Environmental Science B.S. Assessment Plan

Mission Statement

To provide undergraduates the scientific and communication skills and knowledge necessary to understand the inter-relationships among people, living organisms and the environments of the Intermountain West.

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
  • Environmental Science 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. Mini-internships, focused on applying science to an applied problem, will be done by students in Wetland Ecology and Management (NRES 440)."Miniature-internship" projects require them to choose a problem, contact a "client", do a small field or laboratory project (individually or in groups), and complete a report individually.
  • Students complete group projects in Ecohydrology, NRES 295 that involve some local practical problem in ecohydrology.
  • 1:3 In Soils (NRES 322) students will be required to demonstrate the applicability of their studies to hypothetical management decisions in homework problems and exams.
Assessment Method
  • Mini-internships, focused on applying science to an applied problem, will be evaluated by the instructor in Wetland Ecology and Management (NRES 440).
  • Group projects in Ecohydrology, NRES 295 are evaluated by the professor for the degree of organization, synthesis and thoroughness.
  • In Soils (NRES 322)are evaluated though homework problems and exams.

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

Student Performance Indicators
  • Environmental Science students produce written and oral reports related to laboratory and field investigations. Environmental Science 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 environmental science. Written research papers in Wetland Ecology and Management will be required to demonstrate effective scientific writing skills.
  • In Ecohydrology (NRES 295), students will do presentations or posters.
  • In Environmental Toxicology (NRES 432), students are required to write a term paper analyzing the significance of chemicals that may present risks to humans and the environment by analyzing problems and seeking appropriate solutions to the concerns.
Assessment Method
  • Written research papers in Wetland Ecology and Management are evaluated by the instructor for clarity and organization in presentation of data and results.
  • In NRES 295 presentations and posters are evaluated for the demonstration of effective oral or presentation skills. Class members and guests evaluate presentations and posters according to content, thoroughness, speaker demeanor, poster organization and attractiveness, and originality in approach.
  • In NRES 432 papers are evaluated by the instructor.

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

Student Performance Indicators
  • Environmental Science students carry out field investigations that involve original data collection efforts, including data acquisition, manipulation, and interpretation. Students in Ecohydrology (NRES 295) will be required to apply standard techniques for field experiments. The outcomes of their group efforts are included in end-of-the-semester presentations, which include posters, oral presentations and a comprehensive written summary.
  • Students in NRES 440, Wetland Ecology and Management will demonstrate technical competency in laboratory and field exercises and in performing independent projects. These skills include laboratory analyses, vegetation analysis, data analysis using Excel with elementary statistical analyses, soil identification, and other skills.
Assessment Method
  • 3.1: Technical competency used during field experiments will be evaluated from presentations and posters in Ecohydrology (NRES 295).
  • Students in NRES 440, Wetland Ecology and Management will be evaluated on technical competency in laboratory and field exercises and in performing independent projects.