Evaluation of Program Educational Objectives and Outcomes
The Biomedical Engineering Program will evolve by performing regular and diligent evaluation processes so the program continues to meet the needs of its constituents and students now and in the future. Formal assessment of selected portions of the core program will be performed on a yearly basis, although selected data to support this assessment will be taken as courses proceed throughout the year. Assessment of Institute courses outside of the core curriculum will be made only through their impact on the ability of the core courses to meet Program Outcomes; constructive feedback to other departments will be provided based on the results of our assessment.
It will be made clear to all Biomedical Engineering faculty that their course content will be assessed against Program Educational Objectives and Outcomes, and suggestions for the types of selected data to be collected will be made prior to courses being taught. It is hoped that assessment will become an important, regular, and non-intrusive part of course preparation, delivery, and refinement.
a) Program Constituents and Advisory Board
The customers, or constituents, of the Biomedical Engineering program are:
- Graduate schools
- Kate Gleason College of Engineering
- Rochester Institute of Technology
The alumni, employers, faculty, students, graduate school faculty, and College administrators will be involved in assisting the Biomedical Engineering faculty with establishing, reviewing and/or providing feedback on the program educational objectives, the program outcomes, appropriate assessment techniques, the curriculum, facilities and associated student activities and the process followed in the achievement of our program objectives and outcomes. The Institute is considered a constituent; in that, they set the overall mission of the University, that the program must be consistent with, and also drives overall curricular issues (e.g., required number of credit hours, liberal arts requirements, etc.).
An advisory board consisting of a cross-section of these constituents will be created to represent and disseminate input from the larger body of program constituents in the actual assessment process. The Biomedical Engineering Department Head will be a permanent member of the advisory board, and will be responsible for chairing the board or selecting a representative to do so.
b) Administrative Committee
An administrative committee will be charged with direct oversight of the BS in Biomedical Engineering program, and will be responsible for initiating a yearly assessment process for selected core courses. The permanent member of the administrative committee will be the Department Head of Biomedical Engineering. The Department Head will chair the administrative committee, or will select a representative to do so. Prior to the start of each school year, the permanent members will meet to decide on the courses to be assessed. Faculty whose courses are to be assessed will be members of the administrative committee for the year. Additionally, the permanent members may also select an appropriate number of additional faculty to serve on the administrative committee to help achieve its goals. The administrative committee (permanent and yearly members) will meet a minimum of once at the beginning of the year to set assessment targets, and once at the end of the year to perform the assessment.
c) The Evaluation Process
Figure 6 provides a schematic of the overall evaluation process, which will be used to drive and adjust the curriculum of the core courses so that they are aligned with Program Objectives and Program Outcomes. The process will proceed as follows:
- The permanent members of the Biomedical Engineering Administrative committee will meet prior to the start of each school year. Each core course in the program will typically be examined once every two years. Since ABET proceeds on a 6 year accreditation cycle, this means each core course will be fed through the assessment process 2-3 times prior to an accreditation visit. The permanent members of the Administrative committee select the particular courses to be examined in the process. An administrative committee is formed with faculty members who teach these courses. The term of the faculty appointments to the committee is for one year.
- The newly selected administrative committee will meet at the start of the school year to set assessment targets and review methodologies. This is to assure that appropriate data is collected so that course learning outcomes (the goals of specific courses) can be measured against the Program Outcomes.
- After faculty deliver the given courses, the administrative committee will meet to assess each course. Individual faculty may prepare in advance their assessment for discussion, or assessment may be done in a group setting if initial feedback is required. Course learning outcomes will be mapped against the Program Outcomes with measurable data taken from the course delivery.
- Although one of the purposes of the assessment process is to determine how well individual courses support the Program Outcomes, it is possible that the administrative committee may decide there is an inadequacy in one or more of the stated Program Outcomes. While the Program Outcome cannot be changed at this point, the Administrative Committee can recommend that a Program Outcome be changed. Any proposed modifications must be discussed with all Biomedical Engineering Faculty not on the Administrative Committee. Additionally, recommendations of the Administrative committee must be approved by a majority of Biomedical Engineering Faculty. Of course, this outcome modification must be examined in light of the overall Program Objectives for it to make sense, so this sort of recommendation needs to be carried further in the assessment process.
