Assessment Plan and Assessment ReportBachelor of Science in Civil EngineeringMontana State University2016 - 2017 Academic YearDepartment: Civil EngineeringDepartment Head: Jerry StephensAssessment Coordinators: Joel Cahoon and Jerry StephensDate: Fall 2017, Reporting Period Academic Year 2016 - 2017Programs: BS Civil Engineering, BS Civil Engineering - Bioresources OptionBackgroundIn Summer 2017, the department decided to combine the Assessment Plan document and theannual Assessment of Objectives and Outcomes into one document – this document is our firstattempt at this combination. This approach allows a more seamless reporting of the annualassessment process, establishes that the Assessment Plan, itself, is a fluid document allowingeasy refinements through time, and will streamline the compilation of multiple year activitieswhen preparing ABET reports.Civil Engineering’s annual performance assessments are prepared in the context of the programAssessment Plan (updated annually) and the Assessment Report (prepared annually) by the CEDepartment. The Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering program at Montana State Universityhas approximately 460 undergraduate students, and is accredited by the Accreditation Board forEngineering and Technology (ABET ). ABET accreditation is cyclic, and the CivilEngineering program was most recently accredited in 2015 for a 6-year duration (the next reviewis scheduled for 2021). In the most recent ABET review, the only concern related to the wayour bioresources option was referred to on our website, references that have been adjusted forclarity. The final statement of ABET ’s accreditation action for the Civil Engineering programwas received in August 2016, and no concerns were expressed.Assessment PlanMission - Foremost, we will provide undergraduate education founded on a rigorous treatment ofengineering fundamentals coupled with modern engineering tools. We see competency inmathematics, physical science, and engineering mechanics as crucial to our mission. We willprovide graduate education opportunities in a majority of traditional civil engineering areas. Thedepartment will maintain sufficient breadth to provide post-baccalaureate education focused onprofessional practice. The department will provide graduate opportunities in a subset of focusareas coupled to vibrant research programs with sound external funding.
Vision - Montana State University's Department of Civil Engineering anticipates that theengineering and construction community will evolve quickly with several very fundamentalprecepts for success. Among these is the premise that the engineers and constructors of the futurewill continue to rely on fundamental engineering science and contemporary computational toolsto guide their choices. We therefore choose to focus on fundamental engineering basics and theapplication of modern engineering tools. Our civil and environmental engineering programs willbe acknowledged for their strong emphasis and rigor in engineering science, design, andapplications. Our construction programs will be acknowledged for their emphasis on engineeringand management skills and the application of those skills to the construction industry. Theemphasis of these programs will continue to be preparation of students for professional practicein the engineering and construction industries.Program Educational ObjectivesThe Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering is a traditionally structured program thatprovides graduates with a strong background in math, basic sciences and engineeringmechanics, and prepares graduates to become registered Professional Engineers (PE’s) capableof practicing civil engineering in the areas of environmental, geotechnical, structural,transportation or water resources engineering. The background of graduates who select thebioresources option (a pathway to the same diploma) is focused on soil, water resources andenvironmental concerns. The educational objectives of the Civil Engineering Bachelor ofScience program describe what graduates can expect to accomplish during the first years aftergraduation.The contemporary civil engineering baccalaureate educational program objectives were adoptedin 2003. Program constituents reconsidered these objectives in 2006 and re-adopted themwithout revision at that time. Further assessment activities in 2011 and 2014 resulted inmodifications to the program educational objectives, and these modifications are reflected in thecurrent objectives as stated herein.All graduates can expect to be able to:1. Enter the profession of Civil Engineering and advance in the profession to becomeregistered professional engineers and leaders in the field of Civil Engineering.2. Work on multi-disciplinary teams and effectively communicate with Civil Engineers ofvarious sub-disciplines, architects, contractors, the public and public agents, scientists andothers to design and construct Civil Engineering projects.3. Begin to develop expertise in one of the sub-disciplines of Civil Engineering and engagein the life-long learning necessary to advance in the Civil Engineering profession.4. Contribute to society and the Civil Engineering profession through involvement inprofessional related and/or other service activity.5. Conduct their affairs in a highly ethical manner holding paramount the safety, health andwelfare of the public and striving to comply with the principles of sustainabledevelopment.Some graduates can expect to be able to:6. Earn advanced degrees in Civil Engineering or other fields.
