Environmental Science Ph.D. 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

  • Operation of instrumentation and analysis of data in laboratory, field and computer projects
  • Performance in summarizing research methods
  • Dissertation content describing research design and analytical methods
  • Instruction and team leadership to other scientists or students in field, lab, computer and data analysis tasks
  • 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

Assessment Method

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

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

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

Assessment Method

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

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

Performance Indicators

  • Comprehensive Exams
  • Oral presentations and examinations
  • Dissertation structure and content
  • Lectures and other instructional activities prepared by the student

Assessment Method

  • Exam grades
  • Faculty and student evaluations in student seminars
  • Faculty evaluations from dissertation review and defense
  • 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
  • Performance in interdisciplinary studies and coursework
  • Employer opinions during pre-graduation internships or post-graduation appointments
  • Alumni opinions while in post-graduate appointments and other career activities

Assessment Method

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