CRITERION 4. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

CRITERION 4. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

This section of your Self-Study Report should document your processes for regularly assessing and evaluating the extent to which the student outcomes are being attained. This section should also document the extent to which the student outcomes are being attained. It should also describe how the results of these processes are utilized to affect continuous improvement of the program.

Assessment is defined as one or more processes that identify, collect, and prepare the data necessary for evaluation.

Evaluation is defined as one or more processes for interpreting the data acquired though the assessment processes in order to determine how well the student outcomes are being attained.

Although the program can report its processes as it chooses, the following is presented as a guide to help you organize your Self-Study Report.

A. Student Outcomes

It is recommended that this section include (a table may be used to present this information):

1. A listing and description of the assessment processes used to gather the data upon which the evaluation of each student outcome is based. Examples of data collection processes may include, but are not limited to, specific exam questions, student portfolios, internally developed assessment exams, senior project presentations, nationally-normed exams, oral exams, focus groups, industrial advisory committee meetings, or other processes that are relevant and appropriate to the program.

1. Course Assessment Records

description

Course Assessment Records (CARs) evaluate student performance in specific components of their course work. This measure includes extracting specific categories of student work from several classes in order to measure an outcome. Instruments used are course quiz and exam questions, problems and exercises, oral presentations, written communication grades on reports, projects, and labs.  CARs to be performed each year are selected from the table entitled “Student Outcomes mapped across BSCHE core” developed by the CHME faculty that identifies in which courses of the curriculum the outcomes are to be measured.

frequency of process

Course Assessment Records are scheduled for the academic year at the annual Faculty Assessment Meeting based on historical data of previous assignments.  Where the achievement of targets failed, the CAR for that course will be reassessed in the following academic year to assure recommended changes lead to success (08/15/17).  Faculty document their assessment responsibilities in the database in real time as the assessments are completed.

expected level of attainment

The expected level of attainment for each scheduled assessment is determined by the faculty member tasked with performing the measurement.  

summary of results

A compilation of these records is converted into a viewable database that can be scrolled by a reviewer (Appendix C).

documentation and maintenance of results

The collection and input of CARs data is accomplished through use of a form-driven interface on the CHME website.  This form was constructed in 2016 and replaced a Microsoft Access database entitled the Continuous Improvement & Management of Change database.  The data from the former database was migrated to the WordPress database at that time.  

Data is reviewed by the department head as it is submitted. Faculty review the CARs reports of (1) courses that are prerequisite to those courses they teach; and, (2) courses for which the courses they teach are prerequisite.  Findings and trends are discussed at the Annual Faculty Assessment meeting. CARs assignments for the subsequent year are formed by a committee of the whole at the Annual Assessment meeting (08/15/17).

A summary of the data for the current assessment period is available in table format.

2. Capstone report evaluation

description

The capstone design project measures the students’ ability to propose, design, specify, optimize, and perform both a safety appraisal and economic evaluation of a chemical process. The instrument used is the capstone design project report. Students must demonstrate breadth and depth of engineering knowledge and problem solving ability to achieve a passing score in this course. The instructor of the capstone course (CHME 455) completes the evaluation for this measure.

frequency of process

The capstone design projects are administered in annually in the spring semester.

expected level of attainment

Student teams will demonstrate an understanding of process design, simulation, and economic evaluation.  It is expected that capstone reports will include a comparison of at least two potential design alternatives, with the recommendations between any two designs based on a profitability analysis.

summary of results

Results are summarized each year by the CHME 455 instructor.

documentation and maintenance of results

2017;  2016;  2015;  2014;  2013;  2012;  2011

3. Student Organizations

description

Student involvement in career-related activities in student-based organizations is used as a measure of appreciation of the effect of professional development. A student organization engaged in professional activities translates into numerous quantifiable benefits to the program. The annual AICHE student chapter report (prepared by AICHE Student Officers) is the instrument used to measure the health of the student organization in the department.

