Questions & Answers
Sus Ag Programs at ISU
Student Learning Outcomes
As a result of their training in the GPSA, graduates are expected to:
- be able to frame problems and ask critical questions concerning
- have knowledge of biophysical as well as socioeconomic aspects
of agricultural sustainability,
- acquire expertise in sustainable agriculture that transcends disciplinary
- attain an appreciation of the intellectual history of efforts
to improve agricultural sustainability,
- become professionals who work interdependently and collaboratively,
- address complex agricultural problems by using systems thinking and other approaches
- be able to critique different problem-solving methods and approaches, and
- recognize and display visionary leadership with moral and ethical integrity.
Outcome Assessment Measures
The learning outcomes described above will be attained through:
- selective admission of highly qualified applicants,
- completion of core, cross-disciplinary, and elective course requirements
with a GPA of 3.0 or above,
- student-developed POS committees to oversee POS and GPSA curriculum plan requirements,
- successful completion of Graduate College examination requirements,
- successful defense of thesis and/or dissertation research,
- ongoing consultations among the GPSA executive officers, administrative committees, and
- exit interviews with all graduates, and
- regular surveys of GPSA alumni.
Student Knowledge of Learning Outcomes & Participation in Assessment
An important component of a successful learning outcomes process is students' awareness
of the outcomes. Participation of students in review of outcomes is also crucial to long-term
success. Students in the GPSA independently demonstrated high awareness of learning outcomes
during a student-led curriculum retreat on January 7, 2006.
Students opened the retreat, to
which both faculty and students were invited, with a Powerpoint presentation that featured
learning outcomes (see above). Students referred to the learning outcomes throughout
discussions as a "sieve" for assessing the worth of changes to the curriculum. Students
also referred to the alumni survey data (see below).
Use of learning outcomes to guide
changes in curriculum is a wise use of outcomes assessment processes. Independent use of
outcomes by current students demonstrated successful "transfer of learning" (per Caffarella,
2000) of GPSA outcomes to real-life situations.
2005 Alumni Survey
In February 2005, the GPSA conducted a survey of its graduates to obtain information about their
employment and to assess how well their education prepared them. At the time of the survey,
thirteen individuals had completed either the major or minor program of study (as of March 2006,
twenty students have completed either the major or minor program).
The responses collected in the 2005 survey are summarized in a report, available through the link below.
2005 GPSA Alumni Survey