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Political Science

College or Campus: College of Arts and Sciences

Student Learning Outcomes

UNDERGRADUATE

Learning Goal #1: Students will develop an understanding of core political science concepts and theories within multiple disciplinary subfields and be able to apply them to the analysis of the political world. Specifically, students in subfield introductory courses (2000 level) will be able to:

  • Define  important field-specific theories and concepts, and understand their role in developing political science knowledge.
  • Summarize  conceptual argument or theoretical approaches,  apply  them to field-relevant situations, and  support  their application with appropriate evidence.
  • Compare  and  evaluate  the merits of multiple policies, theories, or concepts from different disciplinary perspectives.

Objective #1: 2000 Level students will be able to  define  important field- specific theories and concepts.

Objective #2: 2000 Level students will be able to  summarize  a conceptual argument or theoretical approach,  apply  it to an actual field-relevant situation, and  support  their application with appropriate evidence.

Objective #3: 2000 Level students will be able to  compare  and  evaluate  the merits of two or more policies, theories, or concepts.

Learning   Goal   #2: Students will develop effective communication skills, characterized by the ability to communicate in the styles and forms that will prepare them for graduate-level research in political science and/or the professional world. Specifically, students in specialized, upper-division political science courses (4000 level) will be able to:

  • Demonstrate  an awareness of audience in political science writing, and be able to adopt effective strategies for communicating in diverse rhetorical situations.
  • Designplan, and  deliver  a written project that is organized coherently and logically, and that employs relevant evidence and examples.
  • Orally   deliver  a written project that is organized coherently and logically, and that employs relevant evidence and examples from the world of politics and government.

Objective #1: 4000 Level students will  demonstrate  an awareness of audience in political science communications, and be able to adopt effective strategies for communicating in diverse   rhetorical situations.

Objective #2: 4000 Level students will be able to  designplan, and  deliver  a written project that is organized coherently and logically, and that employs relevant evidence and examples from the world of politics and government.

Objective #3: 4000 Level students will be able to  orally   deliver  a written project that is organized coherently and logically, and that employs relevant evidence and examples from the world of politics and government.

Learning Goal #3: Students will develop effective research skills needed to produce research papers or research reports common in the academic discipline or in professional public affairs. Specifically, students in specialized, upper-division courses (4000 level or above) will be able to:

  • Summarize and critique academic and/or professional literature on selected research topics
  • Apply appropriate theories, methodologies, and/or evidence to their research topic
  • Develop papers, reports, or presentations that describe their findings and conclusions on their research topics for professional or academic audiences.

Objective#1: 4000 Level students will be able to summarize and critique academic and/or professional literature on selected research topics.

Objective#2: 4000 Level students will be able to apply appropriate theories, methodologies, and/or evidence to their research topic.

Objective#3: 4000 Level students will be able to d evelop papers, reports, or presentations that describe their findings and conclusions on their research topics for professional or academic audiences.

Learning Goal #4: Students will develop knowledge or career paths and appropriate tools to aid in professional development in the discipline or in public and international affairs. Specifically, students in specialized, upper-division courses (3000 and 4000 level) will be able to:

  • Identify career opportunities in academia and/or public and international affairs, which match planned career paths.
  • Describe and develop specific experiences, skills, and/or academic credentials related to their career paths.

Objective#1: 4000 Level students will be able to identify career opportunities in academia and/or public and international affairs, which match planned career paths.

Objective#2: 4000 Level students will be able to describe and develop specific experiences, skills, and/or academic credentials related to their career paths.

GRADUATE

Learning Goal #1: Graduate students will describe the major theories and methodological approaches used to explain political outcomes within the discipline of political science.  Specifically, graduate students in subfield courses (6000 level) will be able to:

  • Summarize  multiple theories and methodological approaches used to explain political outcomes in political science.

Objective #1: Graduate students in POLS 6000 will be able to  summarize  multiple theories and methodological approaches used to explain political outcomes in political science.

