Environmental Science Masters of Science Program Review Report 2011

Environmental Science Masters of Science  Program Review Report 2011
Environmental Science Masters of Science
Program Review Report
2011
Prepared and Submitted by
Michael Savarese, Ph.D.
Professor of Marine Science
Environmental Science M.S. Program Leader
Chair of Department of Marine & Ecological Sciences
msavares@fgcu.edu
239.590.7165
Table of Contents
I. INTRODUCTION
II. BACKGROUND
III. MISSION STATEMENTS
University Mission Statement
Program Mission Statement
IV. STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
University Graduate Learning Outcomes
Program-level Learning Outcomes
V. CURRICULUM
VI. ADMISSION POLICIES AND PRACTICES
Admission Requirements
Admission Process
VII. ASSESSMENT OF LEARNING OUTCOMES FOR PROGRAM
IMPROVEMENT
VIII. PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION AND SUCCESS
Practices and Policies to Promote Retention and Degree Completion
Resources
Program Faculty
Students
Graduates
Financial Support for the Graduate Program
Student Theses
IX. STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, AND THREATS
(SWOT) ANALYSIS
X. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PROGRAM CHANGES
XI. APPENDICES
Appendix A: University and Department Credentialing Criteria for
Graduate Faculty Status
Appendix B: Last 2 Biennial Program Assessments, 2008 and 2011
Appendix C: Procedure for Graduate Student Admission and Awarding
of Financial Assistance
Appendix D: Graduate Program Guidelines, March 2009
Appendix E: New Policies Document, February 2011
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I. INTRODUCTION
Program review is a process of systematic review and evaluation of programs within a
university that takes place at regular intervals. In addition to fulfilling state mandates, a
program review facilitates ongoing improvement and planning. Additionally, it
contributes to the body of information on institutional effectiveness presented by the
university in its self-study for the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools
(SACS), its regional accrediting body.
This report presents the results of an internal self-study by the faculty of the
Environmental Science M.S. Program.
II. BACKGROUND
FGCU became Florida’s tenth university when it opened its doors on August 25, 1997
with just over 100 instructional faculty, two academic buildings, a library and
approximately 2500 students. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
awarded FGCU accreditation candidacy later that year, and a comprehensive self-study
was launched. The first commencement was held in May 1998, with 81 FGCU graduates.
In the Fall of 2007, the University celebrated its tenth anniversary with an estimated
enrollment of 10,000 students. In 2009, FGCU was reclassified as a “professional
doctorate-granting institution,” and has since launched two professional doctorate
programs, one in Physical Therapy and the other in Education. Academic colleges at
FGCU include: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, the College
of Health Professions, the College of Professional Studies, the Lutgert College of
Business and the U.A. Whitaker School of Engineering.
The Environmental Science (M.S.) program (under CIP 03.0104), the first graduate
program in the College of Arts and Sciences, started in Fall 2002 with four students. The
program has grown to 36 students as of Fall 2010, which represents about 34% of the 106
students enrolled in graduate programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. The program
is housed in the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences which has 33 in-unit
faculty members, 1 out-of-unit graduate director, and a chair. Of these faculty members,
19 are ranked faculty who have backgrounds specifically in Environmental Science and
Marine Science, though faculty from other disciplines, including Biology, contribute to
the program. Of the 19 faculty, 6 are assistant professors, 4 are associate professors, and
9 are full professors. Environmental professionals from the Southwest Florida
community often serve as student mentors and advisors. The department also houses
degrees in Marine Science (BS), Environmental Studies (BA and MA), and
Anthropology (BA). Minors are available in Earth and Space Science and Anthropology.
A major in Earth & Space Science (BS) and a minor in Climate Change are under
development. Finally, the department houses offerings in Physics and Astronomy,
though no specific programs in these disciplines exist.
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III. MISSION STATEMENTS
University Mission Statement
“Established on the verge of the 21st century, Florida Gulf Coast University infuses the
strengths of the traditional public university with innovation and learning-centered spirit,
its chief aim being to fulfill the academic, cultural, social, and career expectations of its
constituents.
