2006-2007 (submitted 06/12/07)
The Chemistry Department at Weber State University collected exit interviews from thirteen students last year as part of the assessment for the academic year 2006/2007. In order to better prepare our students for industry, graduate or pre-professional school and education, faculty members within the Chemistry Department have identified and itemized a list of cognitive and technical skills desired of all graduating chemistry majors. These skills are defined as student learning outcomes. We have also identified the individual courses within the curriculum which develop these skills or outcomes.
Exit interviews were initiated Spring semester 2007 and the data collected were compiled and presented (see below). All thirteen of our graduating seniors responded to the exit interview and survey. The data indicate that the students are very pleased with their education at WSU. Most of the ratings were in the Excellent to Very Good range.
During the interview stage of the assessment, student’s comments were mostly positive concerning the program. One of the major concerns for the current group of students reflects those from former assessments. The students are concerned that the aging equipment does not prepare them properly for the new technology they will encounter in the industrial laboratory. The students continue to express the need for better and up-to-date instruments. With a limited budget which does not allow for improving out-of-date equipment and maintaining existing equipment, we will not be able to adequately address improvements in this area for some time.
Students give overall program many Excellent ratings and several Very Good ratings
Problem solving, communication, analyzing and graphing are all rated Excellent/Very good
Old instruments failing or broken
Availability of competent tutors
Chemistry Department Interviewer: Dr. Barry Lloyd
Graduation Exit Interview Responses
Exit Interview Time: 60 minutes or less
Compilation of Comments
1. Problem Solving: Do you feel capable of solving a variety of chemistry related problems?
Yes. After running the gamut of classes, I feel confident in my abilities to solve chemistry related problems.
Yes. I feel very comfortable. I do run into problems every now and then but for the most part I could look in books and solve the answer.
I feel competent solving many problems and I have learned methods to find ways to solve new types of problems.
Yes. Most of the classwork here involved solving chemistry related problems.
Throughout my course work, I feel prepared and confident of my ability in multiple areas of chemistry. The lab work in particular helped to solidify the concepts taught in class.
Yes. The classes I took here provided me with excellent problem solving skills, with numerous opportunities to practice, specifically the analytical chemistry labs.
Yes. That was well demonstrated during my intership at Autoliv.
Yes. I feel like I have worked extensively in the lab. This makes it possible for me to work both theoretical and experimental problems.
2. Laboratory Skills: Has your laboratory experience helped make you a competent experimentalist?
Repetition and practice helped me become better technique wise and Dr. Davidson’s experimental design course helped me on designing my own experiments.
I really have enjoyed the lab experience and feel that I am capable at solving problems and doing experiments in the lab. I feel I’m up for whatever comes my way.
My lab experience has taught me the importance of accuracy and prepared me to perform many types of experiments.
Yes. Labs were required with most classes and a variety of laboratory skills were learned.
(No comment given)
Throughout my many courses I have learned how to use many instruments and techniques efficiently, quantitatively and qualitatively.
Yes. I had a great lab experience here. I didn’t do gen chem or o-chem here, but the upper division labs provided me experience that I feel was valuable in becoming an experimentalist.
Yes. Very much so.
Yes, and familiarity with a wide variety of instrumentation.
I can get around in a lab. I’m not very good at thinking up experiments, but I can carry out experiments.
3. Presentation Skills: Do you feel proficient in communicating scientific information, both written and verbal?
I feel confident presenting orally and the more I write, the better I feel about my abilities as a technical writer.
Through presentations this last year, I feel very confident with both written and verbal communication.
I have had to write many papers and I feel competent in written communication. I think I could have been better prepared in formal verbal communication (like giving presentations).
Yes, although there weren’t a lot of papers required. Lab reports in P-Chem involved writing and communicating scientific information.
I do personally; however, I do not feel that students are given enough opportunities to give presentations.
During P-Chem and handing in written reports, I feel confident in delivering and communicating scientific research I’ve performed and the results of my own experiments.
Yes, but I received some of this education elsewhere. I mostly learned verbal skills at SUU, but I learned how to keep a good notebook here. That has tremendously helped by written communication skills.
Yes, particularly with the great volume of material I have written for P-Chem.
After going to Weber State, I feel capable communicating scientific information both efficiently and concisely. I think my written skills are better than any verbal because I have written any reports, but I have only given on oral presentation.