- The Chair of the Administrative Committee carries recommendations for Program Outcome modifications from the Administrative Committee forward to the Advisory board.
- The Advisory Board receives input from all of the program constituents. Firstly it receives the Program Outcome recommendations from the Administrative Committee as stated in step 5. By their nature, such modifications are specific to skills that graduates are expected to have the day that they graduate. The responsibility of the Advisory Board is to examine these Outcome recommendations in light of the longer-term Program Objectives (attributes graduate should have a few years after graduation). The advisory board takes in data from all of the program constituents in a variety of forms, and has the responsibility to carefully examine and propose changes to the Program Objectives and Outcomes.
- Any proposed modifications to the Program Objectives and Outcomes are brought back to the faculty of the Biomedical Engineering program, who need to ratify these modifications by a majority vote.
- Once ratified, the Program Objectives and Outcomes are formally adjusted, and then are used in the next assessment cycle (starting the next year with step 1 above).
- At this point, faculty whose courses were examined through the assessment process will adjust their curriculum accordingly to realign them with the modified Program Outcomes. Additionally, faculty whose courses were not examined can also choose to adjust their courses so they are more consistent with the modified Program Outcomes, and thereby make curriculum adjustments before the next assessment cycle (where these courses will be assessed, since assessment occurs for each course every two years) if desired.
Note that the assessment cycle detailed in Figure 6 will be reviewed annually to verify it works as expected to enhance the program.
Figure 6 Process to evaluate and update Biomedical Engineering Program Objectives and Outcomes
d) Assessment Methods for Program Outcomes
A variety of quantitative assessment tools will be used by faculty to assess how their Course Learning Outcomes (course goals) map to the Program Outcomes.
- Performance on selected written exams and/or written exam questions
- Performance on oral examinations
- Performance on selected homework problems
- Performance in laboratory assignments and write-ups
- Performance on selected projects
- Effectiveness in communication as evidenced by written reports and oral presentations.
- Effectiveness in communication as evidenced by carefully prepared and user friendly computer input, outputs, and documented computer codes.
- Performance in co-op based on reports from companies employing our students.
Qualitative assessment tools will also be used for assessment purposes:
- Student evaluations will also provide a qualitative evaluation of the overall delivery of the classes and their co-op experience. Specific questions asked during the evaluation process may be used to assess the efficacy of the course delivery in meeting Course Learning Outcomes.
- Each graduating 5th year student will complete an exit survey upon graduation and will rate their educational experience with respect to various abilities on a scale from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent).
Other assessment methods for Program Outcomes may be chosen as well to assure the highest quality Biomedical Engineering Program at RIT.
Since Program Outcomes support the overall Program Objectives, assessment methods for Program Objectives given in part e) ultimately can be used as one measure of the efficacy of Program Outcomes.
e) Assessment Methods for Program Objectives
The techniques used to directly measure the program educational objectives fall into four major categories:
- Alumni Data:
Alumni Surveys: Alumni will be surveyed at 1, 3, and 5 years after graduation. They will rate, on a scale from 1 to 5, their preparation (1-poor to 5-excellent) and the importance (1-not at all to 5-extremely) of various abilities. In addition, they will be asked to comment on the value of courses and subject matter areas. They will also asked to rate their level of professional and personal development activities.
- Employer Data:
Employer focus group: Employer focus groups will be conducted two times per year, in conjunction with campus career fairs. Employers visiting the career fair, that have hired our graduates, will participate in focus groups in which the various abilities of our graduates are discussed. Notes will be taken. This data will be qualitative in nature; however, all focus group data will be reviewed and considered.
- Graduate School Data:
Graduate Faculty Feedback: Feedback will be solicited from other graduate schools on the preparation and quality of our undergraduate Biomedical Engineering students in graduate school. This input is qualitative in nature; however, input is recorded, reviewed, will be considered.
- Job Placement Data:
Placement percent: The percentage of students that are placed each year within six months of graduation.
Other assessment methods for Program Objectives may be utilized to assure the highest quality Biomedical Engineering Program at RIT.