  Learning   Goal   #2: Graduate students will evaluate, compare, and synthesize different theoretical and methodological approaches used in explaining political outcomes in at least one area of concentration within the discipline of political science. Specifically, graduate students in final stages of their graduate studies (comprehensive exams, significant research papers, and theses, etc.) will be able to:

  • Identify  and explain multiple theoretical and methodological approaches academically supported to explain chosen political outcomes.
  • Compare strengths and weaknesses of the different theoretical and methodological approaches and/or synthesize multiple theories and methodological approaches to explaining political outcomes in their area of specialization.

Objective #1: Graduate students will be able to  identify  and explain multiple theoretical and methodological approaches academically supported to explain chosen political outcomes.

Objective #2: Graduate students will be able to  compare strengths and weaknesses of the different theoretical and methodological approaches and/or synthesize multiple theories and methodological approaches to explaining political outcomes in their area of specialization.

Learning Goal #3: Graduate students will conduct and communicate original research that investigates political phenomena in their area of concentration using appropriate theoretical and methodological approaches. Specifically, graduate students will be able to:

  • Develop research questions that can clearly contribute to the scholarly literature in their area of specialization Apply appropriate theories, methodologies, and/or evidence to their research topic.
  • Apply appropriate theories methodologies to their research questions.
  • Effectively communicate their original research in their area of concentration to relevant scholarly communities.

Objective#1: Graduate students will be able to develop research questions that can clearly contribute to the scholarly literature in their area of specialization.

Objective#2: Graduate students will be able to apply appropriate theories methodologies to their research questions.

Objective#3: Graduate students will be able to effectively communicate their original research in their area of concentration to relevant scholarly communities.

 

Assessment Plan

UNDERGRADUATE

Assessment Baseline

In the academic year 2014-15 catalog, the Political Science Department offers only a single course (POLS 2700, Introduction to Political Theory) required of all majors. Similarly, and largely because we recognized that undergraduate students’ interests increasingly fail to line up with with political science subfield boundaries, we eliminated traditional “tracks” several years ago in favor of a more open system that allows majors to follow self-designed concentrations. While we offer a series of 1000- and 2000-level “introductory” courses to provide students with disciplinary theory and analytic tools, our upper-division offerings are rarely sequential. This reflects both the need (and frankly, the desire) to make these courses available for non-majors and themes participants, but also the fact that it’s not logically necessary for a student to study American Foreign Policy (3000-level) prior to taking a course on Latin American Politics or Postcolonial theory (4000-level). To take advantage of this structure, we have designed our learning goals and objectives to be met and measured not in specific courses, but by our general (1000-, 2000-, 3000-, and 4000-) curricular levels of progression.

Designing a POLS Assessment Plan

Our current assessment plan is built upon a set of learning goals that combine discipline-specific outcomes with the broader demands of general education (in which we are a campus leader). Currently, we collect semester-by-semester data on our first goal, aimed at measuring students’ performance in learning to define, analyze, and compare disciplinary theories and concepts in our 2000-level course, which run the gamut between introductory courses (aimed at majors and non-majors alike) in international relations, political theory, and comparative politics, and second-year courses (aimed primarily at majors) in American politics and law:

2016-2017

Based on data collection efforts between 2014 and 2017, the department clarified communication procedures and reporting requirements in consultation with the previous Assessment Committee. The department created an Assessment Coordinator faculty service position in the department to oversee the implementation of learning outcomes assessments. In fall 2017, the Assessment Coordinator initiated contact before the start of the term to alert faculty about the goal being measured for the affected courses, provided language for inclusion in the syllabus of relevant courses, and provided a form for reporting assessment results at the end of the term. The department also developed an assessment schedule ( Implementation of Assessment ) and assessment rubrics ( Assessment Rubrics ) for all four learning goals below. We also developed a schedule for analysis and discussion of assessment results. Each spring, the Assessment Coordinator will meet with the Department Chair and Undergraduate Chair to analyze the results of assessments completed in previous semesters, discuss the results, and develop recommendations for departmental consideration. These recommendations will be presented at a regularly scheduled spring faculty meeting for departmental consideration.

Implementation of Assessment

Goal 1: Fall 2017-2018

Goal 2: Spring 2017-2018

Goal 3: Fall 2018-2019

Goal 4: Spring 2018-2019

We will continue to assess our learning goals in subsequent years using this rotation. We will use our current assessment rubrics for future years until the full department agrees to revise them as appropriate and needed.

