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Department of Geology

Summary of Undergraduate Assessment of Student Learning Report AY2014-2015 and 8-Year Program Review

The geology program has rotated through assessment of 8 student learning outcomes (SLOs) for the past 7 academic years: knowledge of earth materials (SLO1); understanding of earth processes (SLO2); ability to apply geologic techniques (SLO3); understanding of career options (SLO4); competence in written and oral presentations (SLO5); ability to work well with others (SLO6); competence in information retrieval (SLO7); and experience in networking and understanding of the need for public awareness (SLO8). Six of these SLOs (1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7) have been assessed using multiple direct measures. These measures have been adjusted over time to ensure the outcomes are tested as accurately as possible.  In particular, we have found that performance on specific assignments in advanced-level courses provides more robust indicators for each SLO than service-level classes with few geology majors.

Outcomes for these 6 directly measured SLOs indicate that student learning has been maintained at a consistently high level over the review period. In March of 2014 our program underwent an external curriculum review. The review recommendations led to a refresh of the core program, strengthening requirements in supporting math skills and increasing flexibility for students to tailor their degrees in particular sub-disciplines if they so choose.  Future assessment will enable us to carefully monitor the revised curriculum to ensure we maintain the highest standards of student learning in the geology program.  The remaining 2 SLOs (4 and 8) have been assessed over the last 5 academic years using an online survey sent out to graduated majors. This indirect assessment suggests that understanding of career options available to our students (SLO4) appears to be lower than the desired expectation of the geology program.  To address this concern, we have recently engaged our Alumni Advisory Council, who have agreed to implement a number of activities (e.g. informal career discussion days, career-based seminars, one-on-one mentoring) intended to assist with both SLO4 (career options) and SLO8 (networking).

A table with a summary of assessment methods, numbers of students assessed, and assessment results is available here.