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Computer Science

Accreditation Information, 2004

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. The department has an on-line student handbook:
  2. The department specifically considers the results of the following in measuring the assessing the student learning outcomes.
    • All seniors participate in the Major Field Achievement Test published by ETS. In addition to an overall score, the test provides scores on four major indicators in undergraduate computer science education.
    • All seniors participate in a two-term capstone sequence of courses. Results of this sequence course form part of the consideration of our assessment of student learning outcomes.
    • All seniors participate in a senior colloquium. Results of this course form part of the consideration of our assessment of student learning outcomes.
    • All seniors participate in exit interviews. Feedback from these interviews form part of the consideration of our assessment of student learning outcomes.

Entry-to-Major Assessment

  1. The department requires that pre-majors complete a collection of six courses with a 2.50 gpa. Specifically, the six courses are: Eng 101 and 102, Math 172.1, and CS 110, 111, and 301. The purpose is to ensure that students will have the necessary language, mathematics, and problem solving skills to successfully complete the computer science program.
  2. The department believes that advising is a major component of the success of the program. To that end, pre-major students (indeed all students) are required to be advised every term. As part of this advising process, pre-major students develop a graduation plan and have progress toward meeting the entry requirements reviewed each term. Students who are not making significant progress can then be advised in a proactive manner. In any case, during the term in which they plan complete entry requirements, students must submit a formal application to the department office. This application is reviewed at the end of the term after grades are posted. Students that fail to meet the entry requirements, are dropped from more advanced courses, and asked to meet with the department chair to review their situation and discuss future plans (which may include redoing an entry course if appropriate).
  3. While exact numbers are not kept, some of the students (perhaps 15% of declared pre-majors), not making progress on the entry requirements, change majors as part of the advising process described above. Another smaller percent (less than 5%) of the students, who submit applications to the major, fail to meet those requirements. Of these, more than half will retake one or two of the entry courses and then successfully enter the major. The remaining students will decide to change their major. Over 90% of the students who successfully complete the entry-to-major requirements also successfully complete the major.
  4. The department does a full curriculum review every five years. These entry requirements are reviewed at that time.
  5. The department feels that the success of these entry-to-major requirements justifies maintaining them as is.

End-of-Major Assessment

  1. To begin with, the department mainly uses the same tools to assess the program as those described above for assessing student learning outcomes.

    In addition, the department reviews the program curriculum with respect to the recommendations of current experts in the field of computer science education. Specifically, the discipline, through its professional societies, the ACM and the IEEE Computer Society, publishes curricular recommendations once a decade. The most recent of these was called Curriculum 2001. This document was used in the last full review of our curriculum.

    • All seniors participate in the Major Field Achievement Test published by ETS. In addition to an overall score, the test provides scores on four major indicators in undergraduate computer science education.
    • All seniors participate in a two-term capstone sequence of courses. Results of this sequence course form part of the consideration of our assessment.
    • All seniors participate in a senior colloquium. Results of this course form part of the consideration of our assessment.
    • All seniors participate in exit interviews. Feedback from these interviews forms part of the consideration of our assessment.
  2. Participation of all seniors is assured as all measures are tied to specific course requirements (this includes participation in the MFAT and exit interviews which are part of the course requirements in the senior colloquium).
  3. Consider here two changes that occurred as a direct result of this process. First, results in one of the indicators in the MFAT lead the department to revamp its computer architecture sequence. Second, input from both the exit interviews and from the then newly published Curriculum 2001, played important roles in revamping courses during our last full curriculum review in 2001-2002.
  4. & 5. The department reviews student learning outcomes data annually and conducts a full curriculum review every five years.

Fall 2004 response to the Faculty Evaluation Recommendation

More complete information can be found in the Computer Science Policy Manual. References made are relative to that document.

  1. The department believes that it is healthy for all faculty members to undergo annual review. This is already assured for non-tenured faculty. Review of non-tenure track faculty focuses on their specific assignment, which is usually restricted to instruction. Review of non-tenured, tenure track faculty focuses on their progress toward tenure and includes review of the traditional three areas of evaluation: teaching, scholarship and service. This review may also involve consideration of promotion. Annual review is also required of tenured faculty (section 1.5 of the policy manual) and is different and apart from any merit reviews. The objective of the post-tenure review is to focus on professional development through goal setting for the future and a review of previous goals. It is also intended that roadblocks to successful completion of goals be identified along with the resources necessary to attain those goals. In each of these reviews, faculty are evaluated independently by the chair and the personnel committee. The make up of these committees is detailed in section 1.2 of the policy manual.
  2. The department believes professional growth supporting the mission of the department is furthered through the setting of professional goals, in the area of teaching, scholarship and service, along with the self-evaluation of these goals and buy-in of the chair and personnel committee. The evaluation review processes of reappointment, tenure, promotion, and post-tenure all incorporate goal setting and review. This sets it apart from the current merit review, which is more of a checklist of achievements.
  3. Explicit expectations for reappointment, tenure and promotion are given in sections 1.10, 1.11, and 1.13 respectively. Expectations for post-tenure review are listed in section 1.12 and, as noted above, basically look to the identification of roadblocks to successful completion of goals along with the resources necessary to attain those goals.
  4. Evaluation.
    • The department, independently through the personnel committee and the chair, provide both informal and formal feedback to the faculty member under review. When in addition, this is part of a university or college review, the dean will also be part of the evaluation and discussion.
    • Peer mentors are assigned to all newly hired faculty during their process to the tenure decision.
    • The department had one such case within the last five years. The tenure-track candidate was not meeting departmental expectations with respect to teaching. The chair worked with the Dean of the College of Education and Professional Services to set up a mentoring committee that would help the candidate work on perceived weaknesses.
  5. Significant time was spent by the department as a whole in defining and adopting these processes. New faculty meet regularly with the chair to ensure they understand the process. As chair, I am confident that all computer science faculty understand this process.
  6. As with non-tenure track faculty, review of adjunct faculty is carried out annually and focuses on their specific assignment, which is usually restricted to instruction.