Assessment Rubrics

Learning Goal #1: Students will develop an understanding of core political science concepts and theories within multiple disciplinary subfields and be able to apply them to the analysis of the political world. Specifically, students in subfield introductory courses (2000 level) will be able to:

Direct measures of student learning for Learning Goal #1:

  • Short answer or multiple choice questions in which students define and describe concepts and theories.
  • Exam questions and written assignments that require the application of concepts and theories to real world cases and problems.
  • Exam questions and written assignments that call for the comparison and evaluation of policies, theories, or concepts’ merits using general analytic tools developed in subfield courses.

Objective #1 (Direct Measure): 2000 Level students will be able to  define  important field- specific theories and concepts.

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

  • Demonstrates an understanding of the theory or concept’s main principles and fields of application.
  •  
  • Contains relevant keywords.
  •  
  • Presents specific examples for illustration or grounds concept/theory in context (as required by specific assignment) or
  •  
  • Response(s) evidence no misconceptions or errors that impact the concept/theory’s meaning or field of application.

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

  • Demonstrates competent but incomplete understanding of theory/concept’s main principles and fields of application; leaves off or fails to include some central component.
  •  
  • Contains some but not all relevant keywords or central terms, meaning is clear but incomplete.
  •  
  • Response presents partial context or incomplete/underdeveloped example for illustration; it’s clear student understands basic idea, but struggles to articulate it in course-specific terms.

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

  • Response(s) are markedly off-base; conflates theory/concept at hand for entirely different idea.
  •  
  • Important keywords are absent.
  •  
  • Fails to present examples or provide relevant context.

Objective #2 (Direct Measure): 2000 Level students will be able to  summarize  a conceptual argument or theoretical approach,  apply  it to an actual field-relevant situation, and  support  their application with appropriate evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

Student’s response/paper/exam question accomplishes  all  of the below…

 

  • Summary is complete; contains all relevant keywords, course- and discipline-specific content, and provides clear description of conceptual argument/theoretical approach’s definition and relevance.
  •  
  • Response/answer provides examples and context in the depth necessary to demonstrate mastery of both theory/concept  and  its concrete implications.
  •  
  • Response assesses issues raised by potentially competing information or alternative perspectives introduced in course materials.
  •  
  • Response is presented logically, with attention to internal consistency and the need to develop unstated assumptions.
  •  
  • Use of evidence takes into account potential counter-arguments, strengths and weaknesses of sources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

Student’s response/paper/exam question accomplishes  most  of the below…

 

  • Summary is complete; contains all relevant keywords, course- and discipline-specific content, and provides clear description of conceptual argument/theoretical approach’s definition and relevance.
  •  
  • Response/answer provides examples and context in the depth necessary to demonstrate mastery of both theory/concept  and  its concrete implications.
  •  
  • Response assesses issues raised by potentially competing information or alternative perspectives introduced in course materials.
  •  
  • Response is presented logically, with attention to internal consistency and the need to develop unstated assumptions.
  •  
  • Use of evidence takes into account potential counter-arguments, strengths and weaknesses of sources.

 

 

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

  • Summary is incomplete, garbled, or missing key information; connection between theory/concept and field-relevant situation is unclear.
  •  
  • Response is substantially lacking in detail, examples, or evidence drawn from course materials.
  •  
  • Argument is disorganized, lacks attention to logical development.
  •  
  • Fails to address most obvious competing explanations/perspectives, or to engage with alternative evidence.

Objective #3 (Direct Measure): 2000 Level students will be able to  compare  and  evaluate  the merits of two or more policies, theories, or concepts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

  • Policies/theories/concepts to be compared are clearly and critically described, delivering all necessary information for full analysis.
  •  
  • Response takes complexity into account; recognizes limitations of evidence and the possibilities of other/competing perspectives and analytic stances.
  •  
  • Clearly and cogently states grounds for comparison, identifies key similarities and differences that make comparison more/less compelling.
  •  
  • Response combines evidence with logic and reason, prioritizes arguments and evidence to strengthen argument.
  •  
  • Comparison is built on adequate detail, examples, and context, relies on synthesis from multiple sources of evidence (as required by assignment).

