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School of Engineering and Computer Science

Engineering Center, Room 301
115 Library Drive
Rochester , MI 48309-4479
(location map)
Dean's Office: (248) 370-2217
Academic Advising: (248) 370-2201
secsadvising@oakland.edu

School of Engineering and Computer Science

Engineering Center, Room 301
115 Library Drive
Rochester , MI 48309-4479
(location map)
Dean's Office: (248) 370-2217
Academic Advising: (248) 370-2201
secsadvising@oakland.edu

SECS Program Assessment

Overview

The SECS faculty has always been committed to continuously improve the quality of both the SECS undergraduate and graduate educational programs. The faculty has developed and implemented a systematic, formal plan to measure, assess, evaluate and improve the SECS programs. The development of this plan began with identifying and reaching out to the constituent groups the SECS serves: our students, employers and faculty. Representatives of the constituent groups determined educational objectives for each program that describe the goals necessary for successful modern engineering practice. Outcomes were also identified for each educational program that ensure demonstration of the student skills necessary to achieve the educational objective goals in professional practice.

Assessment question: Do SECS students demonstrate achievement of the student outcomes before graduation? Student outcomes are a set of skills necessary for successful professional practice, and include problem solving, laboratories, design, teamwork, ethics, interpreting data, communication, information literacy, contemporary issues and modern engineering tools.

The SECS program assessment/improvement process involves both indirect and direct measures of the success of each course within each program as well as overall measures of the educational programs and of the assessment process itself. In order to make efficient use of resources, the assessment and continuous improvement process is implemented School-wide. Each component of the assessment process is described briefly below.

Program Evaluation. The overall success of a program is measured by whether the students of that program can demonstrate achievement of all outcomes before they graduate, and if the professional objectives of the program are demonstrated as the students are professionally employed. Key courses are identified in each program where students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate achievement of the student outcomes. The set of key courses is chosen to insure that all of the student outcomes are demonstrated. Student materials that may provide evidence that the outcomes have been achieved are collected from the key courses. External evaluators, including but not limited to faculty not directly involved with the course and departmental advisory board members, review these materials to establish whether the students in that class have demonstrated some or all of the student outcomes and the level to which those outcomes are achieved. The department undergraduate affairs committees (DUAC) review the results of these external evaluations and, when necessary, generate appropriate plans to improve the achievement of the student outcomes.

Course Evaluation. Each SECS course has a set of course objectives, developed by the instructing faculty and department undergraduate affairs committees (DUACs), which insure the logical sequence of topics throughout the program that are necessary to the eventual, successful achievement of the student outcomes. At the end of each semester, the students and faculty in each course rate how well the objectives in each particular course section were achieved. The faculty member identifies the specific student outcome(s) achieved in the course and cites student work as evidence in support of their assessment. In addition, faculty are encouraged to comment on how well the course fits into the overall scheme of the program and to suggest improvements to the course, the course objectives and the overall program of study. The department chairperson reviews these course evaluations on a regular basis and forwards the suggestions for improvement to the department undergraduate affairs committee (DUAC) for consideration, prioritization and action. Each DUAC is composed of several faculty members, and the department chair as ex-officio member.

Input of Constituents. In addition to directly measuring the demonstration of student outcomes, several other tools are utilized to gather additional information about the overall health and success of each program. Students are surveyed as they exit the SECS programs and are asked about every aspect of their OU experience, focusing on the achievement of the student outcomes. Oakland alumni are surveyed and are asked how well the SECS programs prepared them for professional employment and graduate study. Alumni are also solicited for suggestions for improvements to the programs of study and the program's objectives. Faculty assessment coordinators meet regularly with employers of our graduates and members of the SECS and departmental advisory committees, who are asked to comment on the preparation of the graduates for professional employment and are also solicited for suggestions for improvements to the programs of study and the program objectives. The information gathered with these additional tools are examined and evaluated by the department undergraduate affairs committees (DUAC), who subsequently generate plans, when necessary and based on the input, to improve the programs.

