research activities, while also recognizing that departments will vary considerably in the kinds of student research that can be supported.  Departments are expected to define the types of opportunities that can be made available to students, to collect data about student involvement in research, and to use the data for periodic program review. 

  • Students will develop their appreciation of how knowledge evolves through research and scholarship; they will understand that knowledge is not static but rather reflects the emergence of new theories and new points of view.  This understanding may be promoted in coursework that illustrates changing perspectives, through research and practice opportunities, and through exposure to new points of view in the form of lectures, colloquia and presentations at the department level, and through the College of Science and other related. Students may also develop their understanding of the changing nature of knowledge through outreach activities that connect them with younger students and members of the community. Data that can be used to monitor student involvement will be identified and used to improve future programs and events.

  • Students will deepen their understanding of the importance of science, mathematics and related fields in addressing the diverse and important challenges that face us on a local, regional, national and global scale.  The College of Science will develop and support opportunities for students to learn about the integral role of mathematics and the sciences in developing solutions for such challenges.

  • Students will learn to reflect on their own learning, and will leave the University with a vision of the next steps in their education and development.   Support for students in educational planning will be available throughout their time in the College of Science, including formal advising services, faculty mentoring, and career planning services. Data regarding students’ educational trajectories will be gathered at the level of departments as well as by the College of Science, and the results will be used to identify strengths as well as areas for future improvement.

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

Participation in Independent Scientific Research

Undergraduates may particpate in the creation of new scientific knowledge and learn the process of scientific discovery through independent research. This scientific research may take place through independent study, through one of the paid internships/fellowships, or through paid employment to do research in a research laboratory.

  • learn the process of scientific discovery
Updated date: Tue, 03/29/2011 - 15:46