March 5, 2003 Draft 2.0
Department of Business Assessment Goals 2002-2003
By its very nature, the profession of business is outcomes and goals oriented. Consequently, the Plymouth State University Bachelor of Science degrees, which are designed to prepare students for careers in the arena of business, are designed to provide students with specific skills and knowledge applicable to their future profession. It is possible and desirable to assess whether these programs are achieving their goals.
Overview of Bachelor of Science Degrees in Business
The Department of Business offers five different undergraduate degree programs in business. They are:
1. Bachelor of Science in Accounting
2. Bachelor of Science in Applied Economics
3. Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
4. Bachelor of Science in Management
5. Bachelor of Science in Marketing
Each of these programs can be divided into three components; two of those parts are common to all five programs. These components are 1) General Education Requirements, 2) Business Core Requirements and 3) Upper level course work specified by the major.
General Education Requirements
The first of these components is the University wide mandated General Education program. The Department is a very strong supporter of General Education. Our view is that students in business should have a well-rounded education in which they are exposed to a variety of ideas in other areas outside of business. Additionally General Education provides some of the basic skills on which many elements of the two other business degree components will build. The current General Education requirements in Mathematics, Quantitative and writing skills are especially important. Finally, General Education makes a very strong contribution to making business students both independent thinkers and autodidacts. In the rapidly changing environment of business and technology today, business students should have their General Education skills and perspectives to fall back on when their job ten years from now disappears.
The University specified General Education Program consists of the following courses and perspectives.
I. General Education Requirements
IS101 Introduction to the Academic Community
Mathematics course 150 or higher
Fine and Performing Arts (F)
Quantitative Reasoning (Q)
Science and Lab (S & SL)
Social and Psychological (SP)
Business Core Requirements
Concurrent with their General Education Requirements students in business must also satisfy the Business Core Requirements. The Business Core represents the common body of knowledge that anyone in a business profession should have. Marketing major may not need to know the subject matter of Advanced Accounting, nevertheless should know the fundamental techniques and lexicon of accountants. Similarly the Marketing major should also know the basics of management and economics. The Business Core is designed to provide that common body of knowledge that is useful regardless of the actual area in business that a graduate becomes employed in.
II. Business Core Required Courses
BU2450 Principles of Marketing
BU2480 Business Law
EC2550 Macroeconomics (SP)
BU1150 Financial Accounting
BU2260 Managerial Accounting
BU2290 Organizational Communications (W)
BU3240 Information Technology
BU3210 Financial Management
BU3420 Organizational Behavior
BU3300 Operations Management
BU4220 Administrative Policy
Major Area Specified Courses
The final component of a Business degree is the Major Area Specified Courses. These courses are intended to provide intensive study in the student major field of interest. This will include not only advanced study courses in the major area, but may also include courses outside of business that reinforce the major area. The Major Area Specified Courses are largely unique to an individual major and option area.
Assessment of the Business Bachelor of Science Programs for 2002-2003
The quantitatively measurable or factually documented assessment of degree programs at Plymouth State University is widely viewed as being in its infancy. With few exceptions, it simply hasn’t been done before here.
The Business Department approached the problem from “beginning at the ground up” standpoint. The Department’s Assessment Task Force began by reviewing literature related to assessment including Nichols and Nichols (2000) report on assessment activities at other colleges, including Champlain College in Vermont, and a special issue of the Journal of Management Education (April 2001) devoted to assessment. The Task Force also reviewed again the concept of what do the Bachelor of Science degree programs in Business consist of. This was the topic of the previous section.
Bearing in mind that this is the first attempt at assessing its undergraduates and undergraduate degree programs, the advice by Nichols and Nichols (2000) not to attempt to assess every aspect of a degree program was taken. The General Education component is defined by the University and delivered by the community of academic departments. Its delivery and outcomes is largely out of the hands of the Business Department. Moreover, assessment of the General Education component is to be undertaken as a part of the NEASC self study prior to the accreditation visit in 2003. Therefore, the Business Department will not attempt to assess General Education and will focus it efforts on the components of the degrees delivered in house.
Turning to the Major Area Specified Courses, the Task Force noted the large variation in requirements from major to major and even among the options within a major. The task of assessing this aspect of a Business degree program will be left to the future.
The central focus of assessment for this first attempt will be the Business Core Requirements. For historical reasons, the goals of the Business Core Requirements have been more implicit than explicit. In order to clarify and reach a departmental consensus on these goals for assessment purposes the Assessment Task Force undertook a survey of the business faculty using the Delphi technique. First each faculty member was asked to list what they believed the top 10 or so goals or outcomes of the Business Core Requirements should be using an unstructured, free response format.
The faculty’s varied responses were content analyzed for commonality, and the frequencies of the common goals themselves were tabulated. The list of the goals was resubmitted to the faculty who were asked to narrow down the list to the three to five most important goals. The final list of initial goals for assessment was determined from the faculty’s responses. The outcomes or goals of the Business Core Requirements that the department will focus its assessment efforts on this year are:
1. Business students should be able to demonstrate broad communication skills, including written, oral and formal presentation skills.
2. Students should have a functional knowledge across the business disciplines.
3. Students should be able to demonstrate information management and computer literacy skills.
4. Students should be able to demonstrate skills in quantitative analysis.
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This page was last revised: 10/4/2006