 

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

  • Policies/theories/concepts to be compared are clearly but uncritically described.
  •  
  • Response offers limited acknowledgement of complexities of issue(s) at hand, acknowledges but does not address or explore limitations of evidence or competing perspectives.
  •  
  • Comparison is developed but presented with limited acknowledgement of factors facilitating/hindering its success.
  •  
  • Conclusions are generally tied logically to evidence presented.

 

 

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

  • Policies/theories/concepts to be compared are stated incompletely and without adequate description
  •  
  • Evidence is presented without regard to logical priorities or limitations of sources.
  •  
  • Competing perspectives or relevant counter-arguments are unacknowledged.
  •  
  • Assumptions are presented as fact.

Learning   Goal   #2: Students will develop effective communication skills, characterized by the ability to communicate in the styles and forms that will prepare them for graduate-level research in political science and/or the professional world. Specifically, students in specialized, upper-division political science courses (4000 level) will be able to:

Direct measures of student learning for Learning Objective #2:

  • Directed essays and open-ended research papers prepared by students and groups in 4000-level, seminar-style courses that call for the integration of disciplinary (or inter-disciplinary) theory with evidence from empirical, historical, or theoretical sources to answer a question of political significance.

Objective #1 (Direct Measure): 4000 Level students will  demonstrate  an awareness of audience in    political science communications, and be able to adopt effective strategies for communicating in diverse   rhetorical situations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

The audience of the intended communications can be easily identified by a reader at the beginning of the text and the intended audience is appropriate.

 

Relevant information is organized and presented so that the purpose of the communications is clear to the audience and enhances the audience’s understanding of the intended communications.

 

  • The intended audience is provided with relevant and correct information (including evidence, background information, and supporting materials) that makes the context clear and supports the purpose of the communications.
  •  
  • The communications use appropriate and effective language and style given the audience and purpose of the communications and contains almost no errors in pronunciation, spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

 

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

  • The intended audience can be identified or inferred from the communications and the intended audience is appropriate for the assignment.
  •  

Relevant information is organized and presented so that the purpose of the communications is clear to the audience.

 

  • The intended audience is provided with some relevant and correct information that supports the purpose of the communications.
  •  
  • The communications use generally appropriate language, style, grammar, and punctuation given the audience and purpose but contains some communication errors.

 

 

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

  • The intended audience cannot be identified or inferred from the communications or the intended audience is not appropriate for the assignment.

 

  • Information is poorly organized or poorly presented so that the purpose of the communications is not clear to the reader.

 

  • The intended audience is provided with little relevant or correct information or the information does not support the purpose of the communications.
  •  
  • The communications use inappropriate language or an ineffective presentation style given the intended audience or contains numerous communication errors.

Objective #2 (Direct Measure):  4000 Level students will be able to  designplan, and  deliver  a written project that is organized coherently and logically, and that employs relevant evidence and examples from the world of politics and government.

 

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

  • Paper is logically organized and easily followed.
  •  
  • Paper presents a clear (and clearly developed) thesis or argument, and demonstrates it with a range of relevant and appropriate pieces of evidence.
  •  
  • Use of evidence reflects critical thought, attention to detail and specificity, and an awareness of evidentiary challenges and potential counter-arguments.
  •  
  • (If relevant) Paper reflects transformational (not merely superficial) revisions based on feedback from faculty and/or peers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

  • Paper has a clear organizational structure, but also occasional digressions, ambiguities, or irrelevancies.
  •  
  • Paper presents a clear thesis or argument, and evidence and examples are generally (if not always) specifically directed towards establishing it.
  •  
  • Evidence is diverse in scope but examples are occasionally shallow or narrow. Paper indicates at least a passing awareness of limits to the evidence’s quality/applicability and the challenge of potential counter-arguments, even if they are not engaged with in detail.
  •  
  •  (If relevant) Paper reflects revisions based on feedback from faculty and/or peers, and is generally successful at addressing specific comments.

 

 

 

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

  • Paper lacks a clear organizational structure, and does not proceed logically with the presentation of thesis, theory, and evidence.
  •  
  • Paper lacks clear thesis or argument, and evidence is a poor fit with implied argument.
  •  
  • Examples are shallow and lack demonstrative detail.
  •  
  • Paper does not address (even implicitly) evidentiary challenges and limitations.
  •  
  • (If relevant) Paper reflects little revision and minimal engagement with feedback from faculty and/or peers.

