Assessment of Economics
a. Who is the person responsible for program assessment, data gathering and analysis in your discipline?
Dr. Arne Kildegaard, through academic year 2006-2007.
b. What are the stated goals of the discipline?
The economics curriculum is designed to ensure that students: i) understand the nature and functioning of the market system; ii) are able to define criteria for assessing efficiency in the provision of goods and services; iii) investigate and assess the operation of economic institutions; iv) are able to evaluate alternative policies intended to enhance economic outcomes; v) develop competence in quantitative methods and computing methods; vi) are able to conceptualize and analyze problems using the tools of economic theory, and communicate the results; vii) are competent in oral and written communication; viii) are adequately prepared for graduate or professional school.
c. How do you assess whether your discipline is achieving its goals?
The first three goals are essential outcomes of introductory courses in Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, and are taught and evaluated accordingly. The 4th goal (evaluating alternative policies) is a fundamental purpose of our intermediate micro and macro theory courses, and is also an essential component to several of our upper division courses. Achievement of the goal is evaluated through testing, discussion, problem sets, and projects. Competence in quantitative and computational methods is addressed through required coursework in calculus, statistics, and econometrics. Evaluation takes place through problem sets, exams, and applied empirical projects.
The 6th goal is taught across our curriculum, and particularly well evaluated through directed research projects (including MAPS, UROPS, directed studies, URS projects, funded research, and senior seminars). A formal presentation of research findings (before an audience of faculty and students) is required for the senior seminar.
Oral and written communications are likewise evaluated across the curriculum. Much upper division coursework involves a research paper, and most such courses also require essay exams. Oral presentations are likewise required in most upper division (and many lower division) courses. Class discussion also provides an opportunity to assess oral communication skills.
Student preparation for graduate school is evaluated through a) maintaining and appropriate curriculum; and b) an intensive mentoring process, whereby students are encouraged to participate in various research and academic enhancement opportunities, including MAPS, UROPS, directed studies, URS projects, funded research, and senior seminars.