Learner Outcomes Assessment Portfolio for the Curriculum of the Entomology Department

Assessment of student learning is a priority for our college, and we view it as a necessary means by which to improve the opportunity to learn for our students. The items below will give you an overview of the mission, goals and measures that define the culture of our assessment efforts.

See our:

mission statement that shows how we are focused on student learning
major learning goals for our students
measures that indicate the department's teaching mission is being accomplished

 

  • How College goals are embedded in departmental goals.
  • Summary of how College goals are measured, the results of those measurements, and how the department has responded to the results.
assessment program materials to overview how we assess our curriculum and how the information is used to enhance and make changes to student learning
examples of program changes resulting from our assessment efforts that have improved student learning

Frequently Asked Questions

How do faculty contribute to our assessment? How does administration support our assessment? What do students contribute to our assessment?

Mission Statement

Iowa State has the distinction of being the first University to have offered a course in Entomology, under the auspices of Dr Herbert Osborn, more than 125 years ago. The mission of the Department of Entomology is to continue in this spirit of commitment to student learning by developing and disseminating knowledge through research and teaching about insects at the suborgansimal, organismal, and population levels. Students enrolling in courses taught by the department include undergraduates and graduate students of ISU, vocational/continuing education students, and distance learners. Students experience a variety of learning situations including traditional lectures, hands-on laboratory work, field trips, interactive web-based distance education, and informal online learning. Outside of the formal classroom, the Department maintains a creative, highly visible problem-solving Cooperative Extension program which strives to provide current, top-quality information, related to entomology and pest management, to citizens, including urban dwellers, growers, and members of industry. Regardless of student status, every student passing through the department will leave with an understanding of the complex inter-relationships that exist between humans, insects and the environment.

Major Learning Goals

Undergraduate Degree
The objective of the entomology undergraduate is to provide students with a broadly-based education in the science and practice of entomology in order to prepare them for graduate school or employment. The undergraduate curriculum in entomology is designed for persons interested in studying insects, their adaptations, and the practicalities of dealing with them.
All graduates will:

  • demonstrate an understanding of insect identification, structure, and function
  • understand the evolutionary and ecological relationships of insects with other life forms and the impact of insects relative to human health and well being and animal and plant health
  • understand the principles and methods of managing beneficial and pest insect populations
  • be able to apply the scientific method in problem solving and the principles of experimental design and analysis
  • be able to communicate research and educational materials properly and competently – orally, visually, and in writing – will be able to work effectively with others

Graduates of the agricultural and horticultural insect management option:

  • are skilled in determining pest levels and impact on plant and animal hosts, and the management of these pests
  • understand the environmental, legal, and ethical issues involved in insect population management

Graduates of the insect biology option:

  • will have achieved an understanding of the biochemical and physiological processes governing insect metabolism, growth, and form
  • understand the evolutionary and ecological significance of insects
  • have a broad background in the biological sciences

Graduate Degree
The department offers work for the degrees master of science and doctor of philosophy with a major in entomology or toxicology. Graduates:

  • have core knowledge of entomology
  • have an in-depth command of their area of concentration
  • are able to design original research, are skilled in research methods, and will be able to write concise and persuasive grant proposals
  • will be able to communicate effectively with their scientific colleagues and the general public in both formal and informal settings
  • be able to address complex problems facing entomology or toxicology professionals taking into account related ethical, social, legal, economic, and environmental issues
  • work effectively with their colleagues

 

Measures that indicate the department's teaching mission is being accomplished:

Undergraduate Degree

 

  • demonstrate an understanding of insect identification, structure, and function

Two courses required of all undergraduates emphasize the understanding of insect structure, function, and identification. Ent 370, Insect Biology, requires an insect collection. Students must turn in an insect collection that they have assembled, with the insects correctly identified. To identify the insects, the student must understand external insect morphology and be able to use diagnostic keys and reference material. In Ent 376, Fundamentals of Entomology and Pest Management, the laboratory requires that key pests of agricultural, horticultural, and urban environments be identified by sight. To prepare the students, they are taught and demonstrate, in weekly homework assignments and quizzes, basic external morphology.

  • understand the evolutionary and ecological relationships of insects with other life forms and the impact of insects relative to human health and well being and animal and plant health

Biol 211 and 212, Principles of Biology, are required and contain basic evolutionary and ecological relationships of life forms. In Ent 370, Insect Biology, the student begins to focus on insects. In depth understanding of the interaction of insects with components of other life systems occurs in: Ent 372, Livestock Entomology, where insects' interaction with insects affecting livestock and poultry production are learned; Ent 374, Insects and Our Health, concentrates on the relationship of insects with humans, especially those that vector human diseases; and Ent 376, Fundamentals of Entomology and Pest Management, is concerned with agricultural, horticultural, and urban pest insects.

