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Family and Consumer Sciences|College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Family and Consumer Sciences
Graduate Program Vision Statement

As per Action Item 55 in the Academic Plan every graduate program will develop a vision statement.  These vision statements should explicitly address:
  1. A set of understandable, defensible admissions and graduation standards.
  2. A sequence of well defined benchmarks during the graduate experience that reflect critical skills and depth of learning.
  3. A mentoring structure that facilitates progress toward these benchmarks.
  4. Clear expectations for faculty contributions to graduate education and mechanisms for gauging these contributions in tenure and promotion reviews.
  5. Standards and time limits for the award of state-funded graduate assistantships.
  6. Specific goals for the appropriate mix of state-funded and externally funded assistantships.
  7. Mechanisms for tracking the success of the program’s graduates, especially outcomes 5 years post graduation.
  8. General program productivity measures, such as rates of degree completion per faculty research FTE, publications, awards, presentations, graduate students per research FTE, attrition, time-to-degree and other discipline-specific measures of accomplishment.
One assumption that will be made is that we are in agreement with criteria that have been established by the graduate school regarding both admissions and graduation standards.  With this belief in mind:
a. Admissions standards are acceptable at the graduate school established minimum GPA cut-off of 3.0 and a Verbal/Quantitative combined GRE score of 900.  However, it is realized that students may be admitted in circumstances where one of these two standards has not been achieved.  Further, as students may desire to enter our graduate program prior to attending medical school, a score of 26 or better on the MCAT may be substituted for the student’s Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score.
b. For graduation, the standards established by the Graduate School are acceptable for students seeking either a Plan A thesis or a Plan B non-thesis degree. 
  • A benchmark is a point of reference from which measurements may be made or it serves as a standard by which others may be measured or judged. With this definition in mind, certain benchmarks can be established to determine progress and depth of learning.
  • While ongoing progress will be continually assessed, at the completion of 18 credits of course work in the graduate program, there will be a formal assessment of each student’s progress.  In the semester following completion of 18 credits, assessment will take place as part of each student’s prospectus meeting to help establish specific depth of knowledge.  When applicable, evaluation of performance in meeting expectations related to work required for financial support or other relevant professional criteria will be assessed.  For full-time students, acceptable p rogress through the department’s graduate program is established as successful completion of 18 credits by the end of the first 12 months of graduate study.  Part-time students will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  If the student is found to be deficient, additional course work may be recommended or the student may be dropped from the program.  To establish depth of learning in the students chosen field, students are required to pass all courses taken in their graduate program with a B letter grade or better in departmental courses.
  • Through involvement in the departmental seminar other discipline-specific critical thinking and oral communication skills will be addressed.  As part of the completion of the graduate degree, students will choose one or more of the following:  For plan A students, it is anticipated that thesis sections will generally correspond to those found in a typical manuscript (i.e., Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusions).  Students will have the option and may be encouraged to incorporate a submission ready manuscript into the overall thesis.   For a Plan B, options are 1) a paper, 2) a creative endeavor including a written component, 3) a written documentation of action research or curriculum development related to professional practice (See Appendices for full descriptions of Plan A and Plan B).
  • Faculty will continually evaluate a student’s competence in written and oral communication throughout the degree program.
  • Faculty will assess a student’s growth through informal discussions as well as through the preparation of a Plan A or Plan B proposal and implementation of the approved plan. Using information obtained from the formative written and/or oral communication assessments referred to above, faculty will mentor students in subsequent courses and during students’ work on their degree projects.   Also, more advanced graduate students may facilitate graduate student development through students’ participation in graduate seminars.
  • Expectations of faculty participation in the graduate education will be tied to outcomes that include completion, publication and/or submission to public exhibits.  Graduate course instruction is required of all graduate faculty members.  Measurement of successful graduate instruction will include instructor evaluation, the use of knowledge acquired in the course, and participation on graduate committees.
  • Time limits and expectations associated with state-funded assistantships will be fixed at an average of two years to completion of the graduate degree from the date of enrollment.  While it is anticipated that the average duration of support will be limited to two years, time to completion of the graduate studies can extend beyond the duration of support for one additional year (average for the department).  State-funded assistantships will be awarded based on undergraduate GPA, Graduate Record Examination scores, departmental needs, and individual student financial need.  In order to retain any assistantship, students will be evaluated on academic performance at the end of their first academic year.  Students will be evaluated on whether they meet the benchmarks identified in item 2 as well as satisfactorily performing the functions of their assistantship and progress to the degree. 
  • It would be the eventual goal that one-half of all graduate students in the department would be receiving financial support.
  • It is the desired goal of the department that state monies will eventually support at most one-half of the graduate students receiving assistantships with the remaining students being supported by externally funded assistantships.
  • Tracking graduate students’ success post-graduation will be conducted by the same mechanism used by the department to track undergraduate success.  This will be achieved primarily through follow-up surveys sent to the students at fixed times after graduation.
  • Eventual success of the program will be estimated by publication, presentations and/or exhibits of graduates and degree completion.  It is intended that the eventual goal of the department will be 1.5 student completions annually per faculty FTE.  This would equate to approximately a third of the graduate students enrolled in the program completing annually.  Another goal is to have 1.5 student publications, presentations and/or exhibits per FTE from graduate student work annually.

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