1) Analysis of course evaluations from lecture and laboratory sections for faculty and teaching assistants. In addition, the Department conducts periodic peer instructor/course evaluations. Evaluations are reviewed by Department Administration and discussed in annual faculty evaluations.
2) Analysis of College of Science exit surveys from graduating seniors. These surveys provide detailed qualitative and quantitative responses of students to the core curriculum, to non-departmental courses required for the biology major, and to department advising.
3) Two required capstone courses for Biology and Public Health students provide an opportunity to assess student mastery of core objectives. These capstone courses, BIOL 5250 (Evolution) and PUBH 5500 (Public Health Management) require integration of knowledge gained from earlier classes. The instructors of each course review learning objectives and outcomes, student performance, and course evaluation to assess achievement of core learning objectives and reports to Department Administration. In addition to providing students new information, these courses help to identify strengths and weaknesses in each curriculum and allow an overall assessment of student communication skills in science.
4) The Biology Academic Advisor actively
pursues opportunities for undergraduates to become engaged in research
opportunities within the Department and with colleagues in other departments and colleges. The Biology Academic
Advisor coordinates and maintains a database on undergraduate research
activities of Biology majors and coordinates the Department
Undergraduate Research Symposium each semester. The database is reviewed by Department Administration to assess the weaknesses and strengths of the Department's undergraduate research activities. An undergraduate research symposium is held fall and spring semesters to provide a professional venue for undergraduate researchers to present posters or oral presentations of their research.
5) The Department submitted a Portfolio of Learning Excellence for consideration of the Utah State University Department Teaching Excellence Award - 2007, 2008, and 2009. Submission of the proposals have provided an excellent venue to assess our performance in undergraduate advising, teaching, and mentoring in the past three years. Our in depth self-assessment provided many areas for improvement. We continue to collect additional data and add to the data pools that we have to get a better overview of the strengths of the Department. We are pleased to announce that in 2009, the Department was awarded the Utah State University Department Teaching Award. Since, the Department underwent an extensive 4-year review in 2011. We continue to address the suggestions made by the review board and build on the strengths of the department as we prepare for our next review.
The Department periodically surveys graduate students in the program. The surveys, administered by the Biology Graduate Students Association address program objectives and outcomes.
The Department maintains a comprehensive database of of graduate student program applications and enrollments, financial support activities, degree program progress, completion of degree statistics, and career placement. See Outcomes Data for additional information. These data are used by the Graduate Programs Committee and Department Administration to asses potential areas of improvement.