Objective #3 (Direct Measure):  4000 Level students will be able to  orally   deliver  a written project that is organized coherently and logically, and that employs relevant evidence and examples from the world of politics and government.

 

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

  • Orally delivers written papers such that intended audience can follow oral communications logically and easily.
  •  
  • Orally presents a clear (and clearly developed) thesis or argument, and orally demonstrates it with a range of relevant and appropriate pieces of evidence.
  •  
  • Oral communications clearly reflect critical thought, attention to detail and specificity, and an awareness of evidentiary challenges and potential counter-arguments.
  •  
  • Oral communications exemplify story telling that delivers the main thesis of written papers without mechanically summarizing it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

Orally delivers written papers such that intended audience generally understand oral communications but the audience need to employ their own interpretation to catch the main thesis in the oral delivery.

 

Orally presents a clear (and clearly developed) thesis or argument, and orally demonstrates it with a range of relevant and appropriate pieces of evidence but the oral delivery is interrupted by some confusing combination of the pieces of evidence.

 

Oral communications clearly reflect critical thought, attention to detail and specificity, and an awareness of evidentiary challenges and potential counter-arguments but the oral communications sometimes give an impression that they are biased toward a limited number of arguments.

 

Oral communications exemplify story telling that delivers the main thesis of written papers but sometime give an impression that they are mechanically summarizing it.

 

 

 

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

Orally delivers written papers such that intended audience cannot follow oral communications logically and easily.

 

Orally presents an unclear (and clearly developed) thesis or argument, or orally demonstrates it without a range of relevant and appropriate pieces of evidence.

 

Oral communications fail to reflect critical thought, attention to detail and specificity, and an awareness of evidentiary challenges and potential counter-arguments.

 

Oral communications exemplify story telling that fails to deliver the main thesis of written papers.

Learning Goal #3: Students will develop effective research skills needed to produce research papers or research reports common in the academic discipline or in professional public affairs. Specifically, students in specialized, upper-division courses (4000 level or above) will be able to:

Direct measures of student learning for Learning Goal #3:

  • Papers, reports, or presentations in which that students or groups of students in selected 4000-level engage in a combination of summarizing and critiquing the literature on a specific research topic; apply appropriate theories, methodologies, and/or evidence to a topic; and describe their findings and conclusions for professional or academic audiences.

Objective#1 (Direct Measure): 4000 Level students will be able to summarize and critique academic and/or professional literature on selected research topics.

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

  • Provides clear evidence that students have identified and read the literature related to their research topics.
  •  
  • Accurately summarizes relevant academic or professional literature related to the research topic.

 

Critiques the literature describing the contributions and shortcomings of the existing work on the research topic.

 

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

  • Provides some evidence that students have identified and read the literature related to their research topics.
  •  
  • Summarizes relevant academic or professional literature related to the research topic, with few inaccuracies.

 

Provides a limited critique of the literature that fails to describe fully the contributions and shortcomings of the existing work on the research topic.

  •  

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

  • Shows no evidence of the literature review.

 

  • Fails to accurately summarize the relevant academic or professional literature related to the research topic.

 

Provides no critique of the literature or provides a critique that does not reference the relevant works.

Objective#2 (Direct Measure): 4000 Level students will be able to apply appropriate theories, methodologies, and/or evidence to their research topic

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

  • Identifies appropriate theories, methodologies, and/or evidence to apply to their research topic.

 

Applies appropriate theories, methodologies, and/or evidence in a way that is consistent with the theory, methodology, and/or evidence.

 

Analyzes the research topic thoroughly using the selected theories, methodologies, and/or evidence.

 

 

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

  • Identifies some relevant methodologies, theories, and/or evidence but the selected theories, methodologies, and/or evidence are not the most appropriate to apply to their research area.

 

Applies appropriate theories, methodologies, and/or evidence in a way that is mostly consistent with the theory, methodology, and/or evidence but makes some errors in the application.

 

Provides only a partial analysis of the research topic using the selected theories, methodologies, and/or evidence.