Courses in the first two years of the program develop a student's mathematical skills andunderstanding of the physical principles that underlie the practice of civil engineering.Engineering science courses in the second, third, and fourth years develop the student's ability toapply mathematics and basic scientific principles to the solution of practical engineeringproblems. The third-year student develops a broad perspective of the field and establishes thefoundation for professional practice and further study. The student completes at least one coursein each subarea of civil engineering by the end of this year. Most of these courses arecombinations of engineering science and design experiences. The fourth year includes a capstoneprofessional practice and design experience, elective courses in a subarea (or subareas) of civilengineering--most of which are combinations of engineering science and design experiences-and elective courses that help the student develop an appreciation for the role of the professionalengineer in society. Contemporary engineering aids are introduced in the first year and used inassignments throughout the rest of the program. Courses and assignments that develop oral andwritten communication skills are distributed throughout the curriculum and are components ofthe capstone professional practice and design experience in the fourth year.Bio-Resources is an option within Civil Engineering - the degree and diploma are the same withor without the option and as such are assessed as one program. The curriculum of this option isidentical to the standard Civil Engineering curriculum except for two required courses and thecourses available for professional electives. The Bio-Resources option students are not requiredto take transportation engineering (ECIV 350) or the second course in structural engineering(ECIV 315). Instead, the Bio-Resources students take a second course in hydrology (EENV 432)and a course in natural water treatment systems (EENV 441). The professional electives the BioResources students chose from allow them to build on the basic Civil Engineering curriculumwith courses that focus on soil, water, and environmental concerns.During the senior-year, our students are required to take the Fundamentals of Engineering examadministered by the Montana Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors as the firststep toward professional registration. EGEN 488 (Engineering Program Assessment), a zerocredit course, is used to enforce this curriculum requirement. This examination is administeredby the National Council of Engineering Examining Boards and is accepted nationwide throughreciprocity with the Montana Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.Consistency of the Program Educational Objectives with the Mission of the InstitutionIn this context, the Institution is perceived to be the College of Engineering. The mission of theCollege of Engineering maps to the Civil Engineering Department's educational objectives asdemonstrated in Table 1. It is no surprise that the college vision and mission statements do notmap to CE department educational objectives with a higher correlation than shown in the tableabove. The College has a mandate to achieve at a very high level in all three of the traditionalland-grant charges: teaching, research and service. The College serves a much broaderconstituency than does the department. The department does indeed support vigorous researchand outreach components, but these tend to not be the focus of our educational objectives that areprimarily tailored to our undergraduate programs.
M (d) empowering studentsto be tomorrow's leaders2M (c) developing and sharingtechnical expertiseAll Graduates:1. enter the profession and advance to becomeregistered professional engineers 2. work on multi-disciplinary teams 3. develop expertise in one of the sub-disciplines engage in the life-long learning 4. contribute to society and the profession 5. conduct affairs in a highly ethical manner safety, health and welfare of the public principles of sustainable development.M (b) integrating learning anddiscoveryKey:3 highly related2 moderately related1 somewhat relatedM (a) fostering lifelong learningTable 1. Map of COE mission to MSU CE educational objectives.22131211212Process for Assessing CE Program Educational ObjectivesEach August prior to the start of the new academic year, the department holds a one-day retreat.One of the agenda items at the retreat is the review of assessment data and the evaluation ofprogram outcomes and objectives. At these retreats, the department head and/or programcoordinator distributes recent and historical assessment data and a comparison of assessmentresults with metric goals. Annually the departmental External Advisory Committee evaluates theextent to which they believe MSU Civil Engineering graduates meet the program objectives on ascale of 0 (not at all) to 10 (completely), and the extent to which they believe each of them issuitable, similarly scaled from 0 (not at all suitable) to 10 (completely suitable).If assessment results fall below metric goals, the faculty are responsible for developing astrategy or strategies for improving these levels of achievement. A drop below metric goallevels for one survey will not necessarily require action. However, several occurrences of scoresbelow metric goal levels will trigger corrective action. If all scores exceed metric goallevels, the faculty may use assessment data to identify weaker areas of student performanceand choose to develop strategies for improvement. The faculty strive to continually improve theprogram. While the whole faculty participates in strategy development, implementation of thesestrategies is assigned to the curriculum committee, the program coordinator, the department heador department staff as appropriate for implementation.Note that the program educational objectives assessment process outlined herein is adaptable.As the education and engineering field evolve, our assessment procedure should be just as fluid.In the current Assessment Plan, the department head and/or program coordinator presentsassessment data at the annual retreat, and prepares the annual Assessment Report thereafter,including proposed activities for continuous improvement for the next year.
