Graduate Program Review
296 Pages
English
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Graduate Program Review

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296 Pages
English

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Virginia Tech University ...... Post-Doc. University of. Minnesota. Minnesota. Torrence, Shannon. Marie. Distr. Biologist ..... TTU ARRA VPR. $1350 ...... and unpaid students and postdoctoral researchers whose research is supported by NSF, NIH, ..... Health and Safety web page http://ehs-server.ehs.ttu.edu/Web/Default.aspx .

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Graduate Program Review 2005-2011 Department of Natural Resources Management Mark Wallace, Interim Chair College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Michael Galyean, Dean November 2011 12/14/2011 PROGRAM REVIEW OUTLINE Department of Natural Resources Management I. Program Overview – A one to two-page summary of department’s vision and goals. II. Graduate Curricula and Degree Programs A. Scope of programs within the department B. Number and types of degrees awarded - Degrees Awarded – Academic Year (chart) - Comparison of Degrees Awarded – Fall Data (Peer info table) - Program Degrees Awarded (table) C. Undergraduate and Graduate semester credit hours - Semester Credit Hours – Academic Year (chart) - SCH compared to Budget - Academic Year (chart) D. Number of majors in the department - Enrollment by Level – Fall Data (chart) - Comparison of Enrollment – Fall Data (Peer info table) - Program Enrollment (table) E. Course offerings and their enrollments over the past six years (enrollment trends by course) - Course Enrollments by Academic Year (table) F. Courses cross listed III. Faculty A. Number, rank and demographics of the faculty (tenured and tenure track), GPTI’s and TA’s - Teaching Resources (chart) - Tenured and Tenure-Track by Rank - Fall Data (chart) - Comparison of Full-time Faculty (Peer info table) B. List of faculty members (graduate and non-graduate) (table) C. Summary of the number of refereed publications and creative activities (table) D. Responsibilities and leadership in professional societies - Professional Leadership (table) - Committee service (table) E. Assess average faculty productivity for Fall semesters only (use discipline appropriate criteria to determine) - Faculty Workload (table) - College SCH/FTE – Fall Data (chart) - Department SCH/FTE – Fall Data (chart) IV. Graduate Students A. Demographics of applicants and enrolled students - Graduate Student Summary by Category – AY (chart) - Graduate Student Summary by Year – AY (chart) - Graduate Applicants by Region – Fall/Summer Data (chart) - Graduate Applicants - Fall Data (table) - Admitted Graduate Students - Fall Data (table) - Enrolled New Graduate Students - Fall Data (table) - Demographics of Enrolled Graduate Students - Fall Data (table) - s of Enrolled Undergraduate Students - Fall Data (table) 12/14/2011 B. Test scores (GRE, GMAT or TOEFL) of enrolled students - Average GRE Scores for Enrolled Graduate Students – Fall Data (chart) C. GPA of new students - New Graduate Students GPA by Level – Fall Data (chart) D. Time to Degree in Years (chart) E. Provide a breakdown of how many enrolled graduate students are RA’s. TA’s or GPTI’s (chart) F. Initial position and place of employment of graduates over the past 6 years (table) G. Type of financial support available for graduate students. H. Number of students who have received national and university fellowships, scholarships and other awards - fellowships awarded (table) I. Percentage (%) of full time students receiving financial support J. Graduate Student Publications and Creative Activities (table) – number of discipline-related refereed papers/publication, juried creative/performance accomplishments, book chapters, books, and external presentations per year per student. (Note: this may overlap with faculty publications.) K. Programs for mentoring and professional preparation of graduate students. L. Department efforts to retain students and graduation rates M. Percentage of Full Time students per semester – Fall data V. Department A. Department operating expenses - Department Operating Cost - Academic Year (chart) - Department Operating Cost as a Fraction of Employees - (table) B. Summary of Proposals (Submitted) - Summary of Number of Proposals Written and Accepted (table) C. External Research expenditures - Summary of Faculty Awards (table) - Research Expenditures (chart) - Peer Institution Info (if available) (table) D. Internal funding - Source of Internal Funds (TTU) - (table) E. Scholarships and endowments F. Departmental resources for research and teaching (i.e. classroom space, lab facilities) - (table) G. HEAF expenditures (table) H. External Program Accreditation – Name of body and date of last program accreditation review including description of body and accreditation specifics. VI. Conclusions – VII. Appendices – should include, but not be limited to, the following: Table of Contents A. Strategic plan B. Curriculum Map C. Graduate Course Offerings (table) and syllabi D. Recruiting Materials E. Graduate Student Handbook F. Graduate Student Association(s) - Description and information G. Completed Theses and Dissertations 2005-2010 H. Graduate Faculty Information 1 I. Program Overview – The Department of Natural Resources Management has long been committed to ranking among the top programs in natural resources in the U.S. Toward this end, the faculty has distinguished itself in both teaching and research, as well as within the professional discipline of individual faculty