Documentation and assessment process evaluation. As indicated above, the various steps of the SECS assessment process are:

  • external evaluations of student outcomes in key courses
  • student end-of-course evaluations
  • faculty end-of-course summaries
  • chair review of evaluations and summaries
  • exit surveys and input from alumni and employers
  • consideration of feedback by DUAC, recommend improvements to program

The following image shows how these steps fit together. The upper loop, which happens once each semester, begins with the department and SECS undergraduate curriculum committees reviewing the results of the evaluations from the previous semester (and advisory board reviews, see below), adjusting the student outcomes and course objectives as necessary, which are then used by the instructors in designing and delivering the SECS courses. At the end of the semester all courses are evaluated based on the course objectives. Selected student work in a subset of the SECS courses, the so-called key courses, are also evaluated externally to make sure that the student outcomes are accomplished across the curriculum.

Continuing with the diagram below, the lower loop represents the feedback from constituent groups and is accomplished every 2-4 years. Data is gathered from graduating seniors in the exit surveys, from alumni and from employers, and is reported to the department and SECS advisory boards, who then review and review the program educational objectives as necessary. The results are delivered to the department curriculum committees, who use this information in their review and revision of the students and course outcomes (see above).

A flowchart of the steps of the SECS Assessment process. The content of this diagram is described by the paragraph directly above the diagram on the webpage.

The 2008 Oakland University Assessment Excellence Award was presented on April 16, 2008 to the undergraduate engineering programs in the School of Engineering and Computer Science in recognition of the School's model of the North Central Association's culture of assessment goal by integrating assessment findings with program revisions. The citation reads: "The assessment of student learning outcomes is integrated into the fabric of Oakland University's undergraduate engineering programs. This is evidenced by the extensive description of the assessment process found on the School of Engineering and Computer Sciences (SECS) home page. Assessment is the source of valuable information leading to significant improvements to the engineering curriculum, including the re-working of the core program to be more interdisciplinary, and the creation of a sophomore level design course. Grounded in the ABET expectations for student learning, the engineering assessment process clearly links program learning outcomes with specific courses and embeds the assessment at multiple points in the curriculum. This provides direct evidence of what students know and can do. In addition, the extensive use of the Web in the process enables the collection and analysis of sufficient data to ensure the quality of the results. The SECS faculty is to be commended for the development of a strong culture of evidence." The SECS received $5,000 and was encouraged to use the money to fund enhancements to the assessment process and was recognized on a plaque to be displayed in the OU Kresge Library lobby.

Educational Mission and Goals

The Oakland University role and mission statement, found in Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs, states:

  • As a state-supported institution of higher education, Oakland University has a three-fold mission. It offers instructional programs of high quality that lead to degrees at the baccalaureate, master´s and doctoral levels as well as programs in continuing education; it advances knowledge and promotes the arts through research, scholarship, and creative activity; and it renders significant public service. In all of its activities, the university strives to exemplify educational leadership.

The SECS mission statement, found in the OU Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs, echoes the three-fold mission of teaching, research and service, applies them to engineering and computer science, and then focuses them to the specific, and highly relevant, automotive and automotive-related industries of our constituents:

  • The overall mission of the School of Engineering and Computer Science is threefold:

    • to provide high-quality undergraduate and graduate programs of instruction in engineering and computer science to prepare graduates for careers in the coming decades,
    • to advance knowledge through basic and applied research in relevant branches of engineering and computer science, and,
    • to provide service to both the engineering profession and the public of the State of Michigan.

  • In carrying out its mission the School will address the needs of the automotive and related industries in southeast Michigan for the:

    • education of engineers and computer scientists,
    • development of research programs and
    • fulfillment of the demands for professional service.

This mission statement was developed by the SECS faculty and the SECS Advisory Board and was adopted by the SECS Faculty Assembly. It is reviewed periodically by each of these groups.

The mission statements of the SECS departments, found in the OU Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs, state that each department carries out the mission of the School by offering relevant programs in their respective engineering disciplines:

  • The Department of Computer Science and Engineering carries out the mission of the School of Engineering and Computer Science by offering separate undergraduate majors in Computer Science and Information Technology. The department also offers master´s degree programs in Computer Science, and Software Engineering and Information Technology, and a Ph.D. program in Computer Science and Informatics. The undergraduate programs in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET).

  • The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering carries out the mission of the School of Engineering and Computer Science by offering separate undergraduate majors in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. The department also offers master´s degree programs in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Systems Engineering, Mechatronics, and Embedded Systems, as well as a Ph.D. program in Electrical and Computer Engineering. The undergraduate programs in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET).