In addition to AICHE, students studying CHME have permeated numerous student organizations in leadership positions across campus, including: National Society of Professional Engineers; Society of Hispanic Engineers; Society of Women Engineers; Engineering Council; Associated Students of New Mexico State University (occasionally holding all four seats allocated to the College of Engineering); The NMSU Energy Club; The Biomedical Engineering Society, and others.  This strong outreach across campus has been attributed to a strong chapter of AICHE.

frequency of process

The annual AICHE student chapter report is prepared by the outgoing president at the conclusion of the academic year.

expected level of attainment

It is expected that AICHE will demonstrate a high level of engagement that includes cooperative learning, peer-assessment, and self-assessment.  AICHE members will

  • coordinate NMSU student attendance at the national and regional AICHE meetings;
  • strive to promote participation in competitions and presentations;
  • maintain records of student involvement in local outreach and community service;
  • prepare the annual report to AICHE national; and
  • prepare an annual participation report to CHME faculty.

summary of results

Results are disseminated as noted above.  

documentation and maintenance of results

The annual reports of the student chapter are uploaded to the AICHE.org website and posted to the aiche.nmsu.edu website.

4. Minors of Study

description

With the 2016-2017 catalog, the BSCHE was streamlined around the core program (anticipating state legislation and local pressures to bring the total credit hour load down to 120) and developed a parallel series of minor programs of study.  These minors emphasize career paths for chemical engineering graduates, and include:

  • Biomedical Engineering (in development)
  • Brewing Science & Engineering (draft stage)
  • Pre-Law in Intellectual Property
  • Materials Engineering
  • Nuclear Chemical Engineering
  • Pre-Medicine Studies

These minors represent local specializations and needs in the State of New Mexico.

frequency of process

Completion of minors-of-study is quantified with graduation data each academic year.

expected level of attainment

Minors will remain in the catalog provided students continue to pursue these specialized programs of study and employers express value by hiring students with this additional credential.  When a minor program of study ceases to serve CHME student needs (based on zero completions in a period of four years), it will be eliminated from the program.

summary of results

A minor in Nuclear Engineering (subsequently renamed Nuclear Chemical Engineering to more accurately describe the emphasis on the fuel cycle) was added in 2009.  Students completing this minor have found employment at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and URENCO.

Minors in Materials Engineering and Pre-Law Intellectual Property were added in 2015.  The former leverages the nature of the BSCHE to add emphasis on advanced materials; while the later is designed to prepare students who plan to pursue law school for the LSAT.  

In August 2016, the WERC (home of the Environmental Management minor of study) was repurposed within the college and removed from under CHME administration. In addition, CHME students have not found significant value in the minor, with only 3 students receiving the minor in the decade ending at 2016.  As such, this minor of study is removed from the CHME curriculum of offerings.

The Biomedical Engineering minor added to the 2016 catalog was designed to support two groups of students: those wishing to pursue medical school and those with an interest in biomedical devices.  The minor did not achieve this goal, and based on requests from the students, the existing minor was renamed “Pre-Medicine Studies” and a new cross-disciplinary Biomedical Engineering minor of study was being developed by the student chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society.

The Brewery Engineering minor was added to the catalog in 2017 to prepare graduates for jobs in the brewing industry. The Brewers Association provides data on the number of breweries in the USA since 1873, which show the rapid growth, and thus employment opportunities for those skilled in the industry.  CHME has procured capital to build a brewery and analysis lab in support of this minor, and has aligned the curriculum to seek certification by the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.

In 2017, a minor in Computational Engineering was also added to the catalog to prepare students for careers in simulation science and mathematical modeling.

documentation and maintenance of results

Data on students completing minors of study are available in the Cognos database.  CHME students who complete minors of study offered by the CHME program will be documented by the department head and trended in the chart above each year.

5. Undergraduate Research and Graduate School

description

Participation in undergraduate research projects is important in preparing students to move on to graduate studies.  Many CHME undergraduate students seek such opportunities, some as early as their freshman year.  Defining discrete projects for individual students wishing to perform research is challenging, particularly where the number of research faculty in a program are limited. Defining, disseminating, and supervising these projects requires an efficient process.

