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Program Assessment Committee

The Mechanical Engineering Department Program Assessment Committee (PAC) is the faculty body responsible for collecting, reviewing, interpreting, and disseminating program assessment data.

Charge

  1. Develop procedures and methodologies for administering, collecting, and analyzing the assessment data yielded by tools specified on the department’s assessment template.

  2. With the assistance of department staff and faculty, collect, compile, organize, and summarize information and data for each mandated assessment tool.

  3. Evaluate assessment information and data relative to each tool’s outcome metrics.

  4. Determine qualitatively and quantitatively whether the program is achieving each educational outcome. Identify specific issues, if any, associated with individual program outcomes, and prepare remediation recommendations. Make recommendations for changes in outcome metrics associated with the assessment tools. Determine qualitatively and quantitatively whether the Mechanical Engineering Department is satisfying its program objectives. Explicitly identify problem sources, if any, and formulate remediation recommendations.

  5. Summarize the effectiveness of program/curriculum changes taken in response to recommendations from the prior assessment cycle.

  6. Annually review the department’s mission statement, program objectives, educational outcomes and assessment tool suite (including outcome metrics) to assure that they remain responsive to institutional, accreditation, and constituent needs. Recommend additions, deletions, and/or modifications to the educational objectives and assessment template.

  7. Prepare an annual assessment report documenting the effectiveness of earlier assessment-based changes; data, results, and recommended actions for the current assessment cycle; and any changes implemented in the assessment process.

  8. Work with the Department Chair to prepare accreditation self-study documents.

  9. Represent the Department in school-wide or university-wide accreditation activities.

Scope of Authority

The PAC is the primary route for initiating changes to changing the Department's program objectives and educational outcomes; however, the Committee may not unilaterally impose such modifications. Recommended changes must be approved by a majority of voting Mechanical Engineering faculty members.

The PAC is the sole route for adding or deleting items (transcripts, exit interviews, etc) included in the assessment tool suite, or changing outcome metrics associated with specific tools. Again, recommended tool additions/deletions and metric changes must be approved by a majority of voting Mechanical Engineering faculty members.

The PAC will serve an advisory role in assisting the department chair, Curriculum Committee, and course coordinators to establish which program objectives are addressed by individual courses.

Membership

The membership of the Program Assessment Committee will consist of three (3) voting members of the Mechanical Engineering faculty, nominated and selected in accordance with standard election procedures. No more than two members will come from a single faculty rank or curriculum stem (thermal-fluid sciences/solid mechanics). Members will serve three (3) year staggered terms, with one term expiring each year in August. Terms may be renewed no more than once consecutively. The PAC chair will be appointed by the department chair from among the committee membership, and will serve in the position at the department chair’s discretion. The PAC chair must be tenured, and will serve as the Department’s representative on school-wide and university-wide accreditation/assessment bodies.

Methodology and Timing

The Program Assessment Committee shall operate on an annual cycle, during which it will meet a minimum of two times:

  • One required meeting (or series of meetings, if necessary) will be held before April to compile, organize, and summarize outcomes assessment data, determine qualitatively and quantitatively whether the program is achieving each educational outcome, determine whether the Department is achieving its educational objectives, prepare remediation recommendations, and draft an annual report. The draft annual report is due May 15.

  • One required meeting (or series of meetings, if necessary) will be held in early December to review the Department’s educational objectives, program outcomes, and assessment template. The PAC should also review preliminary assessment data for critical issues that might be addressed prior to the following term. Additional meetings may be convened at the discretion of the PAC chair or the department chair. The Department's administrative assistant will attend all meetings for the purpose of taking notes, which will be compiled as minutes, reviewed and approved by the committee, and distributed to the faculty.

The mechanical engineering faculty shall meet in May to for an annual assessment meeting. At this meeting, the PAC chair will present assessment findings and moderate the discussion related to the evaluation of program objectives and outcomes.

Work Product

Results of the PAC’s late May meeting will be summarized in a document titled Program Assessment Report, delivered to the Department Chair for distribution to the faculty on or before June 15. The report will have the following outline:

  • Abstract summarizing the Department’s success in achieving its program objectives.
  • Overview of the assessment methodologies used in conducting the review.
  • Original educational objectives list, proposed educational objectives list, and item-by-item justification for adding, deleting, or modifying individual objectives.
  • Recommendations for changes to the assessment tool suite and individual outcomes metrics.
  • Appendix items supporting the Committee’s recommendations.

To document its December meeting, the PAC will issue a brief report summarizing problems or potential problems with individual course content or specific outcomes. All committee meeting minutes will be distributed to the faculty.

Notes

  1. Approved by the Mechanical Engineering Faculty, 7/31/03.
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