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Department of Plant Pathology

Department of Plant Pathology
Kansas State University
1712 Claflin Road
4024 Throckmorton PSC
Manhattan, KS 66506

Ph: +1-785-532-6176
Fx: +1-785-532-5692

Student Learning Outcomes for the M.S. Program

Technical Competence

Students are expected to recognize a number of plant diseases and pathogens by sight; have direct experience in plant disease research at the organism, population or molecular levels; demonstrate experimental skills and ability to use scientific equipment in applied or basic research in plant pathology.

Assessment Strategy
  • Courses required for plant pathology M.S. students
  • Exit interviews by department head
  • Former student surveys
  • Thesis defense seminar and exam
  • Thesis research in the laboratory, greenhouse, or field
Problem Solving Abilities

Students will demonstrate ability to follow instructions; plan and execute experiments; collect information in an organized and timely manner; and analyze data.

Assessment Strategy
  • Thesis research in the laboratory, greenhouse, or field
  • Various courses in program of study
Ethical Qualities

Students will be expected to have knowledge of ethical issues in academia and industry involving plant pathology; be aware of safety and health issues; demonstrate ethical practices by acting responsibly in their communities.

Assessment Strategy
  • Assessment by major professor and research committee
  • New student orientation by department head
  • Student seminars and communications courses are also an excellent avenue for addressing ethical issues (such as plagiarism)
Communication Skills

Students will be expected to communicate with advisors and colleagues orally and in writing; present research results through appropriate media (posters, oral presentations, research papers etc.); write and defend thesis.

Assessment Strategy
  • Former student surveys
  • Presentations and discussions in the classroom and lab
  • Sample lectures
  • Student seminars and Professional Communications courses (PP 870 and PP871)
  • Term papers and grant proposals in courses
  • Thesis defense seminar
  • Thesis preparation
Life-Long Learning

Students will demonstrate ability to acquire new knowledge by searching and reading the literature, apply it to their research work, and continue learning through their career and lifetimes.

Assessment Strategy
  • Coursework assignments
  • Journal clubs
  • Student seminars and communications course (PP 870 and PP871)
  • Thesis writing
Educational Breadth

Students will show evidence that with their expertise and skills of plant pathology they can support research and development, production, and/or extension in industrial, governmental, or academic settings.

Assessment Strategy
  • Courses in program of study
  • Exit interviews by department head
  • Former student surveys
  • Participating in research or extension activities under guidance
Inclusion

Students will demonstrate that they can work effectively in a team consisting of supervisors, team members, and/or clients with diverse background, ethnicity, skills, and interests.

Assessment Strategy
  • Assessment by major professor of interaction between student and others in the laboratory and department
  • Courses outside plant pathology

Student Learning Outcomes for the Ph.D. Program

Technical Competence

Students are expected to recognize a number of plant diseases and pathogens by sight; have a broad appreciation for how diseases develop at the organism, population and molecular levels; demonstrate excellent experimental skills and ability to use scientific equipment in applied or basic research in plant pathology.

Assessment Strategy
  • Courses required for plant pathology Ph.D. students
  • Dissertation defense seminar and exam
  • Dissertation research in the laboratory, greenhouse, or field
  • Exit interviews by department head
  • Former student surveys
  • Preliminary exam
Problem Solving Abilities

Students will demonstrate ability to identify original and important problems in plant pathology; formulate scientific hypotheses; choose appropriate approaches; design and execute experiments, interpret results; and critically evaluate their own findings and those of others; demonstrate through their work their contributions to extension or theoretical concepts in the field of plant pathology; demonstrate originality and independent thinking.

Assessment Strategy
  • Dissertation research in the laboratory, greenhouse, or field
  • Preliminary exam
  • Various courses in program of study
Ethical Qualities

Students will be expected to have knowledge of ethical issues in academic and industry involving plant pathology; be aware of relevant safety and health issues; demonstrate ethical practices by acting responsibly in their communities and conducting research according to sound international standards.

Assessment Strategy
  • Assessment by major professor and research committee
  • New student orientation by department head
  • Student seminars and professional communications course are also an excellent avenue for addressing ethical issues (such as plagiarism)
Communication Skills

Students will be expected to communicate effectively. They will be able to present research ideas and results with colleagues through appropriate media (posters, oral presentations, research papers etc.); write and defend dissertation; write and publish research manuscripts; and demonstrate basic teaching skills in a classroom setting.

Assessment Strategy
  • Dissertation defense seminar
  • Dissertation preparation
  • Former student surveys
  • Presentations and discussions in the classroom and lab
  • Sample lectures
  • Student seminars and professional communications course (PP 870 and PP 871)
  • Term papers and grant proposals in courses
Life-Long Learning

Students will demonstrate ability to acquire new knowledge by searching and reading the literature critically, apply it to their research work, and continue learning through their career and lifetimes.

Assessment Strategy
  • Coursework assignments
  • Dissertation writing
  • Journal clubs
  • Preliminary exam
  • Student seminars and professional communications course (PP 870 and PP 871)
Educational Breadth

Students will show evidence that they can apply their knowledge of plant pathology and leadership skills in industrial, governmental, or academic settings.

Assessment Strategy
  • Courses in program of study
  • Exit interviews by department head
  • Former student surveys
  • Participating in research or extension activities under guidance
Inclusion

Students will demonstrate that they can work effectively in a team consisting of supervisors, team members, and/or clients with diverse background, ethnicity, skills, and interests.

Assessment Strategy
  • Committee member from outside the department
  • Preliminary exam
  • Required courses outside plant pathology

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Kansas State University
Department of Plant Pathology
M.S. and Ph.D. Programs
Summary Since 2004

Measures have been developed to assess all Student Learning Outcomes, but with special emphasis on the first three areas (Technical Competence, Problem Solving Abilities, and Communication Skills). The assessment methods included questionnaires for current graduate students, former graduate students, and Supervisory Committee Members of recently-graduated students.

Each questionnaire has 25 questions and covers aspects of all Student Learning Outcomes (Technical Competence, Problem Solving Abilities, Ethical Qualities, Communication Skills, Life-long Learning, Educational Breadth, and Inclusion). Additionally, the GPAs of all graduate students are being tracked to note any important trends. Data from an audience questionnaire for student seminars are also being collected.