UB - University at Buffalo, The State University of New York Chemical and Biological Engineering

Process for Reviewing Achievement of Program Educational Objectives

Assessment and evaluation of the attainment of our PEO are represented by Loop II of our continuous improvement process. The discussion that immediately follows pertains to this loop.

Input to attainment of PEO

We rely upon many of the same vehicles for constituency input as described above with respect to the appropriateness of our PEO to assess the extent to which graduates attain the PEO. We list our constituencies and indicate how they contribute to our procedure for evaluating achievement of our PEO.

Current students. PEO describe career and professional accomplishments that we expect our graduates to attain. Given that current students have not begun their professional careers, it is not appropriate to assess the extent to which they have achieved the PEO.

Employers. The employer survey presents an opportunity for respondents to rate both the appropriateness of our PEO and the extent to which UB CE graduates achieve the PEO. This activity represents our formal means for collecting attainment data from employers. Although this process generates useful information, we have found that formally surveying employers can be problematic. Formal surveys require employers to disclose to us - implicitly or explicitly - information regarding the performance of our graduates in their employ, and to do this “on the record”. Many employers are not comfortable with providing such information. As a result, we also consider feedback garnered from employers through the informal vehicles we use to interact with them described above. Indeed, rather useful information has been generated from such interactions.

Alumni. Akin to the employer survey, the alumni survey presents an opportunity for respondents to rate both the appropriateness of our PEO and the extent to which they have attained the PEO, and this represents our formal means for collecting attainment data from alumni. We generally find alumni to be frank and open about their successes and shortcomings, and, as such, the survey format represents a valuable means to learn from our alumni. In addition to data obtained from the formal survey, we also consider information gathered through informal alumni interactions.

Graduate education institutions. Graduate thesis advisors can be easily identified and questioned regarding the success of our graduates in performing their research function. Accordingly we question advisors, usually informally, about this matter.

Schedule of activities for collection and review of constituency feedback regarding PEO appropriateness

The PEO are formally reviewed by the CBE faculty every two years (2010, 2012, etc.). As described above, we solicit feedback from our constituents via various formal and informal mechanisms. Below we outline formal activities that are scheduled to acquire information from our constituents

Current students. We do not solicit the opinion of current students regarding the appropriateness or attainment of the PEO.

Employers. We use the employer survey described above to collect information from employers. Specifically, we solicit information from the following groups on a regular basis

  • Co-op supervisors: Each summer 5-10 CE students participate in our co-op program. Students work at an industrial site and are supervised by a member of the company. These supervisors typically have several years of experience in the chemical engineering profession. We contact each of them and invite them to complete the survey. These individuals are first contacted via phone, and if they are agreeable to completing the survey, an email is sent with the survey site.
  • Recruiters: Our Career Services Office tracks recruiters that visit campus (e.g. a Career Fair Luncheon held semiannually) and otherwise interact with our students. We obtain contact information for recruiters that interact with our students each year and phone them to invite them to complete our survey.
  • Supervisors of alumni: Via our alumni survey we request contact information for an alumnus’ direct supervisor. Upon receiving such information we invite the supervisor to complete our employer survey.
  • Focus groups: We convene ad hoc focus groups (nominally every three years) to consider educational and other issues, with the appropriateness of our PEO being one of the topics under consideration.

Alumni. We use the alumni survey described above to collect information from alumni. Every two years, graduates three and six years removed from our B.S. program are contacted. By adopting this approach we solicit feedback from each graduate at least once within six years following graduation.

Graduate education institutions. We connect with this group through informal means only.

Assessment and evaluation of PEO attainment

The information collected from this process serves as the primary input for assessment and evaluation of the attainment of our Program Educational Objectives.