members. The Department takes great pride in its commitment to teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students. The Department was founded on excellent instruction by Professor John Hunter (retired), who received many teaching awards on and off campus, including the initial Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award presented by the Range Science Education Council (RSEC) and the Society for Range Management (SRM). Three faculty members are charter members of The Teaching Academy (TTU), five (including two former faculty members) have received the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award (TTU), and three (including one former faculty member) have been recognized by Mortar Board and Omicron Delta Kappa as Outstanding Faculty (TTU). Dr. Ron Sosebee received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Range Management in 2010. The Department of Natural Resources Management’s current faculty members have distinguished themselves and honored the Department by recognition they have received in other academic areas. Two have received the Outstanding Research Award from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR). Dr. Warren B. Ballard received the first Chancellor’s Research Award (TTU). The Department has one Horn Professor, the highest recognition of a faculty member by Texas Tech University. The Department has one active endowed professorship (Caesar Kleberg Professor of Wildlife Management) and one Endowed Chair (the Dr. Donald and Sammie Bricker Endowed Chair in Wildlife Management). In addition to on-campus recognition of the Department of Natural Resources Management (NRM) faculty for teaching and research, three of its faculty have been elected “Fellow” by the Society for Range Management, and three have received the Outstanding Achievement Awards from SRM. One faculty member was recognized with the W. R. Chapline Research Award. Dr. Warren B. Ballard was selected as a “Fellow” by the Wildlife Society in 2005. Many of the Department’s faculty have served or are serving as editors, associate editors, and members of editorial boards for professional journals (Table Section III-D). Also, several Natural Resources Management 2 current and former faculty members are serving or have served in leadership roles of their professional societies (Table Section III-D). Other measures of successful and professionally recognized faculty include the number of publications and the number of times individual publications are cited in peer-reviewed professional journals. During 2005-2010, the NRM faculty published 317 peer-reviewed journal articles, or an average of 4.0 publications per year per graduate faculty member (Table Section III-C). During this same period, in addition to peer-reviewed publications, several book chapters written, and numerous presentations made and abstracts presented. One of the mainstays of the undergraduate and graduate degree programs in NRM is the Departmental endowments. The Department has more than $7.5 million in endowment principal that supports undergraduate and graduate scholarships, a professorship, an endowed chair, and assistantships in education and research (Table Section V-E). The Department averaged $395,446 of Special Line Item funds from the State Legislature from FY 05 through FY 10 (Table Section IV-E). Although these funds constituted only 20 – 25% of the Departmental operating budget, they provided a base for other monies attracted by the faculty. Extramural funds brought into the Department to support graduate research during the past 6 years averaged over $905,000/year (Table Section IV-E). The Special Line Item was leveraged at a ratio greater then 2.28 toward extramural funds during FY 05 – FY 10. The Department is in a period of transition with turnover of several senior faculty, significant budget cuts, and changes in future funding strategies and research opportunities. We are necessarily changing from our historical model for supporting staff, faculty research, and graduate support. Needs to generate additional external support and increased graduate student enrollment have created opportunities for increased faculty collaboration on large-scale grants and new directions for Departmental growth. We have changed curricula, added a new undergraduate major, and are initiating a non-thesis masters degree to increase student enrollment. Traditional state research funding is less available so our faculty are now more frequently submitting proposals for competitive federal grants. We are active players in new interdisciplinary regional climate change research. The Department offers B.S. Degrees in Natural Resources Management and, a new degree, Conservation Law Enforcement. Semester credit hours generated by service, majors, and graduate courses within the Department averaged 5,200 for the academic years 2005-2006 Natural Resources Management 3 through 2010-2011 (Table Section II-C). The Department has graduated an average of 22.8 Baccalaureate students,5.89 M.S. students, and 3.6 Ph.D. students per year 2005-2010 (Tables Section II-B). Post- graduation employment of graduate students in career positions exceeds 93%. The Department of Natural Resources Management continues to be a strong program in natural resources with a highly successful employment rate. Its faculty is well recognized on campus and throughout the natural resource professions. The Department continues to strive to provide a sound educational program for undergraduate and graduate students in natural resources, and to prepare its graduates to face challenges and decisions that