Ecohydrology B.S. Assessment Plan

Mission Statement

To provide undergraduates with the scientific and communication skills and knowledge necessary to understand the inter-relationships among people, living organisms and water in the Intermountain West and the world.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Students will be able to demonstrate critical thinking skills by assessing a problem, gathering and analyzing relevant information associated with that problem, and proposing possible solutions.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Ecohydrology students are able to apply data collection and synthesis techniques to environmental science investigations in real world settings. This ability is expressed both through classroom activities and successful completion of a mini-internship project.
Assessment Method
  • Students complete group projects in Principles of Ecohydrology (NRES 295) that are evaluated by the professor for the degree of organization, synthesis and thoroughness. Case studies in Soils (NRES 322) designed to put theory into real world type settings are evaluated by the professor for applicability to hypothetical management decisions. The ability of students to demonstrate a practical connection between classroom theory and field experiments through oral and written reports are evaluated in Small Watershed Hydrology (NRES 482) by the professor and by guest speakers who assist with field and laboratory investigations. Mini-internships, focused on applying science to an applied problem, will be facilitated and evaluated in Wetland Ecology and Management (NRES 440).

2. Students will be able to demonstrate effective oral and written communication skills.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Ecohydrology students are required to produce posters, oral presentations, and/or written papers that represent results of literature review and experimental work focused on a specific problem related to hydrology or ecosystems.
Assessment Method
  • The Student Assessment for Learning Gains (SALG) instrument will be used in Principles of Ecohydrology (NRES 295), Wetland Ecology and Management (NRES 440) and Small Watershed Hydrology (NRES 482) to assess student confidence in oral and written communication.
  • In Ecohydrology (NRES 295), class members and guests evaluate presentations and posters according to content, thoroughness, and specific problems related to hydrology or ecology.
  • Ecohydrology students produce written and oral reports related to laboratory and field investigations in Small Watershed Hydrology (NRES 482) and Wetland Ecology and Management (NRES 440) that are evaluated according to demeanor, poster organization and attractiveness, and originality in approach.
  • The reports required in Small Watershed Hydrology (NRES 482) are reviewed and graded by the professor. Term papers for honors students are evaluated by the professor in Soils (NRES 322).

3. Students will be able to develop technical competency within their respective discipline.

Student Performance Indicators
  • Ecohydrology students carry out field investigations that involve original data collection efforts, including data acquisition, manipulation, and interpretation.
Assessment Method
  • Students in Principles of Ecohydrology (NRES 295) apply standard techniques for field experiments. The outcomes of their group efforts are compiled in end-of-the-semester products, which include posters, oral presentations and a comprehensive written summary. Students master the standards and techniques of various aspects of laboratory and field hydrology through laboratory exercises and field investigations in Small Watershed Hydrology (NRES 482).
  • The SALG instrument will be used in Principles of Ecohydrology (NRES 295), Wetland Ecology and Management (NRES 440), and Small Watershed Hydrology (NRES 482) to assess student confidence in technical aspects of these courses.