  • The Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering carries out the mission of the School of Engineering and Computer Science by offering:

    • an undergraduate major in Industrial and Systems Engineering;
    • a master´s degree program in Industrial and Systems Engineering;
    • a master´s degree program in Engineering Management with the cooperation of the School of Business Administration;
    • a graduate certificate program in Productivity Improvement.

    Also, the department actively participates in the school-wide Ph.D. program in Systems Engineering. The undergraduate programs in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

  • The Department of Mechanical Engineering carries out the mission of the School of Engineering and Computer Science by offering an undergraduate major in mechanical engineering, including various depth areas. The department also offers a master´s degree program in mechanical engineering and a Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering. The Mechanical Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Program educational objectives, found in the OU Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs, are a set of skills that are necessary to function successfully in modern engineering practice. It is expected that SECS graduates have been prepared in each of these areas and will exhibit each of these characteristics as they pursue their professional careers:

  • The objectives of the Bioengineering program are to produce graduates who:

    • have the technical knowledge and skills necessary to establish themselves as practicing professionals in bioengineering or biotechnology industries or a related field,
    • are cognizant of the need for lifelong learning and are prepared to pursue successfully graduate study in bioengineering or other post-graduate education, and
    • have an awareness of ethical responsibility, and have the communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills necessary to function effectively in the modern multidisciplinary workplace.

  • The objectives of the Computer Engineering program are to produce graduates who will:
  •  
    • Become successful practitioners in an engineering or related career.
    • Pursue graduate study and/or continuing education opportunities in electrical engineering, computer engineering, or other related disciplines.
    • Demonstrate leadership and excel in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural environments.
    • Function as responsible members of society with an awareness of the ethical and social ramifications of their work.

  • In the course of their careers, graduates of the Computer Science program will:

    • Work productively in the creation, maintenance, and improvement of computing systems.
    • Remain current in their profession through lifelong learning, including graduate school.
    • Exhibit leadership and exercise their profession with the highest level of ethics, and social responsibility.

  • The undergraduate program in Electrical Engineering will provide educational experiences aimed toward producing graduates who will:

    • Become successful practitioners in an engineering or related career.
    • Pursue graduate study and/or continuing education opportunities in electrical engineering, computer engineering, or other related disciplines.
    • Demonstrate leadership and excel in multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural environments.
    • Function as responsible members of society with an awareness of the ethical and social ramifications of their work.

  • The objectives of the Industrial and Systems Engineering program are to produce graduates who will:

    • design, develop, and implement systems which integrate people, materials, equipment, information and energy;
    • operate effectively in dynamic and diverse organizations;
    • demonstrate a professional attitude, integrity and commitment to life-long learning in their work.

  • In the course of their careers, graduates of the Information Technology program will:

    • Work productively as problem solvers and providers of IT solutions in multi-disciplinary environments, including the automotive and health settings.
    • Remain current in their profession through lifelong learning.
    • Exhibit leadership and exercise their profession with the highest level of ethics, and social responsibility.

  • The objectives of the Mechanical Engineering program are to produce graduates, who three to five years after graduation, will:

    • function successfully in engineering roles within the automotive and other global industries,
    • engage in lifelong learning and pursue graduate study in mechanical engineering or other post-graduate education,
    • contribute effectively and ethically to a modern, multidisciplinary workplace, and
    • demonstrate effective communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills.

Student outcomes are a set of skills that assure the achievement of the program educational objectives. Before graduating, SECS students will demonstrate their skills in the following key areas:

  • Student Outcomes for the Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering Programs

    1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
    2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
    3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
    4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
    5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
    6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
    7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

  • Student Outcomes in Bioengineering

    1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
    2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
    3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
    4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
    5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
    6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
    7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.
    8. An ability to apply knowledge of biology and physiology to solve problems at the interface of engineering and biology for both living and non-living systems.

  • Student Outcomes in Computer Science

    1. Analyze a complex computing problem and to apply principles of computing and other relevant disciplines to identify solutions.
    2. Design, implement, and evaluate a computing-based solution to meet a given set of computing requirements in the context of the program's discipline.
    3. Communicate effectively in a variety of professional contexts.
    4. Recognize professional responsibilities and make informed judgments in computing practice based on legal and ethical principles.
    5. Function effectively as a member or leader of a team engaged in activities appropriate to the program's discipline.
    6. Apply computer science theory and software development fundamentals to produce computing-based solutions.

