Goals & Assessment

Programs

B.S. in Sociology

Concentration in Criminal Justice
Concentration in Social Work

B.S. in Political Science

B.S. in Sociology

Program Goals
Program Goal 1: The Department of Sociology and Political Science will be staffed with a faculty committed to excellence in the areas of: teaching; research; and, service.

Method of Assessment: Each faculty member will submit an annual report to the chairperson of the department discussing their efforts for the previous calendar year in the areas of teaching, research, and service.

The report will address the following indicators.

Teaching: number of courses taught including on-campus courses; on-line courses; and independent studies; enrollment in each course; and, appropriate teaching evaluations.

Research: publications; grants funded or continuing; presentations at international, national, regional, or state professional organizations; manuscripts submitted for publication; grant applications submitted; and, research in progress.

Service: service activities for the department, college, university, and community.

Each individual faculty member’s progress will be discussed with the chair, and an overall summary of the department’s progress will be included in an annual report from the chair to the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Program Goal 2: The Department of Sociology and Political Science will serve the needs of students seeking non-traditional instruction methods by participating in the Regents Online Degree Program (RODP).

Method of Assessment: The chairperson of the department will monitor the number of RODP courses offered each term, the number of sections offered each term, and the enrollment. Results will be included in the department annual report.

Student Learning Outcome1: Majors in sociology will demonstrate knowledge of their discipline at a level above or comparable to the national mean.

Method of Assessment: Majors in sociology with senior classification will take the ETS major field examination in sociology. For purposes of assessment, performance at a level above or comparable to the national mean will be defined as TTU students having a mean score above or equal to the national mean, or a score no lower than 1.644 standard errors below the national mean, the level at which a difference would become statistically significant at the 0.05 level. The major field examination will be administered each fall and spring term.

Student Learning Outcome 2: Majors in sociology will demonstrate critical thinking skills at a level above or comparable to the national mean.

Method of Assessment: Majors in sociology with senior classification will take the ETS major field examination in sociology. For purposes of assessment, performance at a level above or comparable to the national mean will be defined as TTU students having a mean score on Subscore 2 Critical Thinking above or equal to the national mean, or a score no lower than 1.644 standard errors below the national mean, the level at which a difference would become statistically significant at the 0.05 level. The major field examination will be administered each fall and spring term.

Student Learning Outcome 3: Majors in sociology will be capable of effective oral and written communication.

Method of Assessment: Sociology majors will be required to write papers and give oral presentations in various sociology courses. The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) will assess students’ confidence in their abilities to write and speak clearly and effectively at or above the TTU, and our Carnegie Institution peer institutions.

Student Learning Outcome 4: Majors in sociology taking the criminal justice concentration will demonstrate competence in their concentration.

Method of Assessment: Sociology majors with the criminal justice concentration will be expected to answer 75% or more of the questions correctly on a multiple choice exam covering topics in criminal justice. The exam was developed by faculty in the department, and will be administered during the ETS major field exam. Scoring is done by ETS.

Student Learning Outcome 5: Sociology majors taking the social work concentration will be expected to be rated at a level above average by their supervisor when completing their required internship.

Method of Assessment: Supervisors of internships complete an evaluation form for each student. Overall performance is rated on a scale of: Outstanding; Good; Average; Fair; or, Poor. Ninety percent of sociology majors with the social work concentration will be expected to be rated at a level above average by their supervisor when completing their required internship.

Concentration in Social Work

Learning outcome 6 ( addition to learning outcomes for general Sociology)

All social work students will perform at an above-average level during their internships, as indicated by formal evaluations by their supervisors.

Assessment: On the evaluation forms submitted by supervisors last year, using a five-point scale, 28 social work interns received the highest score, and 2 received the next highest.

Concentration in Criminal Justice

Learning outcome 7 (addition to learning outcomes for general Sociology)

Students will demonstrate a satisfactory knowledge of deviance and crime, as indicated by a performance level of at least 75% on a locally developed test to assess knowledge of deviance and crime.

Assessment: Questions selected from leading textbooks in criminal justice (with results tabulated by ETS) were administered to criminal justice concentration students graduating in Fall, 2005. In this initial test the average percentage of correct responses to each question was 79.58, indicating that students with the Criminal Justice concentration have a sound understanding of basic facts and key concepts in the administration of justice.. This supplemental test will be routinely administered at all future sociology seniors concentrating in criminal justice.