Outstanding faculty uphold challenging academic standards and balance research,
scholarly activities, and service expectations with their central responsibilities of teaching
and mentoring. Working together, faculty and staff of the University transform students’
lives and the southwest Florida region.
Florida Gulf Coast University continuously pursues academic excellence, practices and
promotes environmental sustainability, embraces diversity, nurtures community
partnerships, values public service, encourages civic responsibility, cultivates habits of
lifelong learning, and keeps the advancement of knowledge and pursuit of truth as noble
ideals at the heart of the university’s purpose.” (Approved by the FGCU Board of
Trustees January 19, 2010; http://www.fgcu.edu/info/mission.asp).
Program Mission Statement
The Environmental Science MS program prepares students for a career as an
environmental professional or for entry into a PhD program. The program is designed to
meet the needs of students currently employed in the field, recently completing an
undergraduate degree, or anyone interested in a career change.
Florida Gulf Coast University upholds a strong emphasis on environmental issues, and
places a unique importance on environmental sustainability. Our Masters Program offers
an integrated study of ecosystems (uplands, wetlands, estuaries, and coastal systems),
environmental education, and public outreach. We offer small class size, hands on
research activities and opportunities for professional development via attendance to
professional conferences, and internship opportunities at various local, state and federal
agencies.
The core of the program focuses on:
Understanding the science of ecology.
Influence of physical and chemical processes on ecosystems.
Utilization of scientific methods.
Application of the concept of sustainability.
Students demonstrate their acquisition of this knowledge and these skills through the
completion of a thesis project.
Although there are no concentrations, students are expected to pursue interests in:
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Organismal ecology.
Ecosystem ecology.
Marine science (embracing one or more aspects of the natural and physical sciences).
Environmental education.
Environmental policy and planning.
IV. STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES
University Graduate Learning Outcomes
“Florida Gulf Coast University is committed to the following learning goals and
educational outcomes, believing they provide a foundation for lifelong learning and
effective citizenship. The specific outcomes involving knowledge, understanding,
analysis, evaluation and collaboration provide the basis on which the university and the
learner, sharing responsibility, can measure progress toward reaching these goals.”
(http://www.fgcu.edu/Catalog/learninggoals.asp)
Graduates of advanced degree programs at Florida Gulf Coast University will:
1. Demonstrate excellence in critical thinking, problem-solving, analysis, and
strategic planning (Critical Thinking),
2. Demonstrate effective use of a variety of communication skills and modalities
(Effective Communication),
3. Exhibit professional and technical expertise consistent with discipline and/or
content area specific accrediting or licensing bodies (Professional & Technical
Expertise),
4. Be prepared for leadership roles in professional and occupational areas and in
communities in which they live and work (Leadership Skills), and
5. Demonstrate the capacity for continuing learning, growth, and scholarly activity
in their respective disciplines and fields of study (Continuing Learning).
Program – Level Learning Outcomes
In Fall 2011 the program level learning outcomes were streamlined and reduced in
number to allow for more effective outcome assessment. The current learning outcomes
for graduates of the M.S. Environmental Science program are as follows:
Critical Thinking. Graduates should:
A. Have an understanding of, and the ability to apply, the scientific method, and the
capacity to design and conduct a relevant research investigation using qualitative
and/or quantitative techniques;
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B. Have a mastery of appropriate methodologies (to include one or more of:
statistical analyses, geographic information systems, field and laboratory
techniques, system’s analysis and simulation modeling).
Effective Communication. Graduates should:
C. Develop skills and experience in communication of concepts of the field of study,
and of methods and results of research in the environmental field, at an advanced
level.