  • Student Outcomes in Information Technology

    1. Analyze a complex computing problem and to apply principles of computing and other relevant disciplines to identify solutions.
    2. Design, implement, and evaluate a computing-based solution to meet a given set of computing requirements in the context of the program's discipline.
    3. Communicate effectively in a variety of professional contexts.
    4. Recognize professional responsibilities and make informed judgments in computing practice based on legal and ethical principles.
    5. Function effectively as a member or leader of a team engaged in activities appropriate to the program's discipline.
    6. Identify and analyze user needs and to take them into account in the selection, creation, integration, evaluation, and administration of computing-based systems.
Assessment Tools

The assessment of the SECS programs relies on the external evaluation of the achievement of student outcomes, the student end-of-course evaluations and the subsequent faculty end-of-course summary as the main, most frequent and most useful measures by which the student outcomes are evaluated. Senior exit surveys are also used to assess student outcomes. Alumni surveys, employer surveys and meetings, and faculty surveys are used to gather additional information and assess the viability of the program educational objectives. Feedback from all of these assessment tools are considered, discussed and used to make curricular and programmatic changes as necessary to insure the continuing high quality of the SECS programs. The assessment tools are described below and are identified as to their importance and how they fit into the SECS assessment process. A flexible schedule of assessments events is given to illustrate the continuous process of program development and improvement.

External Assessment of Student Outcomes
In each SECS program of study, certain key courses are identified. These key courses are (1) required of all students in the program, (2) not able to be transferred from other institutions and (3) selected so that evidence of the achievement of all student outcomes is possible through the entire set of key courses. Key courses normally (with a few exceptions) reside at the top of the program curriculum and always include the program's major design experience, with the remainder chosen by the program's department undergraduate affairs committees (DUAC).

Student work is identified by the faculty in the key courses as demonstrative evidence of the achievement of the student outcomes. The student work is collected and, after the assignment of course grades, is evaluated by an impartial committee. This committee, composed of SECS faculty (excluding the course instructor) and other external volunteer reviewers, examines the students' work only for evidence of the accomplishment of the student outcomes and rates the level at which the outcomes were demonstrated, based on the evidence provided. A rating of 4 out of 5 from the evaluators is required for a program outcome to be considered achieved with the evidence provided. The results of this direct assessment of student work is used by the department undergraduate affairs committee (DUAC) to make recommendations for the further development and improvement of the program. Actions taken by the DUAC can include, but are not limited to, recommending course and/or program changes, selecting a different set of key courses, recommending that other evidence be collected and evaluated, or recommending changes to the assessment process itself.

The external evaluation of the student outcomes is a powerful tool to assess the SECS engineering programs, and is our primary metric to determine whether the student outcomes have been demonstrated. When it was first implemented, evaluators (especially non-faculty) tended to use either the very top or bottom of the scale, and evaluators expressed uncertainty as to how they were to gauge the student materials. Two steps were taken to insure consistent and accurate results. First, an online evaluation form generator has been developed for use by the instructors of the key courses. Instructors choose only those student outcomes that are to be evaluated with the student work from their courses, and an evaluation form is automatically generated that is specific to the student work to be assessed. Secondly, a standard set of instructions for the evaluators is automatically printed with the evaluation forms and serves as a brief training and reference aid for new evaluators.

Student End-Of-Course Evaluations
Each SECS course has a set of course objectives, arrived at through collaboration of the faculty who teach that course and the DUAC. The DUAC assures that the course objectives are consistent with those of prerequisite and subsequent courses and that ample opportunity exists throughout the curriculum for students to demonstrate their abilities as described in the student outcomes. Course objectives are critical to the structure of the program, are consistent across different course sections and are changed only through consultation with the DUAC.

At the end of each semester, each student in every SECS course is given the opportunity to submit an online evaluation of the course. In addition to soliciting the student's perception of the quality of the instruction and the performance of the instructor, the end-of-course evaluation also asks the student for his/her impression of how well each course objective was met, on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). Students are also encouraged through open-ended questions to comment on various aspects of the course. This indirect and perceptive measure of the quality of the coverage of the course objectives has correlated very well with the topics actually covered in courses, making this a reliable measure of these indices.

