NREM personnel developed a set of core student learning outcomes in tandem with College of Agriculture and Life Sciences efforts to identify college-wide outcomes in 2002 and 2003. Specifically in NREM, we formed a standing committee on student learning outcomes assessment soon after the department formed in 2002. The standing committee organized a series of workshops in spring, 2003 focused on the links between curriculum design and learning assessment, roles of formative and summative assessment in gauging student progress, and techniques for both classroom- and program-level assessments. The workshops culminated in a retreat during which participants developed an initial set of student learning outcomes. This set of 10 student learning outcomes was revised, including the addition of two new outcomes, and approved by the faculty in 2008.
During 2003-2008, the Outcomes Assessment Committee in NREM used an indirect approach to measuring outcomes attainment, by administering surveys to recent graduates (annually distributed to those who graduated both two and five years prior to survey administration) and their employers (every fourth year), requesting that they evaluate their own (or their employees’) preparation and skill development related to each outcome. Data from these efforts were used in a curriculum-focused retreat in 2010 to prioritize areas for improvement and to formulate an approach that included direct methods of assessment. We adopted an approach using direct assessment as described in our Outcomes Assessment Program Structure.