Professional and Technical Expertise. Graduates should:
D. Have a strong foundation in ecological principles and their application to the
description and interpretation of environmental system;
E. Have an understanding of anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems.
Leadership Skills. Graduate should:
F. Have the ability to function in a leadership capacity within a professional setting.
V. CURRICULUM
2010-2011 Catalog Year
1. Prerequisites for admission.
Students must complete the following courses before admission to the program:
General Ecology
Introductory Statistics
2. Required courses for the degree (16-18 credit hours).
Select 3 hours from the following
• OCB 6635 Estuarine Ecology (3)
• PCB 6064C Advanced Ecology (3)
Complete the following:
• EVR 6022 Environmental Research Methodology (3)
• EVS 6920 Graduate Seminar in Current Topics (1)
• EVS 6970 Master's Thesis (total of 6-8 credits)
Select 3 hours from the following:
• EVR 6322 Concepts and Applications of Sustainability (3)
• EVS 6937 Environmental Policy (3)
• PAD 5620 Environmental Law (3)
• URP 6421 Environmental Planning (3)
3. Electives (18-20 credit hours).
Select a minimum of 18 hours from the following:
• EVR 5145 Ecotoxicology (3)
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EVR 6907 Independent Graduate Study in Environmental Science (this
course may be taken more than once subject to approval by the Graduate
Studies Coordinator) (1-3)
EVR 6936 Special Topics in Graduate Study in Environmental Science
(this course may be taken more than once for other topics) (3)
EVS 6941 Environmental Practicum (3-6)
GLY 5575 Coastal and Estuarine Sediment Dynamics (3)
GLY 5658 Geobiology (3)
GLY 6566 Carbonate Sedimentology, Petrology and Stratigraphy (3)
OCB 6646 Marine Biogeography (3)
OCB 6931 Special Topics in Ichthyology (3)
OCC 5115C Advanced Marine Chemistry (3)
OCG 6053 Coastal and Watershed Geology (3)
4. Policy / Management / Education Electives
None are required. At most 6 credit hours may be counted toward degree
requirements:
• EVR 5414 Interpreting the Environment (3)
• EVR 5925 Environmental Education for a Sustainable Future (3)
• EVR 6322 Concepts and Applications of Sustainability (3)
• EVS 6937 Environmental Policy (3)
• PAD 5620 Environmental Law (3)
• URP 6421 Environmental Planning (3)
5. Other Graduation Requirements
• Alternative electives must be approved by the student's Graduate
Committee.
• A minimum of 36 credit hours.
• A cumulative GPA of 3.0 for all coursework in program.
• Successful completion of each core course requires a grade of B or better.
• Elective courses require a grade of C or better.
• Provide two signed, bound copies of the student's thesis, one to the FGCU
library and the other to the Department of Marine and Ecological
Sciences.
• Each student must have a Graduate Committee composed of a minimum
of three individuals, two of whom must be part of the graduate faculty in
Environmental Science.
• Submit an application to graduate to CAS Advising by the deadline listed
in the FGCU Academic Calendar.
VI. ADMISSION POLICIES & PRACTICES
The following statement outlines our Program’s Admission Requirements and appears
within our catalog and at our web site:
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Program Admission Requirements
Admission to the Environmental Science (MS) program is competitive and
selective. Applicants who meet the minimum requirements for consideration may
not necessarily be admitted into the program.
Prerequisite Courses
•
•
General Ecology
Introductory Statistics
Minimum Requirements
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A cover letter of introduction including your academic and career goals,
and how FGCU can help you meet these goals.
A statement of research goals (two page maximum; intended to identify a
potential research discipline).
A four year undergraduate degree from an accredited institution.
Official copies of undergraduate transcripts and scores from the General
Graduate Record Examination (GRE). GRE subject exam is not required.
A minimum of 400 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE and
a combined minimum score of 1000.
A minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper-based) or 213 (computer-based)
for international students from countries where English is not the primary
language.
A minimum grade point average of 3.0 (4.0 scale) for upper division
undergraduate coursework or graduate coursework up to a maximum of
the last 60 hours of coursework.
At least two letters of recommendation from people familiar with your
academic and research potential.
Admission Process
Appendix C details the program’s admission and financial awarding processes.
