The ultimate goal of assessment is to permit the collection of data which describes our success (or failure) in reaching our learning objectives. This data can then, in turn, be used to make decisions that will improve our ability to reach our objectives.
Overall, the undergraduate programs supported by PSC are effective. Students regularly evaluate department courses and their comments are reviewed at the administrative level and then given to faculty members. Department curriculum committees regularly review curricula and make changes as appropriate. At the last department review there were recommendations made to decrease duplication in coursework, increase the number of options, allow more unrestricted electives, develop an undergraduate major in land and water resources, and re-evaluate co-enrollment of BS and associate degree students in the same courses.
In response to these recommendations we have successfully established a program in Environmental Soil and Water Science. We have also attempted to reduce redundancy in undergraduate courses. However, this is an on-going process and is somewhat difficult because of the large numbers of transfer students who come into the department with diverse training and experience. We have probably been less successful at increasing the number of electives due to the general education demands and the number of courses that are critical to the degree programs. Finally we have examined the issue of co-enrollment of associate and bachelor’s degree students in the same courses and have elected not to change. The reasons include no vocational funding from the state to support separate courses, a large number of students who move from the associate program to the bachelors program, and limited faculty available to teach more courses.
The department also attempts to adjust programs as appropriate whenever a clear need or concern develops. Currently PSC faculty teach sections of USU 1350 and USU 1360.
As a department we try to maintain the standards and rigor necessary for effective educational programs. At the same time, we try to be responsive to student needs and make appropriate adjustments, as long as they do not reduce program quality.