CHME has developed a tool by which research faculty can define a research project and post it to the CHME website as “available” for students to review and consider.  When a student finds a project they wish to pursue, they’re encourage to speak with the supervising professor and come to an agreement to proceed, at which time the project is assigned to that student, and is categorized with the “research projects in progress.”  When the student completes the objectives of their research project, a final report is prepared (which may be generic if intellectual property is involved) and attached to the post, which is finally categorized to the “completed projects” list.  In this manner, CHME maintains both a history of undergraduate projects and examples of expectations from future students.

frequency of process

The projects are updated and reclassified (as necessary) each academic semester.  Outcomes are quantified and posted to the continuous self-study on an annual basis.

expected level of attainment

CHME will provide a minimum of two undergraduate research projects for each research-active, tenure-track faculty.  It is recognized that not all projects will culminate in a successful outcome.  CHME strives to define and direct undergraduate projects in a manner by which 70% lead to a successful final report covering the project achievements.

summary of results

documentation and maintenance of results

6. Internships

description

Co-operative education jobs and internships provide CHME students with direct relevant experience and can serve as an extended job interview.  The CHME Department promotes such activities and works with students to minimize the impact of such activities on student degree programs.

CHME maintains a database with a form-driven front end to collect real-time data on student participation in such employment activities.  In addition, seniors completing exit interviews provide data on the basis of cohort.

frequency of process

Annually

expected level of attainment

At least 1/4 of CHME students will have participated in a co-op/internship by graduation.

summary of results

documentation and maintenance of results

Results are collected in a database linked to the online form.  Results are annually transferred to a spreadsheet for quantification.  Students who complete an internship for course credit are also required to complete a report on their responsibilities and learnings, as described in the CHME 391 Industrial Employment syllabus.  These reports are approved for public review by the employer and are posted to the CHME website.

7. Graduating Senior Exit Interview

description

An online exit interview has been developed to collect student perception of the effectiveness by which NMSU CHME achieves their stated student outcomes.  The survey also captures career data about each.

frequency of process

The interviews are available online at any time, though data is evaluated and published annually. Students are encouraged to change their responses as their employment status changes.

expected level of attainment

Regarding outcomes, CHME seeks to maintain student satisfaction above 80% (satisfied or content).

Considering career aspirations, CHME expects to “place” graduates into a situation of their choosing (job, grad studies, etc) and keep “unemployment” upon graduation to a level below 20%.

summary of results

documentation and maintenance of results

 Results are collected in a database linked to the online form.  Results are annually transferred to a spreadsheet for quantification.

8. Fundamentals of Engineering Exam performance (eliminated in 2013)

description

The FE exam administered by the NCEES was formerly used as an assessment tool.  However, with significant changes to content and cost of the exam in January 2014, the existing process for using this tool in assessment became obsolete.  Faculty discussions prior to the implementation of these changes determined there was a significant revision to the process needed to continue use, and when balanced against the value of the data collected and the cost of paying for this exam for every student (in light of growing enrollment and declining operating funds), decided to eliminate this assessment tool.  

 

B. Continuous Improvement

Describe how the results of evaluation processes for the student outcomes and any other available information have been systematically used as input in the continuous improvement of the program. Describe the results of any changes (whether or not effective) in those cases where re-assessment of the results has been completed. Indicate any significant future program improvement plans based upon recent evaluations. Provide a brief rationale for each of these planned changes.

The process described is perpetuated on an annual cycle as shown in the graphic below.

Proposed changes to the curriculum are documented on the CHME website:

These proposals are discussed and acted upon at the Annual Faculty Assessment meeting.  As such proposals are developed, a solicitation form for constituency input is posted and advertised.  The data collected from this form is made available to faculty to discuss at the Assessment meeting.

C. Additional Information

Copies of any of the assessment instruments or materials referenced in 4.A. and 4.B must be available for review at the time of the visit. Other information such as minutes from meetings where the assessment results were evaluated and where recommendations for action were made could also be included.

The majority of this content is available through the CHME website and is linked throughout the previous discussion.  Raw data from form-driven assessment tools will be printed, bound, and make available to reviewers on site.