In brief, admission to the M.S. program follows 3 steps. First, the University’s Office of
Graduate Studies collects all student application materials and ensures the application is
complete. The Office also determines if the candidate meets the University’s graduate
admission standards. (University policies define a minimum standard for admission, in
compliance with regional accreditation rules, and programs may choose more stringent
admission requirements beyond these. The M.S. in Environmental Science does have
more rigorous admission standards.) This university-level process determines which
candidates are minimally qualified for the program’s consideration.
Second, a committee of graduate faculty members oversees the admission and funding
award process for the program. This Graduate Policy and Admissions Committee
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completes an initial screening to determine which candidates meet the program’s
admission criteria. They also identify possible faculty mentors for each student based on
the content of the candidate’s Research Interest statement. The program ensures there is
some graduate faculty member that is both qualified and vested in the student before he
or she is admitted to the program. Because the program is thesis based, a student with a
particular interest but no intellectual sponsor would have a difficult, if not impossible
time completing the program. Applications of those candidates that meet the program’s
admission criteria are then made available to the faculty with specific faculty members
identified as possible mentors.
Finally, one or more faculty members must commit to serving as a prospective student’s
mentor before that student is admitted. Each admitted candidate is provided with a letter
of admission that identifies potential faculty mentors with their contact information.
(Potential faculty mentors are encouraged to contact the students independently prior to
admission as recruitment incentive.) Students not admitted are sent letters as well; here
the reason for the denial is provided: either the student is not minimally qualified or no
suitable mentor could be identified. The program also has the ability to provisionally
admit students that meet university, but not program-level criteria. The provisions of that
admission decision are clearly stipulated in the letter.
Financial award decisions, concerning tuition waivers and graduate student
assistantships, are made by the Graduate Policy and Admission Committee. First, faculty
mentors are solicited for financial contributions they can make from any extramural
funding they might have. These monies are directed toward the students of interest for
the faculty member holding the grant dollars. Then the Committee prioritizes waiver and
assistantship monies based on each student’s holistic past performance and potential as a
scientist and graduate student.
VII. ASSESSMENT
IMPROVEMENT
OF
LEARNING
OUTCOMES
FOR
PROGRAM
Every one of our degree programs undergoes a learning outcome assessment on a
biennial basis. Biennial assessments of the M.S. Environmental Science program were
completed most recently in May, 2011 and previously in January, 2008. Copies of those
reports are included herein within Appendix B. In 2008, learning outcomes A. and B.
were assessed (aspects of Critical Thinking; see section IV above). Outcomes A. and B.
were revisited in the 2011 report, after improvements were implemented, and outcome C.
(Effective Communication; see section IV above) was considered for the first time.
The 2008 review noted that our students were struggling with quantitative methods and
experimental design, two essential components of the scientific method and therefore of
critical importance to a new scientist’s professional independence. To address this
difficulty, a new required course, Environmental Research Methodology, was introduced
that stresses experimental design and statistical analysis, in addition to other components
of the scientific method. The course permits students opportunities to develop designs
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for their own research projects and to work with genuine datasets they or other students
and faculty have collected. The 2011 review of these same learning outcomes noted a
significant improvement.
The assessment of the Effective Communication in 2011 demonstrated that graduate
students are doing well with their written communication, both at their mid-tenure with
the production of their research proposal and again at the end-term with the composition
of the thesis. Oral communication is assessed only at the end of a student’s graduate
experience when they defend their thesis publically and to their thesis committee. This
experience was also scored highly, but then the defense is typically a polished
presentation with students preparing and rehearsing exhaustively. The program hopes to
implement some assessment of oral communication in a more impromptu setting.
Details concerning these assessment results and plans for future assessment are included
in Appendix B.
VIII. PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION AND SUCCESS
Practices & Policies to Promote Retention & Degree Completion
In March, 2009 the graduate faculty supporting the M.S. Environmental Science
formalized many of the policies and practices for students tracking through the program.
Those practices are outlined in a document that is made available to all students and
graduate faculty (Appendix D). That document defines the following:
1. Interim Advisor: A person or persons on the graduate faculty that agrees to
mentor a newly admitted graduate student at the time of admission. This ensures
each student entering the program has a faculty member vested in their success.