Examples of how assessment data have been used to improve the Sociology program:

  1. During each five-year cycle, the sociology program undergoes a year-long process of self-study and assessment, culminating in an external peer review. After her site visit in February 2003, Dr. Mary Lou Wylie, of James Madison University, recommended that the program rely less on adjunct faculty. In the review year, adjunct faculty taught 48 credit hours, and this number was subsequently reduced as follows: to 27 credit hours in 2003-04, 15 in 2004-05, and an estimated 18 in 2005-2006.
  2. Dr. Wylie also recommended that the departmental website contain more information for students. Subsequently, information on student organizations, internships, awards, scholarships, and graduate studies was added to the website.
  3. To address the weakness in theory and mastery of sociological concepts (Learning outcome 1 above), the Department has proposed to the CAS Curriculum Committee that SOC 4720. Sociological Theories be moved to the 3000 level, so that students take it earlier and can use theory in more advanced courses.
  4. To address the weakness in intercultural understanding (Learning outcome 4 above), the Department has increased the number of courses requiring intercultural experiences and has enriched cross-cultural content in SOC 3720 (Rural Sociology), SOC 4080 (Sociology of Appalachia), and SOC 4090 (Cross Cultural Communication and Cultural Diversity). In Fall 2005, faculty members submitted Teaching Enhancement Grant proposals that focus on service learning, with emphasis on learning about cultural diversity.

B. S. in Political Science

Program Goals

Program goal 1
Increase enrollment in the program by 10% over the next five years.

Assessment: Monitor the number of majors. Over the past five years, according to the Tennessee Tech University Office of Institutional Research, our number of majors has grown annually: 43 in Fall 2000; 49 in Fall 2001; 53 in Fall 2002; 56 in Fall 2003; 58 in Fall 2004; and 71 in the Fall 2005.

Program goal 2
Provide an excellent program as judged by external peer review.

Assessment: A peer review is conducted every five years and is monitored for success on all items evaluated. For responses to the latest such review, see below under “examples of how assessment data have been used to improve the political science program.”

Program goal 3
Increase the percentage of majors pursuing internships to at least 20%.

Assessment: Monitor number of internships taken by majors. Since Fall 2000 the percentage of majors taking internships has increased from 5% to 14%.

Learning Outcomes:

Learning outcome 1
Majors in Political Science will understand fundamental issues in American government, as reflected by performance equal to or above the national average on the ETS Major Field Exam.

Assessment: ETS Majors Field Exam and External Peer Review. Our students have been averaging above the national norms on the overall ETS Major Field Exam for the past five years, indicating the general success of the program.

Learning outcome 2
Majors in Political Science will understand fundamental issues in international relations, as reflected by performance equal to or above the national average on the ETS Major Field Exam.

Assessment: ETS Major Field Exam and External Peer Review. Our students have been averaging above the national norms on the overall ETS Major Field Exam for the past five years, indicating the general success of the program.

Learning Outcome 3
Majors in Political Science will learn to think critically, as reflected by responses equal to or above the national average on enrolled student survey items related to critical thinking and on the relevant sections of the ETS Major Field Exam.

Assessment: Responses to the Enrolled Student Survey items related to critical thinking. Our scores of 79.7% on the analytical and critical thinking section of the ETS Major Field Exam and 72.2% on the methodology section suggest we are accomplishing Outcome 3.

Examples of how assessment data have been used to improve the Political Science program

  • To reinforce the upward trend in number of majors (Program goal 1), a faculty member in Political Science has applied for a QEP grant that would enable political science students to visit both local elementary schools and the high school to facilitate the formation of debate clubs.
  • The findings of the 2004-2005 peer review (Program goal 2) were two-fold: that Political Science must have another faculty member and that a revision of the curriculum was needed. Currently we are involved in a search to hire a comparative scholar, and we have already revised the curriculum three times as a result of the peer review. More specifically, we have (1) lowered our math requirement, making the statistics course optional, because the majority of our majors, as pre-law students, need other courses more than they need statistics; (2) increased advanced course offering by raising POLS 2220 (State and Local Government) to the 3000-level; (3) lowered POLS 2210 (American Government and Politics) to the 1000-level to accommodate transfer students; and (4) formally proposed an Introduction to Political Science as a required course, effective this summer, to give new majors an introduction to the subfields of the discipline.
  • In support of Learning outcome 1, we have arranged for Pi Sigma Alpha honor students to provide a tutoring program to help majors learn the basic facts and theories of American government.
Apply Now