Program OutcomesProgram outcomes are more focused statements that describe what students are expected to knowand can do at the time of graduation. These relate to the skills, knowledge, and behaviors thatstudents acquire in their matriculation through the program. Assessment under this criterion isone or more processes that identify, collect, and prepare data to evaluate the achievement ofprogram outcomes. Evaluation under this criterion is one or more processes for interpreting thedata and evidence accumulated through assessment practices. Evaluation determines the extentto which program outcomes are being achieved, and results in decisions and actions to improvethe program.The CE baccalaureate program Outcomes were approved by the CE faculty in August of 2006.At that time, the department adopted ABET Criterion 3 Outcomes (a-k) listed sequentially asOutcomes (1-11) below, and four additional outcomes, based on the ASCE Body of Knowledge,which are listed as Outcomes (12-15) below:To satisfy the academic prerequisites for the professional practice of civil engineering, MSUcivil engineering graduates will be able to:1. apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering2. design and conduct experiments and analyze and interpret experimental data3. design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraintssuch as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety,manufacturability, and sustainability4. function as a member of a multidisciplinary team5. identify, formulate and solve engineering problems6. explain professional and ethical responsibility7. compose and present effective written, verbal and graphical communications8. draw upon a broad education to explain the impact of engineering solutions in a global,economic, environmental and societal context9. explain the need for, and demonstrate the capacity for, life-long learning10. explain contemporary issues as they relate to the solution of engineering practice11. apply the techniques, skills and modern tools necessary for engineering practice12. [MS Programs Only] synthesize/evaluate knowledge in specialized areas related to CE13. explain the elements of project management, construction and asset management14. explain the fundamentals of business, public policy and administration15. explain the role of the leader, leadership principle, and attitudes conducive to effectiveprofessional practice of civil engineering.These Outcomes are reviewed with the faculty every year, although they have not changed sincetheir initial adoption. These Outcomes are mapped on our Program Educational Objectives inTable 2.
3. design a system, component 4. multi-disciplinary teams 5. solve engineering problems 6. professional and ethical responsibility.7. communicate effectively.8. impact global and societal 9. life-long learning.10. contemporary issues.11. modern engineering tools 12. knowledge in specialized area 13. project management, construction 14. business, public policy, admin 15. leadership principles All Graduates:1. enter the profession and advance tobecome registered professionalengineers 2. work on multi-disciplinary teams 3. develop expertise in one of the subdisciplines engage in the life-longlearning 4. contribute to society and the profession 5. conduct affairs in a highly ethicalmanner safety, health and welfare ofthe public principles of sustainabledevelopment.2. experiments interpret data Key:3 highly related2 moderately related1 somewhat related1. math, science, and engineering Table 2 Map of Civil Engineering objectives and 2221112223222312122212333232211221Processes for Assessing CE Program OutcomesThe following are the primary instruments used to assess the extent to which student outcomesare met:Fundamentals of Engineering Exam All CE students are required to take (not pass) the FE exam to graduate. The assessment process documents program performance in each topic area of the CivilEngineering discipline specific exam. Student performance in each topic area is compared to metric goals. Our goal is toexceed the national pass rate for civil engineering students taking the civil exam and forthe MSU student performance to exceed 96% of the national performance in each subjectarea of the exam. Three consecutive cycles below the national pass rate overall, or threeconsecutive cycles of less than the national pass rate on a per-topic basis, identifyconcerns requiring discussion, comment, and appropriate action by the department.Review of Student Work Representative student work from selected classes is collected. Faculty representativesand the External Advisory Board review this work and assess student performancerelative to program outcomes.
