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.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do faculty contribute to our assessment?
Graduates of the agricultural and horticultural insect management option:
Graduates of the insect biology option:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.