will confront them after graduation. This report is a collaborative effort of the faculty in the Department of Natural Resources Management. Individual members have provided specific input with respect to their own productivity and that of their students. Our goal has been to compile an accurate record of the accomplishments of the Department during the six year evaluation period (academic years 2005- 2006 through 2010-2011) and meet the requirements established by the Graduate School for this activity. Natural Resources Management 4 II. Graduate Curricula and Degree Programs A. Scope of programs within the department The Department of Natural Resources Management (NRM) offered M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Wildlife Science, Fisheries Science, and Range Science from 2005 until January 2011. In January 2011, in response to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the degrees were merged into one M.S. and one Ph.D. in Wildlife, Aquatic, and Wildlands Science and Management. The Department also participates in the Master of Agriculture at a Distance degree. Additionally, the Department depends upon assistance from the graduate faculty from the Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (“Coop Unit”) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the degree programs by directing graduate students and teaching graduate courses in wildlife and fisheries sciences. Each of the departmental degrees depends heavily upon courses offered outside NRM as well as upon courses offered within the Department. Departments from which many of the departmental graduate students take classes include Animal and Food Sciences, Plant and Soil Science, Agricultural and Applied Economics, Mathematics, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Economics and Geography, and Civil Engineering. All degree programs are tailored to the individual student’s needs and interests. Two subjects must be completed by all doctoral students, either upon matriculation to the doctoral program at Texas Tech or before completing the doctoral degree. These courses are one semester of Teaching Practicum (NRM 7210) and one semester of Experimental Design (NRM 5403 or equivalent). There is no foreign language requirement for the doctoral degree. Declaration of a “minor” for either the M.S. or Ph.D. degree is at the student’s discretion. The Department faculty undertook a comprehensive review of all courses and course content as part of our 2010-2011 curricula restructuring to insure that offerings are current and relevant. As new course offerings are proposed they are reviewed at the Department level and subsequently by the CASNR curriculum committee before being forwarded to the Graduate School and the Office of the Provost for final approval. The sequence of course offerings is patterned to meet levels of demand while insuring that sufficient numbers of students enroll in a class to meet Coordinating Board requirements. Full-time enrollment (9-12 hours per semester) is required of all students by The Graduate School once they begin a graduate degree program. The Department requires enrollment in 9 Semester Credit Hours (SCH) during each long-term semester and 9 SCH Natural Resources Management 5 during the summer sessions, for a minimum total of 27 SCH per calendar year. Doctoral students must complete their degree within four calendar years or (1) the Department faces a penalty for their continued registration or (2) the student must get a waiver from The Graduate School that allows them to exceed 99 SCH without penalty to the Department. Credible field research data in natural resource management typically requires a minimum of two or three collection seasons. In practice this dictates that graduate students in NRM will seldom have adequate time for data collection and analysis to complete their degrees in less than 30 months at the masters’ level and typically 40 months at the doctoral level. Any effort to shorten this timeframe will result in a sacrifice of quality and will likely preclude publication of the research results in respected journals. For many years the Department has prepared a departmental Graduate Student Handbook (Section VII Appendix D) that explains the transition from being an undergraduate to becoming a graduate student and the departmental policies concerning graduate education. The Handbook explains everything from the departmental registration policy to expectations of conducting and publishing research, professional obligations, and care and use of University facilities. Several years ago the Department began conducting an annual evaluation of each graduate student’s performance. Especially with the 99-Hour Rule, it is important that each student make satisfactory progress in his or her graduate degree program in a timely manner. A copy of the evaluation form is included in The Graduate Student Handbook in Section VII Appendix D. All faculty (Table Section III-B) in the Department are expected to be Graduate Faculty (Section VII Appendix E) and are expected to maintain an active research program and to direct graduate students. In addition to the departmental faculty, there are three faculty in the Coop Unit, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service collaborator, and several adjunct faculty are also involved in our graduate degree programs (Table Section III-B). Adjunct faculty serve as members of graduate advisory committees, chair (or co-chair) a student’s graduate advisory committee, and provide facilities and experimental opportunities for students. They regularly participate in NRM