Results are documented and summarized in the Annual Assessment Report.Student Interviews Students exit interviews are a tool that the department head, as discretion warrants, maychoose to use. This usually occurs only as a secondary investigation of a concern that hasemerged during routine operations. When applicable, results are documented, sharedwith faculty, and summarized in the Annual Assessment Report.Departmental External Advisory Board The Department’s External Advisory Board provides heuristic assessment of students’achievement of program outcomes. Further, Board members independently complete anevaluation of the extent to which they believe MSU Civil Engineering graduates meetProgram Outcomes on a scale of 1-very poor to 6-excellent. The goal for this evaluationis that 80 percent of the responses are 4-good or better. The EAB provides input concerning department commendations and recommendationsfor improvement. The EAB evaluates student performance relative to each program outcome. Results are documented and summarized in the Annual Report.CE Faculty/Curriculum Committee Due to the high degree of interest in student success and the high degree of interactionbetween MSU CE faculty and program constituents, the CE faculty is well-informedabout constituent issues/concerns with CE programs. The CE faculty also are chargedwith keeping current with the state-of-the-practice in their technical sub-disciplines.Therefore, CE faculty input is invaluable in the continuous quality improvement effortsof the department. The department Curriculum Committee includes a representative from each of the subdisciplines of civil engineering and construction engineering technology, the seniorcapstone class instructors, and the program coordinators. The department head anddepartment academic advisor are ex-officio members of the committee.PE Exam New in 2017, the pass/fail and topic specific results of the PE (Professional Engineer)exam were made available to the department. Results are available for all examinees thatearned a CE degree from MSU, and then attempted the PE exam during the academicyear. This is a very attractive assessment instrument, but it should be noted that theexaminees in 2016-2017 graduated at least 4 years prior, and perhaps much before that.
Program Educational Objectives Assessment – Academic Year 2016 - 2017As stated above, program objectives are evaluated each year by the department’s ExternalAdvisory Board and its faculty. The External Advisory Board, composed of representativesfrom the engineering consulting and construction industries, are asked as part of their annualmeeting to assess a) the extent to which they believe MSU Civil Engineering graduates meet theProgram Objectives (on a scale of 0 to 10), b) the extent to which they believe the Objectives aresuitable for the program (again on a scale of 0 to 10), and c) if the Objectives need to be revised.On the quantitative assessment, the metric goal for this evaluation is an average score of 7 foreach objective. The Civil Engineering faculty review the program objectives at the Augustretreat, and with due consideration of any recommendations from the External Advisory Board,revise them as appropriate.The numerical results of the External Advisory Board review of the Civil Engineering ProgramEducational Objectives over the three-year duration ending in the 2016-2017 academic year arepresented in Table 3. The average External Advisory Board assessments rendered in spring of2017 all exceeded a score of 7. All the program educational objectives continued to be judged assuitable, but a lower level of attainment was assessed for the objectives related tomultidisciplinary team work (7.6 out of 10). At the CE Department retreat in August 2017, thefaculty reviewed the Program Educational Objectives and the External Advisory Boardassessment of them. The Program Educational Objectives were re-affirmed by the faculty withno changes.Table 3. Results of the External Advisory Board review of the Civil Engineering ProgramObjectives during the most recent three years.1. Enter the profession of Civil Engineering and advance in the profession to becomeregistered professional engineers and leaders in the field of Civil Engineering.2. Work on multi-disciplinary teams and effectively communicate with CivilEngineers of various sub-disciplines, architects, contractors, the public and publicagents, scientists and others to design and construct Civil Engineering projects.3. Begin to develop expertise in one of the sub-disciplines of Civil Engineering andengage in the life-long learning necessary to advance in the Civil Engineeringprofession.4. Contribute to society and the Civil Engineering profession through involvement inprofessional related and/or other service activity.5. Conduct their affairs in a highly ethical manner holding paramount the safety,health and welfare of the public and striving to comply with the principles ofsustainable .188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.99.710.09.39.08.7