  • understand the principles and methods of managing beneficial and pest insect populations

Managing both beneficial and pest insects is emphasized in all three core, pest-management courses: Ent 372, Livestock Entomology, where managing pests in livestock production is emphasized; Ent 374, Insects and Our Health, concentrates on dealing with arthropods that vector human diseases; and Ent 376, Fundamentals of Entomology and Pest Management, is concerned with agricultural, horticultural, and urban pest insects.

  • be able to apply the scientific method in problem solving and the principles of experimental design and analysis

The undergraduates are provided a survey of experimental design and analysis in the required Stat 104, Introduction to Statistics, course. The requirement to take Ent 490E, Independent Study – Research or Work Experience, provides practice in the application of experimental techniques and analysis in original research or the interpretation of research, respectively.

  • be able to communicate research and educational materials properly and competently – orally, visually, and in writing – will be able to work effectively with others

Students learn the basics of written communication in Engl 104 and 105, Composition, and oral communication in Speech 212, Fundamentals of Public Speaking. The techniques are applied to scientific writing in Engl 314, Technical Communications. Final refining and polishing of the skills in professional communication occurs in the College of Agriculture's communication within the discipline requirement. Written reports in the Ent 490E, Research Experience, and oral presentations in Ent 490U, Laboratory Teaching Experience, apply the communication skills within the entomologically specialty.

Graduate Degree
The department offers work for the degrees master of science and doctor of philosophy with a major in entomology or toxicology. Graduates:

  • have core knowledge of entomology

To provide the core entomological knowledge, all graduate students are required to pass Ent 555, Insect Physiology, and Ent 576, Systematic Entomology. In these lecture and laboratory courses, the students demonstrate understanding of insect function and internal structure and insect identification and external structure, respectively. Systematic entomology requires the students key-out specimens provided by the faculty instructor. Toxicology majors must demonstrate competency in Insect Physiology, but are not required to take Systematic Entomology.

  • have an in-depth command of their area of concentration

The demonstration of in-depth command of their area of concentration occurs in the graduate student's original research component; entomology doe not offer a non-thesis graduate degree. At the Masters of Science level, they must design and conduct research that is presented in the written thesis and defended orally. In addition to the original research that is conducted, presented in the dissertation, and defended in an oral exam, the PhD candidate must pass written and oral Preliminary Examinations that evaluate their command of the areas of study related to their research focus.

  • are able to design original research, are skilled in research methods, and will be able to write concise and persuasive grant proposals

All graduate students must design and carry out original research in order to earn the advanced degree; entomology does not offer a non-thesis degree. This is usually preceded by a written research proposal that may be defended in front of their Program of Study Committee. It is encouraged that the research proposal be written in the general format of a grant proposal. The Richardson Research Award is an additional incentive to practice grant writing. The award is an internal competition that requires a grant proposal, outside the student's area of specialization for the degree requirement, and the reward is research funding to support the supplemental initiative.

  • will be able to communicate effectively with their scientific colleagues and the general public in both formal and informal settings

A uniform requirement that all M.S. and PhD students present a research seminar on their original research the semester they defend it demonstrates their ability to communicate to their colleagues. The seminar course requires the enrolled students to present a practice seminar to the other students and faculty instructor who critique it. The presentation may be video taped for the student to review. The seminar is then formally presented to the department and each of the students enrolled is required to ask questions of the presenter. PhD students have the additional evaluative experience by being required to teach during two semesters for which they sign up for credit and are evaluated based on their performance in front of the classroom. The graduate students are also encouraged to make formal scientific presentations at their professional society's meetings as 10-minute oral presentations and/or poster presentations.
To evaluate communication in less formal environments, MS and PhD students are required to enroll in two and four Special Topic courses, respectively. These courses focus on a current issue and require that the students conduct a literature search and lead a discussion on a specific issue within the topic.

  • be able to address complex problems facing entomology or toxicology professionals taking into account related ethical, social, legal, economic, and environmental issues

Understanding ethical issues in research and the science profession is emphasized by requiring graduate students to participate in a University ethics workshop the first semester that they enroll. The ethical, social, legal, economic, and environmental issues are woven through the Special Topics courses that the students are required to take.

  • work effectively with their colleagues

Graduate students demonstrate that they can work collegially with their colleagues through departmental committee assignments. All departmental committees, except Promotion and Tenure, have a student representative assigned to it that is expected to participate actively in the committee.