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College of Engineering & Science - Louisiana Tech University


Construction Engineering Technology

Assessment of Program Educational Objectives

The tools used to assure that students in Construction Engineering Technology Program achieve the program educational objectives include:

  1. Alumni surveys, every two years.

  2. Employer surveys, annual.

  3. Feedback from industrial advisory board members, semiannual.

  4. Feedback from practicing professionals attending the Construction Project Bid Planning (CVTE 492) Presentations, annual.

The process and measures are evaluated during the academic year, also the Spring Faculty retreat is devoted mostly for in-depth review and evaluation of the process and measures are implementation of any necessary modifications.

In 2001 each program in the COES established independent processes for assessing and evaluating Program Outcomes and Educational Objectives. In order to promote the use of best practices and reduce redundant data collection, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs coordinated a series of Program Chair meetings during the fall and winter of 2003-2004 for the purpose of establishing a college wide assessment plan that would serve the needs of all programs. The result of the meetings was a five-point plan for gathering assessment data for both Program Outcomes and Educational Objectives. Programs were free to supplement the college-wide plan and establish a plan and schedule for evaluating the data, but it was agreed that each program would implement the following assessment activities in coordination with the office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs.

Alumni Surveys. The COES Program Chairs agreed to establish a process for conducting regular surveys of their recent alumni to gather data to help determine the extent to which the Program Objectives were being achieved. The College facilitates this activity by providing the programs with alumni contact information and an on-line survey tool (http://info.engr.latech.edu:8080/survey). Every two years, the Construction Engineering Technology Program will survey two classes of graduates.

Employer Surveys. The office of the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies conducts an annual survey of employers in co-operation with the Louisiana Tech Career Center. In order to get employer participation, the survey had to be designed so as to carefully protect employee privacy, so no personally identifiable data is requested. The survey seeks employer evaluation of Louisiana Tech COES graduates as a whole compared to graduates from other schools from which the employer recruits graduates.

The Construction Engineering Technology Program subscribes fully to the COES Assessment Plan and enhances the plan with additional assessment activities. Our program implements the full assessment cycle annually. Course Objectives and Outcomes Surveys are conducted every quarter.

The COES-conducted employer survey results are used by the program for evaluation but careful attention is given to anecdotal feedback from several employers who have a long record of hiring mechanical engineering graduates from Louisiana Tech.

In addition to the college-wide assessment plan, the Construction Engineering Technology Advisory Board provides critical assessment data for the Construction Bid Planning projects each year. Advisory Board members sit as judges for the oral presentations of all Construction Bid Planning projects at the COES Senior Design Symposium on the first Friday in May each spring. They are provided with abstracts of the projects approximately one week in advance and they critique the quality of the design project methodology and final prototypes using evaluation form. They also assess the quality of the oral presentation of the project. These evaluation forms are collected and the resulting scores are used to evaluate the achievement of several program outcomes.

The educational objectives reflect the skills we expect our students to demonstrate during the first few years after graduation. Therefore, we have primarily targeted recent alumni and employers for feedback on how well we have met our program objectives. Specifically, we have included results of a focus-group survey of recent graduates, advisory board feedback, and results of an employer survey. However, since we are continually improving our curriculum, these responses tend to be lagging indicators.

Summary of Continuous Improvement Program for CVTE Educational Objectives

CVTE-E1:To prepare graduates to apply engineered construction principles in the construction process, with a focus on the knowledge and skills needed for the heavy-highway, underground utility, and building structural frame construction segments of the industry.

Assessment data sources: Alumni Survey, Employer Survey
Process used to evaluate achievement of the educational objective: The faculty reviews the following data items from the alumni survey and reports the findings to the Advisory Board in the annual meeting.
The employer Survey results are reviewed by the faculty and discussed with the Advisory Board.

CVTE-E2:To prepare graduates for successful careers in the construction field by providing them with the appropriate technical background, strong communication skills, a sense of professional, ethical, and societal responsibilities, and tools for life-long learning.

Assessment data sources: Alumni Survey, Employer Survey
Process used to evaluate achievement of the educational objective: The faculty reviews the following data items from the alumni survey and reports the findings to the Advisory Board in the annual meeting.
The employer Survey results are reviewed by the faculty and discussed with the Advisory Board.

The educational objectives previously listed reflect the skills we expect our students to demonstrate during the first few years after graduation. Therefore, we have primarily targeted recent alumni and employers for feedback on how well we have met our program objectives. Specifically, we have included results of a focus-group survey of recent graduates, advisory board feedback, and results of an employer survey. However, since we are continually improving our curriculum, these responses tend to be lagging indicators.

Evaluation of Program Educational Objectives

The process and measures are evaluated during the academic year, also the Spring Faculty Retreat Meeting is devoted mostly for in-depth review and evaluation of the process and measures are implementation of any necessary modifications.
The standards to measure the responses to the surveys which demonstrate that the CVTE Program Educational Objectives are attained, were set to be"an acceptable target would be a combined SA + A (Strongly Agree and Agree) rate of 80%". If the response fell short of the standards, a committee will be convened to determine the appropriate action needed. The committee plans will be reviewed by the CE Program constituents for approval and implementation.