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

  • Identifies inappropriate or no relevant methodologies, theories, and/or evidence but the selected theories, methodologies, and/or evidence to apply to their research area.

 

Applies the selected theories, methodologies, and/or evidence in a way that is inconsistent with the theory, methodology, and/or evidence.

 

Does not analyze the research topic using the selected theories, methodologies, and/or evidence.

 

Objective#3 (Direct Measure): 4000 Level students will be able to d evelop papers, reports, or presentations that describe their findings and conclusions on their research topics for professional or academic audiences

 

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

Organizes the information needed to explore the research topic clearly and effectively.

 

Provides support for claims and conclusion in the report or paper.

 

Discusses the research topic with the level of specificity and detail appropriate for the intended audience.

 

Uses appropriate methods of citation and reference.

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

 

Includes the information needed to explore the research topic, but it is somewhat unorganized or poorly presented.

 

Provides support for some claims and conclusions in the report or paper, but not all.

 

Discusses the research topic at a level of specificity and detail that is not the most appropriate for the intended audience.

 

Mostly uses appropriate methods of citation and reference, but has some missing or incomplete references or citations.

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

Excludes information needed to explore the research topic, and lacks organization and clarity.

 

Provides little or no support for claims and conclusions in the report or paper.

 

Discusses the research topic with the specificity and detail that is not appropriate for the intended audience.

 

Fails to use appropriate methods of citation and reference.

Learning Goal #4: Students will develop knowledge or career paths and appropriate tools to aid in professional development in the discipline or in public and international affairs. Specifically, students in specialized, upper-division courses (3000 and 4000 level) will be able to:

Direct measures of student learning for Learning Goal #3:

  • Assignments or activities in which that students or groups of students identify relevant career opportunities in particular areas of public affairs or political science
  • Assignments or activities in which that students or groups of students describe relevant experiences, skills or academic credentials related to career paths in public affairs or political science

Objective#1 (Direct Measure): 4000 Level students will be able to identify career opportunities in academia and/or public and international affairs, which match planned career paths.

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

Provides a list of clearly planned career paths in academia and/or public and international affairs, which students plan to follow, after graduation.

 

Provides a list of specific career opportunities that match the planned career paths and might be available in the near future.

 

Develops the list of specific career opportunities, which students prioritize in terms of a match between career types and students’ skills.

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

Provides a list of potential career paths in academia and/or public and international affairs, which students plan to follow, after graduation.

 

Provides a list of general career opportunities that match the potential career paths.

 

Develops the list of general career opportunities, which students prioritize in terms of a match between career types and students’ skills.

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

Fails to provide a list of even potential career paths in academia and/or public and international affairs, which students plan to follow, after graduation.

 

Fails to provide a list of even general career opportunities that match the potential career paths.

Objective#2 (Direct Measure): 4000 Level students will be able to describe and develop specific experiences, skills, and/or academic credentials related to their career paths.

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

Provides a list of experiences, skills, and/or academic credentials, which the specific career opportunities identified under Objective #1 typically require.

 

  • Identifies the gap between the experiences, skills, and/or academic credentials typically required for the specific career opportunities, and students’ current qualifications.

 

Fills the gap by taking relevant academic courses or arranging for adequate work or internship opportunities.

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

Provides a list of experiences, skills, and/or academic credentials, which the potential career opportunities identified under Objective #1 typically require.

 

Identifies the gap between the experiences, skills, and/or academic credentials typically required for the potential career opportunities, and students’ current qualifications.

 

Fills the gap by taking broadly related academic courses or arranging for broadly related work or internship opportunities.

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

Fails to provide a list of experiences, skills, and/or academic credentials, which even the potential career opportunities identified under Objective #1 typically require.

 

Fails to identify the gap between the experiences, skills, and/or academic credentials typically required for even the potential career opportunities, and students’ current qualifications.