graduate degree programs. Other non-faculty and non-adjunct faculty members are appointed to graduate advisory committees on “special, one-time” appointments. These individuals often work with research institutions and funding agencies that support Natural Resources Management 6 specific graduate student research efforts (e.g., U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, etc.). Graduate student numbers dropped from our previous 5-year average of 43 during the middle of this reporting period due to faculty turn-over but have recovered to our current 51 graduate students (which exceeds all previous numbers) and our current 5-year average is 39.8 dents/year (Table Section II-B). The expense associated with conducting natural resource research is usually cost-prohibitive for students who do not work on a funded research project. Until 2011, the Department had opted to accept only graduate students for whom financial support (stipend and research project) could be provided. Exceptions were made for students financed (personal stipend or salary) by their employer (usually university, governmental agency, included several international students) who encouraged them to pursue and advanced degree. In 2011, the Department agreed to begin to accept qualified but unfunded M.S. students. However, a research project must be available on which they can complete their thesis research, or they are not accepted into NRM degree programs. Also in 2011, the Department opted to create a non-thesis (courses only) M.S. degree. We have not yet admitted students into this program, but we expect to begin doing so in 2012. There is a great deal of interest in the graduate degree programs within NRM (Tables Section IV-A records only applicants who completed forms and fees for the Graduate School). The Department has averaged more than 100 inquiries per year since 2005. Inquiries received directly within the Department or referred to the Department by the Graduate School are sent an application packet which includes (1) an application procedure, (2) an application form, and (3) a departmental application checklist (Appendix VII-C). In addition to the information sent to each inquirer, interested students can learn about the application procedure from the departmental website. Due to the departmental policy of accepting only students for whom financial assistance can be provided, a number of students do not follow their initial inquiry with an application. The number of applicants and students admitted to our degree programs are illustrated in Tables Section IV-A. The average GRE score for all graduate students in NRM exceeds 1000 (Tables Section IV-B). Both masters and doctoral students maintain GPA’s greater than 3.0 (majority > 3.5) throughout their graduate degree program while taking basic and applied graduate courses (Tables Section IV-C). During the admissions process, potential graduate students are screened with great care and as a result very few students “drop-out” once accepted into the Department. In this evaluation cycle reasons for students not completing their Natural Resources Management 7 degrees have included academic failure by reason of failing to successfully pass a comprehensive examination; unwillingness to meet expected work ethic standards; and personal reasons involving family obligations. The Department currently funds the stipends of 25-35% of the graduate research assistantships from the Special Line Item appropriations and NRM endowments. For the past several years, the Department has had between four and six Teaching Assistantships paid from the Departmental Teaching budget and one endowed Caesar Kleberg Fellow (for a wildlife science student). We currently have four self-funded M.S. thesis students in 2011. Extramural and University funds obtained by individual faculty members fund the other 65-75% of graduate research assistantships. There are a few graduate scholarships available within the Department (provided by specific endowments, Table Section IV-F) but not enough to fully support a graduate student. However, the graduate scholarships are an area of endowments that the Department is attempting to build. The long-term goal is to have sufficient endowment principal to provide scholarships for all the Departmental graduate students and at least one endowed research assistantship/faculty member. Graduate education within the Department of Natural Resources Management has been enhanced during the past several years by the Graduate Tuition Rebate. The Graduate Tuition Rebate is derived from the difference in tuition fees charged to graduate and undergraduate students. A substantial portion of the tuition fee difference was originally returned to the academic unit in which it was generated. Graduate Tuition Rebate funds have partially defrayed the cost of equipping and establishing a state-of-the-art Geospatial Technology Lab, assisted with new faculty graduate research programs, and purchased and updated analytical laboratory and field sampling equipment. The Graduate Tuition Rebate funds returned to NRM have greatly benefited the graduate degree programs in range, wildlife, and fisheries sciences and our new Wildlife, Aquatic, and Wildlands Science and Management programs. Since 2005 the Department has awarded a total of 52 graduate degrees, including 20 Ph.D. and 32 M.S. (Table Section II-B below). Table Section IV-F lists the students who have completed a graduate degree in NRM since 2005 and their current employment. Thesis and dissertation titles since 2005 are listed in Section VII Appendix F. Natural Resources Management