The End-of-Course Evaluations for all courses in each SECS department are reviewed regularly by the department chair, and findings are forwarded to the DUACs for further discussion and action if necessary.

Faculty End-Of-Course Summaries
At the end of each semester, after the students submit their End-of-Course Evaluation and after the submission of final grades, each SECS faculty member is required to fill out an End-of-Course Summary. The End-of-Course Summary contains two parts: instructor comments of how well the course objectives were met and specific examples of student work that could be used as evidence of the demonstration of student outcomes.

The first part of the End-of-Course Summary allows the instructor to comment on how well the objectives of the course were fulfilled. If the students rate (via the course evaluations) the fulfillment of a particular course objective below 4.0/5.0, the instructor must comment on that course objective. The comments of the instructor may include, but may not be limited to, suggesting changes to the course to better achieve the course objective, suggesting changes to the prerequisite courses to better prepare the students for success in the course in question or suggesting the emendation or even the deletion of the course objective. In this way, each SECS instructor has a pivotal role in improving the quality of both the individual course and therefore the entire program of study.

In the second part of the End-of-Course Summary, each instructor provides specific examples of student work (such as exams, quizzes, and laboratory or project reports) that could be used as direct evidence that students have achieved one or more of the student outcomes. Not all outcomes are expected to be addressed or achieved in any particular course. By listing student work that can be used to demonstrate the achievement of a student outcome, each instructor gains a greater understanding of how his/her course fits into the overall scheme of the program of study and what skills are expected of students as they graduate from the program.

The End-of-Course Summaries for all courses in each SECS department are reviewed regularly by the department chair. The chair filters the comments of the faculty so that only relevant suggestions for program improvement are forwarded to the DUAC for consideration.

Senior Exit Surveys
At the end of each semester in the Senior Design experience, graduating seniors are asked to comment on their entire Oakland University experience, from general education to basic math and science courses to the SECS engineering core to the professional courses to the senior design course. The results of these surveys can be examined by department chairs, DUACs and the SECS Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UGCC) for review, prioritization and action.

Alumni Input
The alumni of the SECS, including but not limited to those who attend graduate school at OU, and more recently those who have joined the alumni association or included themselves in LinkedIn and other social media connections with the departments, are periodically sent e-mail invitations to participate in online surveys. These surveys measure how well the graduates perceive their preparation by the SECS for their first and subsequent jobs, in terms of the program educational objectives and solicit their input on ways to improve our programs. The results of these surveys can be examined by the DUACs and SECS Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for review, prioritization and action.

Employer Input
The employers of SECS graduates, as determined by our Advisory Board members, alumni surveys and placement data, are regularly met with in research meetings and recruitment fairs. A portion of some of these meetings has been set aside regularly to discuss the employer's perceptions of how well their Oakland University employees are prepared by the SECS for employment in the modern engineering world, in terms of both the student outcomes and program educational objectives. Employer feedback on the program educational objectives is also periodically solicited through online surveys. The feedback from these meetings or surveys is reviewed by the DUACs and SECS Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for prioritization and action.

Schedule of Assessment Activities

The following assessment activities occur regularly during the academic year. The assessment coordinator will be responsible for reminding department chairs, the DUAC members and the SECS UGCC members of their scheduled duties.

In addition to the following activities, each academic year the SECS Undergraduate Curriculum Committee may choose an aspect of the SECS programs to focus on and study in depth. These aspects, which could range from laboratories to writing to the use of modern software tools, will be critically examined and evaluated, with the goal of improving that component of the curricula school-wide. The choice of program aspects, the type and range of study and the nature of the subsequent recommendations will all be at the choice of the SECS Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, in collaboration with the DUAC(s).

Fall Semester - September through December

  • If not done at the end of the previous Winter semester, data from the Winter external evaluations is reduced and examined by the DUACs. Particular attention is paid to data directly measuring recent course or program changes, or data that does not support the direct assessment of the external evaluations of key courses, or that is significantly different from that received in the past. Actions taken can include, but are not limited to, recommendations for course or program changes.
  • DUACs make suggestions to the SECS Undergraduate Curriculum Committee of assessment items to critically examine in depth during the academic year, and also forward recommended course and program changes that require School governance approval for implementation.
  • The DUACs review the data from the Exit Surveys and from alumni and employers whenever new input is received. Particular attention is paid to input that either does not support the direct assessment of the external evaluations of key courses or that is significantly different from that received in the past. Actions taken can include, but are not limited to, recommendations for course or program changes.
  • After classes have ended for the Fall semester, course evaluations and summaries are submitted by students and faculty, and course materials are collected in key courses. External evaluations of key courses can occur at the end of the Fall semester or early in the Winter semester.