GRADUATE

Based on the discussions between the Political Science Assessment Coordinator, the Graduate Committee Chair, the Department Chair, previous members of the initial Assessment Committee from 2016 to 2018, and the Graduate Committee, the Political Science Department clarified graduate Learning Goals and reporting requirements. The Political Science Assessment Coordinator will oversee the implementation of graduate learning outcomes assessments. The Political Science Department also developed an assessment schedule ( Implementation of Assessment ) and assessment rubrics ( Assessment Rubrics ) for all three learning goals below. We also developed a schedule for analysis and discussion of assessment results. Each spring, the Assessment Coordinator will meet with the Department Chair and Graduate Chair to analyze the results of assessments completed in previous semesters, discuss the results, and develop recommendations for departmental consideration. These recommendations will be presented at a regularly scheduled faculty meeting for departmental consideration.

Implementation of Assessment

Goal 1: Spring 2019

Goal 2: Fall 2019

Goal 3: Spring 2020

We will continue to assess our graduate learning goals in subsequent years using this rotation. We will use our current assessment rubrics for future years until the full department agrees to revise them as appropriate and needed.

Assessment Rubrics

Learning Goal #1: Graduate students will describe the major theories and methodological approaches used to explain political outcomes within the discipline of political science.

Direct measures of graduate student learning for Learning Goal #1:

  • Exam questions and written assignments that require students to summarize major theories and methodological approaches used in political science.

Specifically, graduate students in subfield courses (6000 level) will be able to:

Objective #1 (Direct Measure): Graduate students in POLS 6000 will be able to  summarize  multiple theories and methodological approaches used to explain political outcomes in political science.

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

  • Clearly summarizes the major theories and methodological approaches.
  •  
  • Demonstrates a mastery of the major theories and methodological approaches, without any significant misconceptions or errors that misinterpret the major theories and methodological approaches.
  •  
  • Presents specific examples of how selected theories and methodologies relate to political outcomes.

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

  • Summarizes the major theories and methodological approaches but the summary omits important theories and methodological approaches.
  •  
  • Demonstrates a significant level of understanding of major theories and methodological approaches but summary contains some misconceptions or errors.
  •  
  • Presents specific examples of how theories and methodologies relate to political outcomes but examples exhibit a mismatch between theory and/or methodology and outcomes.

 

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

  •  
  • Fails to accurately summarize the major theories and methodological approaches.
  •  
  • Fails to demonstrate a significant level of understanding the major theories and methodological approaches or demonstrates some level of understanding but summary contains several fundamental misconceptions or errors that distort the major theories and methodological approaches.
  •  
  • Fails to present examples of how political outcomes are connected to theories or methodologies or provides examples that have little connection to the theories or methodologies being considered.

Learning   Goal   #2: Graduate students will evaluate, compare, and synthesize different theoretical and methodological approaches used in explaining political outcomes in at least one area of concentration within the discipline of political science.

Direct measures of graduate student learning for Learning Goal #2:

  • Comprehensive exams, significant research papers, and masters’ theses, which demonstrate graduate students' abilities to explain, compare and/or synthesize different theoretical and methodological approaches to explaining chosen political outcomes.

Specifically, graduate students in final stages of their graduate studies (comprehensive exams, significant research papers, and theses, etc.) will be able to:

Objective #1 (Direct Measure): Graduate students will be able to  identify  and explain multiple theoretical and methodological approaches academically supported to explain chosen political outcomes.

 

  

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

Identifies multiple theoretical and methodological approaches that are most

frequently used to explain chosen political outcomes.

 

  • Explains why selected theoretical and methodological approaches are appropriate for explaining particular political outcomes.

 

  

2 (Meets Expectations)

  • Identifies some common theoretical and methodological approaches used to explain chosen political outcomes.
  •  
  • Explains why selected theoretical and methodological approaches are appropriate to explain the chosen political outcomes but the explanation is incomplete or contains
  • a few inconsistencies or errors

 

  

1 (Needs Improvement)

  • Fails to identify theoretical and methodological approaches that are most frequently
  • used to explain chosen political outcomes.

 

  • Fails to explain why the selected theoretical and methodological approaches are
  • appropriate or the explanation, when provided, contains numerous errors and
  • inconsistencies.

  Objective #2 (Direct Measure): Graduate students will be able to  compare strengths and weaknesses of the different theoretical and methodological approaches and/or synthesize multiple theories and methodological approaches to explaining political outcomes in their area of specialization.