A student is free to choose a different mentor once arriving, assuming the new
person is in agreement.
2.
Major Professor: The person on the graduate faculty that serves as the student’s
principal mentor and sponsor. Students are expected to select their Major
Professor by end of their first semester (9 credit hours).
3.
Co-major Professors: Students may choose multiple Major Professors, if more
than one graduate faculty member within the Department of Marine & Ecological
Sciences agrees to share responsibilities. If a student’s choice of Major Professor
is a graduate faculty member outside the department (and someone that has a
logical scholarly connection to Environmental Science), they must have a Comajor Professor from within the Department of Marine & Ecological Sciences.
This ensures a student is well-advised concerning matters of program
administration.
4.
Selection of a Thesis Topic and the Development of a Thesis Proposal: Students
are expected to develop a thesis topic and compose and defend an NSF-style
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research proposal. The proposal is most often developed, or at least initiated, in
the context of a course: Environmental Research Methodology.
5.
Selection of a Thesis Committee: Each student must have a Thesis Committee
that is composed of a minimum of 3 graduate faculty members. Two of these
must be members of the graduate faculty in the Department.
6.
Thesis Milestones: Target dates for specific accomplishments through to a
student's graduation are established. These provide a guideline for a student’s
timely completion of the degree.
7.
Program of Study: This outlines a recommended course sequence to also better
ensure timely graduation.
8.
Thesis Defense Guidelines: These explain the thesis defense process and the
format the written thesis must follow.
In January, 2011, the graduate faculty within the Department of Marine & Ecological
Sciences crafted and approved a set of new policies that filled omissions that had existed
previously (see Appendix E). These requirements will go into effect beginning Fall
2011, and they have yet to be integrated into the Graduate Program Guidelines (Appendix
D) that is distributed to faculty and students. The intention is update the Guidelines
document in time for the beginning of the Fall 2011 semester.
The newly added policies, accomplish the following:
1. Entrusts the oversight of the MS Environmental Science program to the graduate
faculty members within the Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences. This
was always implicit but never formally established.
2.
Establishes a new committee, the Graduate Policy and Admission Committee, to
oversee the development of new policies and practices and to oversee the
admission and financial awarding processes.
3.
Requires that students register for at least one credit hour each fall and spring
semester from the time they enter the program until they graduate. The rule is
intended as an incentive for students to make continuous progress toward
completion of their thesis after they have completed all their course requirements.
Students that don’t register for more than one semester lose library use privileges
and this further handicaps their ability to complete the research.
4.
Requires that faculty members teaching co-listed graduate courses (i.e., courses
listed at both the undergraduate and graduate levels but concurrently) offer a
minimum of one additional contact hour to graduate students to ensure they are
engaged at a level above and beyond the expectations of an upper division
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undergraduate student. A number of our graduate courses are co-listed with
undergraduate course sections; this is an unfortunate necessity of the minimum
class enrollments prescribed by our Office of Academic Affairs, coupled with the
relatively small number of graduate students within the program at any given
time. Prior to the establishment of this rule, faculty were expected to provide the
extra contact hour but they were not required to make this happen.
5.
Establishes the need for a student and a mentor to define a thesis topic that is
consistent with the department’s mission and its existing course curriculum. The
program has been in situations where a student’s thesis topic was too far afield of
our collective expertise to ensure a student’s research success.
6.
Establishes a process through which graduate student milestone completions can
be tracked. Though the program has established target dates for milestone
completion, previously there has been no way to track progress and alert students
and mentors of potential problems.
Resources
The M.S. Environmental Science program is supported principally by the Department of
Marine and Ecological Sciences within the College of Arts and Sciences. Contributions
are also made by faculty with graduate faculty status from the Department of Biological
Sciences and environmental professionals in our region. Faculty in the sciences and
mathematics share two science buildings on the main campus: Whitaker Hall and
Academic Building 7 (AB-7). Whitaker Hall encompasses about 5,000 square feet of
research space. AB-7 opened in December 2009, adding an additional 7,200 square feet
of research space for faculty and students.