Winter Semester - January through April

  • If the Fall key courses were not externally evaluated after classes ended in the Fall semester, they are evaluated early in the Winter semester.
  • Data from the Fall external evaluations is reduced and examined by the DUACs. Particular attention is paid to data directly measuring recent course or program changes, data that does not support the direct assessment of the external evaluations of key courses, or that is significantly different from that received in the past. Actions taken can include, but are not limited to, recommendations for course or program changes.
  • After classes have ended for the Winter semester, course evaluations and summaries are submitted by students and faculty, and course materials are collected in key courses. External evaluations of key courses occur at the end of the Winter semester, or in early May at the latest.
  • Every effort is made by the DUACs to immediately reduce and examine the data from the Winter external evaluations. Particular attention is paid to data directly measuring recent course or program changes, data that does not support the direct assessment of the external evaluations of key courses, or that is significantly different from that received in the past. Actions taken can include, but are not limited to, recommendations for course or program changes.

At any time

The DUACs review suggestions for course and program improvement forwarded from the department chair, department faculty and from the external evaluations. The DUAC discuss, prioritizes and recommends action on each suggestion. The DUACs also discuss results of external assessment of student outcomes. The DUAC consideration of feedback and recommendations for action are documented and can kept in a centralized electronic database. The DUAC recommendations for program and course changes are forwarded to the SECS curriculum committee for approval by the Faculty Assembly, if necessary.

Regularly, instruments for Alumni and Employer Surveys are developed and sent. The data are collected and are examined as they are received. Particular attention is paid to input that either does not support the direct assessment of the external evaluations of key courses or that is significantly different from that received in the past.

Assessment Process Checklists

In order for the assessment and continuous improvement process in the SECS to work well, it is imperative that all persons, from students to instructors to committees, perform the roles for which they are responsible.

All of the assessment procedures in the SECS are focused on answering the following question: Can students demonstrate accomplishment of the student outcomes before graduation? The resulting continuous improvement process is concerned with improving the answer to this assessment question.

Student outcomes are a set of skills that assure the achievement of the program educational objectives and are necessary for professional engineering practice. Before graduating, SECS students will demonstrate their skills in the following key areas:

  • Student Outcomes for all Engineering Programs

    1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
    2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
    3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
    4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
    5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
    6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
    7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

  • Student Outcomes in Computer Science

    1. Analyze a complex computing problem and to apply principles of computing and other relevant disciplines to identify solutions.
    2. Design, implement, and evaluate a computing-based solution to meet a given set of computing requirements in the context of the program's discipline.
    3. Communicate effectively in a variety of professional contexts.
    4. Recognize professional responsibilities and make informed judgments in computing practice based on legal and ethical principles.
    5. Function effectively as a member or leader of a team engaged in activities appropriate to the program's discipline.
    6. Apply computer science theory and software development fundamentals to produce computing-based solutions.
    7. An ability to apply mathematical foundations, algorithmic principles, and computer science theory in the modeling and design of computer-based systems in a way that demonstrates comprehension of the tradeoffs involved in design choices.
    8. An ability to apply design and development principles in the construction of software systems of varying complexity.

  • Student Outcomes in Information Technology

    1. Analyze a complex computing problem and to apply principles of computing and other relevant disciplines to identify solutions.
    2. Design, implement, and evaluate a computing-based solution to meet a given set of computing requirements in the context of the program's discipline.
    3. Communicate effectively in a variety of professional contexts.
    4. Recognize professional responsibilities and make informed judgments in computing practice based on legal and ethical principles.
    5. Function effectively as a member or leader of a team engaged in activities appropriate to the program's discipline.
    6. Identify and analyze user needs and to take them into account in the selection, creation, integration, evaluation, and administration of computing-based systems.
    7. An ability to use and apply current technical concepts and practices in the core information technologies of human computer interaction, information management, programming, networking, and web systems and technologies.
    8. An ability to identify and analyze user needs and take them into account in the selection,creation, evaluation and administration of computer-based systems.
    9. An ability to effectively integrate IT-based solutions into the user environment.
    10. An understanding of best practices and standards and their application.
    11. An ability to assist in the creation of an effective project plan.