  

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

  • Clearly explains strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical and
  • methodological approaches.
  •  
  • Coherently synthesizes the various theories and methodologies to explain the chosen political outcomes.

 

  

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

  • Explains strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical and methodological approaches but the explanation omits some important theoretical and methodological approaches or does not accurately portray some of the strengths and weaknesses.
  •  
  • Synthesizes various theories and methodologies to explain the chosen political
  • outcomes but some of the integration is incoherent or inconsistent in parts.

 

 

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

  • Fails to explain strengths and weaknesses of multiple theoretical and methodological approaches or the explanation, even when offered, omits important required theoretical and methodological approaches or does not accurately portray many of the strengths
  • and weaknesses.
  •  
  • Offers no synthesis of various theories and methodologies or offers a synthesis that
  • is largely inconsistent or incoherent.  

Learning Goal #3: Graduate students will conduct and communicate original research that investigates political phenomena in their area of concentration using appropriate theoretical and methodological approaches.

Direct measures of graduate student learning for Learning Goal #3:

  • Significant research papers or theses that investigate political phenomena and deliver the main findings and significance of original research to the relevant scholarly community.

Specifically, graduate students will be able to:

Objective#1 (Direct Measure): Graduate students will be able to develop research questions that can clearly contribute to the scholarly literature in their area of specialization.

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

  • Provides relevant literature reviews related to their research topics.
  •  
  • Develops research questions that the literature has not addressed yet or that build in a meaningful way on the existing litertature.
  •  
  • Articulates how the research questions can contribute to the literature.

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

  • Provides relevant literature reviews related to their research topics but some important theories are missing or some of the introduced theories are misinterpreted.
  •  
  • Develops research questions that the literature has largely addressed or that are
  • less directly connected to the literature.
  •  

Explains how the research questions can contribute to the literature but the explanation lacks sufficient depth or makes claims beyond the contribution of the research.

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

  • Provides no literature review.

 

Develops no research questions for research papers or reports.

 

Fails to identify the contributions of the research questions to the literature.

Objective#2 (Direct Measure): Graduate students will be able to apply appropriate theories methodologies to their research questions.

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

  • Identifies appropriate theories and methodologies for their research questions

 

Applies the appropriate theories and methodologies accurately and consistently to

their questions.

 

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

  •  
  • Identifies theories and methodologies for their research questions but the theories or methodologies are not fully appropriate for addressing their research questions.

 

Applies the appropriate theories and methodologies to their questions but the application is sometimes inconsistent or inaccurate.

 

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

  • Fails to identify any or any appropriate theories and methodologies for their research questions.

 

Applies the selected theories and methodologies to their questions but the application is largely inconsistent or inaccurate.

 

Objective#3 (Direct Measure): Graduate students will be able to effectively communicate their original research in their area of concentration to relevant scholarly communities.

 

 

 

3 (Exceeds Expectations)

Is well-organized with relevant sections that address the research question and conform to the expectations for the scholarly community. 

 

Provides relevant discussions of choices made in conducting the original research.

 

Provides supporting documentation and/or evidence for claims made in the research paper or report.

 

Is well-written with few errors.

 

 

 

2 (Meets Expectations)

Is generally well-organized with relevant sections that address the research question and conform to the expectations for the scholarly community but is either missing relevant section or some issues in organizations. 

 

Largely provides relevant discussions of choices made in conducting the original research but omits some information that would be necessary to evaluate the quality of the research.

 

Typically provides supporting documentation and/or evidence for claims made in the research paper or report but is missing some such documentation or evidence or contains some irrelevant or inconsistent evidence.

 

Is mostly well-written but contains some grammatical, spelling or typing errors.

 

1 (Needs Improvement)

 

Fails to provide relevant sections that address the research question or omits sections that are expected within the scholarly community.

 

Fails to provide relevant discussions of choices made in conducting the original research leaving readers with no way to assess the quality of research or provides discussion of choices that are inappropriate for quality research.

 

Fails to provide supporting documentation and/or evidence for claims made in the research paper or report or such documentation or evidence is largely irrelevant to the project or wholly inaccurate. 

 

Is poorly written but contains numerous grammatical, spelling or typing errors.

 

Evidence of Student Learning

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