A diverse collection of instruments and equipment is available for faculty and student use
in the laboratories of the individual faculty members or in common areas housing shared
equipment between the two buildings. Equipment available includes: a SmartChem
analyzer, an autoclave, bacterial incubators, several bacterial shakers, balances, bio-safety
cabinets for tissue culture work, microcentrifuges, a refrigerated microcentrifuge, a high
speed Beckman centrifuge, a Beckman table-top ultracentrifuge, electrophoresis apparati
for both agarose and polyacrylamide gels, electroporator, fluorometer, -80°and -20°
freezers, GC system, Thermo surveyor HPLC with autosampler, hybridization oven, LTQ
linear ion trap mass spectrometer, microplate washer and reader, microscopes with
photographic and video cameras, oxygen electrodes, powers supplies, scintillation
counter, Speed-Vacs, sonicator, thermocyclers, real time-PCR cycler, UV/Vis
spectrophotometer, UV transilluminator with documentation system, vapor pressure
osmometer, water purification system, and Western blotting equipment. There are
controlled temperature and light animal facilities, two large plant growth chambers, and
two smaller chambers, one for the growth of Arabidopsis thaliana and one for plant
tissue culture. Whitaker Hall includes a radioactive isotope-use room, a walk-in
refrigerated room and a walk-in freezer. FGCU owns a complementary collection of
field gear for sampling aquatic and terrestrial systems. Components of ecological and
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environmental research can be integrated using the University Geographic System
workstations with ArcView software and a sub-meter global positioning system.
Campbell Scientific Dataloggers and our own-manufactured sap flow sensors and DCDC power converters are available for the research work on transpiration. A Li-Cor 6400
infrared gas analyzer is also available for carbon dioxide and leaf stomatal conductance
measurements.
FGCU acquired the Norm and Nancy Vester Marine and Environmental Science
Research Field Station in 2007 (www.fgcu.edu/vestermarine). The property (0.547 acres
landward and 0.308 acres seaward) is located 14 miles from the main campus on Little
Hickory Island in Bonita Springs, Florida. The property consists of three buildings: 1) a
main residence that includes a student classroom and faculty workspace, 2) an eight-unit
apartment building, and 3) another building with one additional apartment, a conference
room and both wet and dry labs, and running seawater. The facilities are plumbed to
deliver raw, filtered, or filter-sterile sea water for holding animals and/or conducting
controlled experiments. The site is surrounded by water on three sides and includes 10
boat slips. Available boats for research and teaching include a 20 ft Pontoon boat, a 20 ft
deck boat, a 25 ft C-Hawk, a 17 ft Center Console, a 27 ft Grady White, 21 canoes, and 2
kayaks.
Most recently in early 2010 FGCU opened the Harvey Kapnick Education and Research
Center, a 15,000 square foot facility located at the Naples Botanical Garden. The Center
houses teaching and research laboratory space for faculty and students. Equipment
available includes: pH meters (VWR symphony SB70P), autoclave (Amsco Steris),
laminar flow hoods (Labconco Purifier Class II – Biosafety Cabinet Delta Series – Model
# 36204), balances (Mettler Toledo Balance AG104 d=0.1mg / max 100g), and dissecting
microscopes (Olympus – SZ4045 – Stereoscope). Phytotron rooms for environmentally
controlled plant growth experiments are also available.
Program Faculty
The faculty supporting the M.S. Environmental Science program come principally from
the Department of Marine & Ecological Sciences, though graduate faculty from other
departments in the College of Arts & Sciences and environmental science and
management professionals in our region are involved on occasion. Additionally our
Graduate Faculty Policy can accommodate the involvement of faculty members from
other institutions when specific expertise is required.
