Since the inception of formal outcomes assessment strategies at ESU in 1989, the Departments of Physical Sciences—the division—has continued to refine and to implement its plan for outcomes assessment. The following plan, for which a variation has been in place since 1991 for all undergraduates, is applicable to the MS in Physical Sciences for emphases in chemistry, earth science, physics, and physical science. Goals for MS options were formalized in 2000.
An outcomes assessment plan has been formulated, and has evolved to its present state. The number of responses is growing and the responses are encouraging. Students have been complimentary of their academic programs, but have also been candid if they sense some needs for improvement. The appropriate program faculty will use the results of outcomes assessment to complement and supplement other existing feedback mechanisms, including occasional focus groups, traditional student-faculty interactions, testing of students in regular classroom situations, and the end-of-the-course evaluations. Other miscellaneous outcomes indicators include unsolicited letters and email correspondence from graduates, or reports from employers, for example. This combined feedback will be utilized to inform our judgments concerning the curricula of the various programs.