Submitted Fall, 2004
-- Chemistry graduates will have the necessary skills and knowledge to acquire entry-level positions in the field (including industry and high school teaching) or for admission to their graduate or professional schools of choice.
-- Chemistry graduates will value how their education enables them to make more informed assessments of and take actions on chemistry-related health and environmental issues.
All of the learning objectives for Department Learning Goal #3 and most for Department Learning Goal #4 were measured using surveys of graduating seniors - indirect measure category 2. iii. The survey was developed by the UNK Department of Chemistry.
- At least 75% of chemistry graduates who choose to pursue a chemistry-related profession will acquire employment with the company of their choice or gain admission to the graduate or professional school of their choice
- All scores for questions pertaining to the value of chemistry course content and course activities/resources in the graduates' learning of chemistry will be at least 3 (on the 5-point scale).
- All scores for questions pertaining to the recommendation of attending UNK and being a chemistry major - "If you were starting your college career over, would you attend UNK?" and if so, ". . . would you be a chemistry major?" - will be at least 3 (on the 5-point scale).
- Average value-question scores from surveys received from 4-year alumni will be at or above the average from the surveys they had completed just before graduation.
Out of five survey respondents, four (80%) gained employment or admission in their chosen field. This meets the benchmark criterion.
The one graduate who did not gain employment or admission in their preferred company or school is currently enrolled at UNK as a non-degree seeking graduate student. This student rated the value of courses most closely related to the chosen profession at an average of 4.0 out of 5 points. This indicates that the graduate did not perceive that inadequate chemistry course preparation prevented hiring or admission by the company or school or their choice.
On questions pertaining to the value of chemistry course content, course activities/resources, and recommendation of attending UNK and being a chemistry major, most ratings were very positive, but the following scores below 3 (out of the 5-point scale) were noted:
Rating for Preparation for ProfessionPhysical Chemistry (1 response below 3 pts.)
Rating for Enhancing Informed Decision-Making on Health/Environmental IssuesGeneral Chemistry (1 response below 3 pts.)
Rating for Value of Department Resource or ActivityACS Student Affiliate - or Chemistry Club (2 responses below 3 pts.)
Physical Chemistry. The one sub-benchmark response regarding the value of this course for preparation for one's profession came from a graduate pursuing a health-related career with the most closely-related courses lying on the biological side of chemistry - physical chemistry is considered to be on the "opposite" side of the chemistry content spectrum. With only one sub-benchmark score, the need for extensive modifications in the Physical Chemistry curriculum is not indicated.
General Chemistry From this single data set, it is difficult to discern the reason for the one sub-benchmark score pertaining to enhancing informed decision-making on health/environmental issues, but there seems to be some consistency with the General Studies survey described below.
Chemistry Club Survey scores in the category appear to simply reflect students' levels of activity in the department's ACS Student Affiliate. Before an extensive review of the Student Affiliate's role in the department is initiated, it would be useful to categorically separate this factor out in future surveys.
In addition to the value that graduates place on their chemistry course areas, value perceptions of General Studies students are particularly important, given the broader scope of student backgrounds and expectations. An additional learning objective for department learning goal #4 is below:
Chemistry students in General Studies courses will value the learning of their chemistry course content for the understanding of chemistry as a scientific discipline and enabling them to make more informed decisions on public issues of a scientific nature.
Indirect measure 2. iii. - surveys - was used for this assessment measurement. Questions are derived from the Chemistry Department graduate survey and the UNK General Studies objectives. This short survey was administered in every Chemistry General Studies course (CHEM 145, 150, 160, 161) along with the teaching evaluation.
Students were asked to respond to the following statements: "This course enhanced my ability to . . ."
- Use critical thinking, reasoning, and analyzing in solving problems.
- Apply scientific methodology in a laboratory setting.
- Comprehend how scientific concepts originate and are validated and refined.
- Use specialized vocabulary to understand matter and energy.
- Make more informed decisions about public issues pertaining to science.
Responses were rated 1 through 5 according to the following scale:
- 1 = strongly disagree
- 2 = disagree
- 3 = neither agree nor disagree
- 4 = agree
- 5 = strongly agree
Benchmark criterion for successful achievement - Each year for each General Studies course, the average survey response for each question will be no lower than 3.5. If this benchmark is not met in three successive years, the General Studies course format and delivery will be reviewed and modified as appropriate.
A summary table of survey results from 2003-04 CHEM 145, 150, 160, and 161 students is below:
||Average Score (5-point scale)
|General Studies Objective
|Use critical thinking, reasoning, and analyzing in solving problems.
|Apply scientific methodology in a laboratory setting.
|Comprehend how scientific concepts originate and are validated and refined.
|Use specialized vocabulary to understand matter and energy.
|Make more informed decisions about public issues pertaining to science.
The benchmark criterion was met; however, the lowest score - 3.71 for CHEM 160 in the area of "making more informed decisions about public issues pertaining to science" - was noted by the department and there is a connection between this result and the General Chemistry sub-benchmark score for this same value category in the graduate surveys described above. Individual instructors will make a conscious effort increase connections between CHEM 160 material and public science issues where appropriate.