Assessment of Program Outcomes

The tools used to assure that students in Construction Engineering Technology Program achieve the program outcomes include:

  1. Standard evaluation vehicles of coursework (exams, quizzes, homework, project reports) are evaluated every time the course is offered
  2. Course evaluations given to students at the end of each quarter every time the course is offered
  3. CVTE 492 Course evaluation from students enrolled in Construction Bid Planning Spring Quarter of Each year as a part of Construction Project Bid Planning Course CVTE 492
  4. Exit interviews with graduating seniors. Spring Quarter of Each year as a part of Construction Project Bid Planning Course CVTE 492 are conducted by Practicing Professionals
  5. Practicing Professional Evaluation (PPE) at the Construction Project Bid Planning CVTE 492 final presentation is conducted in the Spring Quarter of Each year part of Construction Project Bid Planning Course CVTE 492. Our Advisory Board evaluates the presentations.
  6. Industrial advisory board meetings with students each year Semi Annually (Fall and Spring Quarter)
  7. Feedback from industrial advisory board members. Semi Annually (Fall and Spring Quarter)
  8. Employer survey conducted annually in conjunction with Career Day

 

Evaluation of Program Outcomes

The Construction Engineering Technology Program has refined and enhanced its Program Outcomes Assessment processes since the last TAC-ABET visit (2002). The Program fully implements the college-wide assessment plan adopted in 2004 and enhances it with additional data sources and processes. Evaluation of assessment data is regularly undertaken by the program faculty with strong consideration given to input from the program's Advisory Board. At present, all Program Outcomes are assessed and evaluated annually, with the processes institutionalized sufficiently that the task is not burdensome. Furthermore, complete faculty buy-in has been achieved through the positive results that have been achieved through these activities.

Program Outcome along with the data sources used to assess the outcome and the process used to evaluate the degree to which the outcome is being achieved are described in the program Self-Study. The faculty reviews the raw data collected from each of the numerated data sources continuously and prepares a summary along with recommended actions to the Advisory Board at the annual Fall and Spring meetings. Implementation strategies are developed at the Spring Faculty Retreat and summaries of actions taken are presented and discussed with the Advisory Board.

The following materials related to Program Outcomes and Assessment will be available for review along with course materials and sample student work:

•Digests of graduating senior exit interviews
•Folders containing sample student work and examinations for each course organized by program outcomes.
•Program Objectives and Outcomes
•Minutes on the Civil and Construction Industrial Advisory Board Meetings

Continuous Improvement of the Program

The Construction Engineering Technology Program Educational Objectives listed previously are achieved through a combination of inputs. The most important of these are the undergraduate course curriculum and student advising, since every student is affected by these two inputs. Other inputs, such as participation in student societies, competitions, research projects, etc., typically involve only a subset of the student body, but they give an overall tone and produce a level of achievement that affects the entire program.

The undergraduate course curriculum is certainly the most significant contributor to achieving the Construction Engineering Technology Program Educational Objectives. Over the past 27 years, the curriculum has been carefully, systematically reviewed four times, with each review resulting in significant revisions. More modest changes, such as the quarters during which specific courses are offered, are made on an annual basis.

The process consists of three main loops. Minor curriculum changes are those which do not require any approval by the University administration. Minor changes are usually based on either input from students or faculty members, or the result of student surveys. When curriculum changes are deemed to be necessary, a program curriculum committee is formed to deal with the proposed changes. At the present time the program does not maintain a permanent curriculum committee. Major changes to the curriculum are usually discussed with the Advisory Board before being submitted to the administration. Obviously, approval through the University administration must be received before major curricular changes can be implemented. Changes in the curriculum may be initiated by any of the assessment sources or by comments or suggestions from the Advisory Board. Most suggestions involve relatively small changes to individual courses and these are often handled within the program. Curriculum changes that involve addition or deletion of courses are more significant and require much more detailed study and involve much of the Program, College and University community. Such changes are implemented occasionally.

Program changes resulting from applying the results of Program Outcomes and Assessment are processed using the same procedures as those used to assure Program Objectives are being attained. Changes are characterized as minor or major changes. Minor changes are those that can be made with relatively little impact on the rest of the program, while major changes are those that require extensive coordination.

Minor changes, such as those resulting from analysis of Course Objective and Outcomes Surveys, are usually processed entirely by the instructor teaching the course with only a summary written report to the files for that course and a report to the faculty. It is then the responsibility of the same faculty member to follow through with an assessment of the impact of the changes the next time the course is taught. Other similar minor changes are processed through discussions in faculty meetings. Frequently, a digest of all minor changes is presented to the Civil Engineering Advisory Board.

Major changes are defined as those which, because of their scope, cannot be implemented without approval or coordination from University officials, or, because their potential impact merits thoughtful consideration by others in the University community and the Civil Engineering Advisory Board. Such major changes are proposed and discussed over an extended period and brought before appropriate stakeholders for full and complete discussion.