Environmental Science M.S. Assessment Plan

Mission Statement

The mission of the UNR Environmental Sciences and Health graduate program (ES&H) is to provide training to scientists in the following disciplines: environmental chemistry; environmental toxicology; and ecological toxicology. The environmental chemistry track focuses on measurements and environmental processes affecting chemicals in the environment. The environmental toxicology track focuses on the biochemical and cellular toxicology, with a special emphasis placed on the impact of contaminants on humans. The ecological toxicology track combines the disciplines of wildlife toxicology and conservation biology with the goal of understanding how contaminants affect populations and ecosystems.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the theoretical and experimental basis for the study of contaminants in the environment and their effects on humans and ecosystems.

Performance Indicators

  • Descriptive and numerical solutions to exam questions
  • Student opinions on course content
  • Independent development of research design and methodologies
  • Oral presentation in graduate student seminars

Assessment Method

  • Course and graduate exam grades
  • Student evaluations of individual courses
  • Faculty evaluation of thesis
  • Seminar evaluations by faculty and students

2. Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the design and use of field instrumentation, computer models, data analysis and laboratory procedures for environmental chemistry and toxicology research and monitoring.

Performance Indicators

  • Performance in summarizing research methods
  • Thesis content describing research design and analytical methods
  • Instruction and team leadership to other scientists or students in field, lab, computer and data analysis tasks
  • Employer opinions during internships and post-graduate appointments
  • Performance in summarizing research methods
  • Operation of instrumentation and analysis of data in laboratory, field and computer projects

Assessment Method

  • Supervisor and instructor evaluations
  • Faculty evaluations from thesis review and defense
  • Instructor, supervisor and student evaluations
  • Employer surveys and inquiries
  • Supervisor and instructor evaluations
  • Supervisor and instructor evaluations

3. Students will be able to explain ideas and results through written, numerical, graphical, spoken, and computer-based forms of communication.

Performance Indicators

  • Thesis structure and content
  • Oral presentations and examinations
  • Lectures and other instructional activities prepared by the student

Assessment Method

  • Faculty evaluations from thesis review and defense
  • Faculty and student evaluations in student seminars
  • Faculty and audience evaluations

4. Students will be able to assess and adapt to new avenues of scientific inquiry that offer interdisciplinary and practical applications to commercial and public needs.

Performance Indicators

  • Application of dissertation results to broader impacts
  • Alumni opinions while in post-graduate appointments and other career activities
  • Employer opinions during pre-graduation internships or post-graduate appointments
  • Performance in interdisciplinary studies and coursework

Assessment Method

  • Faculty evaluation from dissertation review and defense
  • Alumni Surveys
  • Employer Surveys
  • Faculty evaluations and course grades from interdisciplinary topics