Program Outcomes Assessment – Academic Year 2016 - 2017As summarized above, program Outcomes each year are assessed using the followinginstruments:1. Fundamentals of Engineering Exam2. Review of Student Work3. Student Interviews (ad hoc)4. Department External Advisory Board5. CE Faculty/Curriculum Committee6. PE ExamAssessment data and analysis from each of these instruments is presented below. Thisassessment data is presented to the faculty at the Department’s annual retreat in August eachyear, at which time it is thoroughly discussed and action items established for the followingacademic year.1. Fundamentals of Engineering ExamPass rates for students from the MSU Civil Engineering Department on the FE Exam over thepast several years are presented in Figure 1. Pass rates for MSU CE students consistently exceedthe national average pass rate. Topic area results are presented in Table 4. Overall and by topicareas CE students almost without exception performed better on the exam compared to thenational average. Three consecutive cycles below the national pass rate overall, or threeconsecutive cycles of less than the national pass rate on a per-topic basis, trigger action.Looking more closely at student performance on the overall exam (see Figure 1), the crosshatched areas of the bars for June 2016 and June 2017 represent an issue that has resulted fromthe maturity of the Gazi-MSU Dual Degree Program. The cross-hatched bars in this figureindicate the change in aggregate student performance when the Gazi cohort is removed fromthose two test cycles. Each June, a sizable portion of the graduating class is made up of Turkishstudents that alternate years between Gazi University (Freshman and Junior) in Ankara, Turkeyand MSU (Sophomore and Senior). These students generally perform poorly on the FE exam.This level of performance is attributable not only to the language challenge they confront, butalso to the absence of a strong incentive for them to do well on the exam. The Turkish studentsknow the exam is a gateway to professional licensure in the U.S., but has less pertinence to theirengineering career in Turkey. The department is working on ways to resolve this issue.Ratio of MSU CE Pass to National Pass on FE Exam1.601.401.201.000.800.600.400.200.00Figure 1. Overall pass rate results of the FE Exam
Table 4. Topic specific results for the FE sStaticsDynamicsStrengthMaterials PropFluid MechanicsSurveyingHydraul/HydrologSoil MechanicsEnvironmentalTransportationStruct AnalysisStruct DesignConst MgmtChemistryElect/MagThermodynamicsMaterialsOct April2009 2010Oct April2010 2011Oct April2011 2012Oct April2012 ared to National elative to student performance on a per topic basis, no topic area scores were below the actiontrigger of 96% of the national comparator in the 2016-2017 academic year,2. Review of Student WorkThe Civil Engineering program assessment plan calls for review of a portfolio of student workby the CE Department Curriculum Committee and by members of the CE Department ExternalAdvisory Board. Course materials and student work associated with the following classes wereprovided to the Board this assessment cycle:Posted on secure EAB websiteEGEN 202 - DynamicsECIV 401 - Professional Practice and EthicsECIV 416 - Timber DesignThe Board was positively impressed with the content and organization of these classes, thenature of the attendant assignments/projects/exams, and the expectations on student performance(as evidenced by the way they were graded).Additionally, the External Advisory Board heard presentations from students documenting theirexperiences and products in the ECIV 499 Senior Design II (Capstone) and ECIV 492 ASCCompetition Prep courses. The students were complemented on these activities and the qualityof their presentations on them.
3. Student Interviews (ad hoc)In 2016 – 2017, student interviews were conducted by the External Advisory Board at theirannual meeting in February. The External Advisory Board was divided into two groups, each ofwhich met independently for approximately ½-hour with the same group of students. Thestudents that participated in these interviews were informally selected by the various studentorganizations housed within the department. The only charge given to the students was that theirrepresentatives should be able to accurately speak to their collective perspective on theirprogram. No particular format was set for these interviews. The External Advisory Board cameback together after the interviews to discuss their findings, with these findings and their attendantdiscussion being shared with the department head and program coordinators. These findingswere further shared with the faculty at the August retreat.Relative to what the External Advisory Board heard (as reported by them):Program Weaknesses- EGEN 310, the required college wide interdisciplinary design class, is notmeeting its objectives – the quality of the experience varies between sections, andthe design projects are more appropriate for mechanical, electrical and computerengineering students.- The availability of the department’s computer lab (Tait Lab) to work on courseassignments/projects is becoming increasingly compromised by its use for courseinstruction.- The work load for some courses is disproportionate to their credit assignment(notably, ECIV 489/499, two credit capstone; ECIV 315, 2 credit lecture, 1 creditlab, structures class).- Some valued professional electives are only offered every other year.- CADD should be exercised across the curriculum, not just taught in the freshmanyear and only used again in the senior year. More CADD classes are needed.- Many cultural CORE classes are of questionable value.- Class activities need to be structured not to interfere with Career Fair.Program Strengths- The faculty are very knowledgeable, very accessible and very helpful.- The department academic coordinator is awesome.The post interview discussion primarily focused on the issue of EGEN 310, the juniorinterdisciplinary design class required across all the curriculums in the College of Engineering.This class has been problematic for a few years, relative to offering an experience of equalvalue/quality across all engineering disciplines in a single common junior-level design course.The suggestion was made to work with the EGEN 310 coordinator to make sure a crediblecivil/construction element was part of their design projects, or more ideally, that the overall focusof the interdisciplinary project could be civil/construction related (e.g., c
administered by the Montana Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors as the first step toward professional registration. EGEN 488 (Engineering Program Assessment), a zero-credit course, is used to enforce this