4. Computer Skills: Has your chemistry education added to your computer usage skills?
I have gained a lot of knowledge about chemistry related computer skills on both hardware and software ends.
I am a CS minor and possibly a major. I learned a little bit about computers but not much.
I have learned to use many new computer programs and my typing skills have improved.
Yes. Use of Excel was very helpful and most of my knowledge of Excel was learned in computer applications class.
No. Most of my computer skills came from working on the computer at home, before I got to college.
I have become more fluent with Microsoft Excel by making multiple tables and graphs.
Yes it has allowed me to practice them. Once again, I learned these skills elsewhere, but I got the opportunity to practice them here.
Yes. I finally took the (???) Exams this semester 395/400 total on first tries.
My computer skills have grown so much. I really know how to make different software do what I want it to. I can look up information, graph information and use different software to solve problems.
5. Closing Question: What single experience stands out or has influenced you most in your chemistry education at Weber?
I had a conversation with Dr. Lippert a little over a year ago about graduate school and it changed my focus from forensics to chemistry.
Struggling with tests. I feel this has made me a better student and person. I don’t test well and therefore it was hard for me.
Inorganic – putting everything (G-chem and P-chem) together.
I have really enjoyed the second half of bio-chemistry and the optional lab. The close one-on-one work with Dr. Johnson has taught me a lot about lab work and experimentation.
Applied analysis lab where we came up with our own methods instead of being told every step to take was very helpful.
(No comment given)
When I decided to become a chemistry major.
During experimental design we were faced with a question (as if we were in the work force) and as a team had to analyze the possible solutions. I worked independently on my own experiments and reported back to the group to compare our results. I learned a lot from this experience.
Dr. Lippert and his unwavering support of me and my education in chemistry. He has provided me the encouragement and opportunity to continue in my education – which has meant a lot to me. Without him and his support, I would be in a completely different place right now.
Dr. Lippert and Dr. Walker were very helpful in my educational experience both academically and personally.
When I was planning to take the Option I major it was recommended that I switch to Option II. This eased up my schedule and gave me more time for P-chem.
Two experiences stand out. First, teaching other students. I gained a real love for chemistry because I was able to use it to help others. I supplementally instructed organic chemistry and tutored general chemistry and I made great friends in the process. Second, working with Dr. Lloyd. Dr. Lloyd has taught me so much. He taught me a lot about chemistry and research but he also taught me a lot about treating others with respect.
6. What has been the most "frustrating" problem in your chemistry education?
I absolutely hated organic chemistry with Dr. Davies. It just never clocked.
Same as above. (Struggling with tests)
Getting labs done by the deadline.
The format and quantity of physical chemistry reports hindered my understanding of the material I was supposed to be learning.
Never meeting with an advisor to know that 33 upper division credits wasn’t me in Option II without taking extra courses, but this was my own fault if it was required it would be very helpful.
The lack of a math background by fellow chemistry majors and therefore the lack of detail on certain problems in chemistry classes – not being able to go very in depth on a lot of things.
Lack of guidance by the chemistry department.
The fact that we are unable to get some equipment due to lack of funds.
My most frustrating problem with my chemistry education has been taking biochemistry. I feel as a student I spent a lot of my time learning material from cell biology in order to understand the lectures. So I felt I was taking two courses in one.
Biochemistry I and P-chem I. I feel I wasn’t taken seriously and that my efforts made no difference in the end. It is incredibly frustrating to try my hardest and work incredibly hard and not have that reflected or reciprocated.
Margaret was great in solving all my frustrations.
Written reports are the most frustrating thing I’ve faced. Besides writing the report, there has been some difficulty finding the time to get some of the first (sic) page reports done.
Physical chemistry. I actually like the class, but it has been frustrating. It is the only chemistry class that I got a ‘B’ in.
Question 1: Ability to apply chemistry knowledge in a professional position
Question 2: Ability to identify, formulate and solve chemical problems
Question 3: Ability to design and conduct experiments
Question 4: Ability to analyze and interpret data
Question 5: Ability to effectively communicate in writing
Question 6: Ability to effectively communicate orally
Question 7: Ability to use common graphing, data-analysis and presentation software
Question 8: Overall, how do you feel about your educational experience at Weber State University?
Question 9: For students continuing their education - ability to compete for graduate or professional school (11 respondents)
Question 10: For teaching certificate majors: Did the curriculum help you gain acceptable laboratory skills for teaching? One respondent answered "Very Good"