December 19, 2008
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Present: Altiero, Burdsal, Chen, Engleman, Gaver, John, Koplitz, Nelson, Heins, Kalka,
Reed (for McGuire), Oertling, Parker, Ruscher, Tasker
Absent: McLachlan, McPherson
Dean Nick Altiero reported on topics that have been discussed at recent Tulane Deans’ Council meetings. In particular, he brought the group up to date on the following.
Dean Altiero summarized the annual evaluation processes for SSE faculty and staff.
The SSE faculty evaluation process will begin with the submission of faculty annual activity reports in mid January and should be completed by mid-March. The only change from last year is that faculty members will now enter their calendar year accomplishments into the Digital Measures database and this will be used to generate the standard faculty annual activity reports. It was noted that the Digital Measures data will also be used in the future to generate other reports and documents such as the promotion and tenure dossiers.
All staff evaluations will be due to Tulane’s Workforce Management office on January 30.
Dean Altiero went over the minutes of prior fall 2008 Executive Committee meetings and the group briefly discussed the following ongoing topics.
Vijay John, Chair of the SSE Promotion and Tenure Committee, presented some recommendations for improvement of the promotion and tenure process. It was agreed that the following recommendations need to be addressed beginning next year.
The group reviewed the mission statements and program learning outcomes that have been written for all of the degree programs offered in the School and there was a discussion about consistency across programs. Dean Altiero stressed the need to now link course learning outcomes to program learning outcomes as this will be extremely helpful when we take the next step, i.e. establishing metrics to measure the level of achievement of program learning outcomes. Associate Dean Carol Burdsal agreed to look into the implications for courses that are offered for both undergraduate and graduate credit.
There was a lengthy discussion on the topic of metrics for evaluation of program learning outcomes. Don Gaver gave a presentation entitled “Assessment 101” in which he described how Biomedical Engineering handles assessment of program learning outcomes as a component of the ABET accreditation process. Vijay John then described the way that Chemical Engineering handles ABET assessment and Jim McGuire added his thoughts relative to the new Engineering Physics program. In particular, the group discussed the role of faculty (establishment of course outcomes related to program outcomes, evaluation of specific problems or assignments, targeted faculty meetings at which improvements are discussed), students (outcome specific questions on course evaluation forms, exit interviews), and external constituents (external advisory boards, alumni and employer surveys) in the continuous improvement process.
Some difficult issues were identified, among which were the handling of service courses and core requirements and the logistics of course evaluations in large class sections.
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