Listed below are the responsibilities and roles of various SECS personnel within the SECS assessment and continuous improvement process:

All Faculty

The entire assessment process is faculty-driven; without the full, active and enthusiastic participation of the entire faculty, the assessment and continuous improvement process would not function.

  • Before each semester, obtain the set of course objectives for each of your courses from your department affairs committees or from the course evaluation website. Include these objectives in the syllabus for each course. The fulfillment of the course objectives is paramount to the integrity of the program, and your own evaluations from students will be based on how well these objectives have been accomplished.
  • In addition to the specific course objectives, plan the student assignments, quizzes, reports, etc., to demonstrate as many of the student outcomes (listed above) as possible. Keep a record of these activities to include as examples in your end-of-course summary.
  • Towards the end of the semester, course evaluations will be distributed via emal to your students. As a part of your required course summary (found on the course evaluation website), you will be asked to list the student work performed in your course(s) that could be used to demonstrate the student outcomes.
  • At all times, keep in mind the role of your course(s) within the program of study, and actively seek ways to improve the achievement of the student outcomes both within your courses and the program as a whole. Significant changes to a course in response to feedback should be communicated to the department chair or DUAC in order to be properly documented and tracked.
  • Changes to the course objectives must be approved by the department curriculum committees. Enter your suggestions for changes on the faculty end-of-course summary, or contact your department curriculum committee members directly.

Faculty teaching key courses

A key course is one that is (1) required of all students in the program, (2) not able to be transferred from other institutions and (3) selected by the department undergraduate affairs committee so that evidence of the achievement of all student outcomes is possible. To find out whether your course is a key course in your program, contact your department undergraduate affairs committee.

In addition to the responsibilities listed above for all faculty, instructors of key courses are also required to:

  • Collect all of the student work that can be used as evidence of the student's achievement of the student outcomes. This work will be examined by others not associated with the course to determine the extent to which the outcomes of the program are achieved.
  • At the end of the semester, develop evaluation forms using the online form generator for each set of student work that you collected and that will be externally evaluated. Include on the form a brief description of the project. Select only those outcomes that are appropriate and relevant to the particular assignment. Include descriptions and examples of the work to focus the evaluators on those aspects of the student work. Attach the original assignments sheet(s) distributed to students, if any, so that the evaluators can see the expectations for the assignment.

Department Chairs

The department chairs have important roles in the assessment process, acting as filters and focusing the input of various assessment tools.

  • On a regular basis, department chairs review the student course evaluations and the faculty course summaries, focusing on specific suggestions for course and program improvement and forwarding them to their department curriculum committees.
  • At the end of the Fall and Winter semesters, the chair is responsible to gather reviewers for external evaluations. These reviewers consist of experts from outside of OU, from other departments and schools within OU and from the program's faculty not involved with the key course(s) under evaluation, to review the student work collected in the key courses. The chairs instruct the reviewers and conduct the evaluation, then turn the data collected over to the department curriculum committees for analysis and recommendations.
  • At any time, department chairs may also suggest changes to the assessment process itself to their respective DUACs.

Department Affairs Committees and SECS Undergraduate Curriculum Committee

The roles of the DUACs and the UGCC within the program assessment and continuous improvement process is paramount. All of the data from the assessment process (the chair-filtered student evaluations and faculty summaries, the external evaluations, the student exit, alumni and employer surveys) flows to these committees, which are charged with looking across the entire program of study to suggest, recommend and plan for the implementation of changes to not only the programs of study, but also to the assessment process itself.

  • The committees reduce and review the results of the external evaluations as they are received, in addition to the chair-filtered student evaluations and faculty summaries. Senior exit, alumni and employer survey results are reviewed periodically as necessary.
  • Based on the feedback obtained from the assessment process, the DUACs recommend changes, if any, to courses, programs of study and to the assessment process itself.
  • The chairs of the department DUACs form the SECS Undergraduate Curriculum Committees, providing the opportunity for cross-program discussion of assessment data and School-wide continuous improvement.
  • Recommendations for substantive change, regardless of where they are initiated, must be processed through the usual governance procedures of the SECS.
  • Assessments actions may be documented in online databases for future review and reporting purposes.