The following is a list of FGCU graduate faculty members that currently support the
program with their Department, rank, terminal degree granting institution, year of hire,
and research focus included. CVs of these faculty members are available on-line at one
or more of the following URLs:
http://www.fgcu.edu/CAS/Departments/MES/faculty.html
http://www.fgcu.edu/CWI/directory.htm
http://www.fgcu.edu/CWI/directory.htm
Full Members of the Graduate Faculty
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1. Peter Corcoran. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Professor. Ed.D. University
of Maine. Environmental education.
2. Donald Duke. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Professor. Ph.D. Stanford
University. Water quality, integration of science and public policy.
3. Win Everham. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Professor. Ph.D. SUNY
College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Community ecology of terrestrial
systems.
4. John Fitch. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Associate Professor. Ph.D.
Michigan State University. Conservation biology and policy.
5. Anne Hartley. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Associate Professor. Ph.D.
Duke University. Plant physiology, effects of climate change on community
structure, GIS applications.
6. Jerry Jackson. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Professor. Ph.D. University
of Kansas. Conservation biology and ornithology.
7. Michael Parsons. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Professor. Ph.D.
Louisiana State University. Harmful algal blooms, marine phycology.
8. Michael Savarese. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Professor. Ph.D.
University of California Davis. Harmful microalgae, transfer of biotoxins into
marine food webs. Geobiology, history of coastal environmental change.
9. Greg Tolley. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Professor. Ph.D. University of
South Florida. Influence of freshwater inflow on estuarine ecosystems,
ichthyology and estuarine community ecology.
10. Aswani Volety. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Professor. Ph.D. Virginia
Institute of Marine Science. Effects of watershed alteration, freshwater inflows
and contaminants on the biochemical, physiological, and ecological responses of
shellfish.
11. Terry Wimberley. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Professor. Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh. Environmental health.
Associate Members of the Graduate Faculty
12. Phillip Allman. Dept. Biological Sciences. Assistant Professor. Ph.D. Ohio
University. Herpetology.
13. Brian Bovard. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Assistant Professor. Ph.D.
Duke University. Plant physiology and wetland ecology.
14. David Ceilley. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Research Associate. M.S.
University of Florida. Wetland and upland ecology.
15. Randy Cross. Dept. Biological Sciences. Associate Professor. Ph.D. University of
North Carolina Chapel Hill. Marine ecology.
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16. Marguerite Forest. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Assistant Professor.
Ph.D. University of Oregon. Environmental education, GIS applications.
17. David Fugate. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Assistant Professor. Ph.D.
Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Hydrodynamics and associated sediment
transport.
18. Frank Gable. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Assistant Professor. Ph.D.
University of Rhode Island. Interface of marine/environmental science and policy.
19. Anna Goebel. Dept. Biological Sciences. Assistant Professor. Ph.D. University of
Colorado Boulder. Molecular phylogenetics.
20. John Griffis. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Associate Professor. Ph.D.
University of Florida. Horticulture and landscape architecture.
21. Bill Hammond. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Emeritus Professor. Ed.D.
University of British Columbia. Environmental education.
22. Ai Ning Loh. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Associate Professor. Ph.D.
Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Biogeochemistry, source and fate of organic
matter and nutrients.
23. James MacDonald. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Assistant Professor.
Ph.D. SUNY Albany. Plate tectonics, geochemistry and marine geology.
24. Darren Rumbold. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Associate Professor.
Ph.D. Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, University of Miami.
Landscape ecotoxicology and risk assessment, focus on methylmercury.
25. Serge Thomas. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Assistant Professor. Ph.D.
Pierre and Marie Currie University. Wetland ecology and limnology.
26. Ronald Toll. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Professor and Provost. Ph.D.
Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, University of Miami.
Biological oceanographer, comparative morphology and systematics of
cephalopod.
27. Toshi Urakawa. Dept. Marine & Ecological Sciences. Assistant Professor. Ph.D.
University of Tokyo. Microbial ecology.
The following lists document the scholarly productivity of the graduate faculty that
support the M.S. program as reported in each member’s Annual and Professional
Development Report for the 2009-2010 academic year. The compilation provides an
overview of the diversity and depth of the program’s collective expertise. Authors that
are part of the M.S. graduate faculty are highlighted in bold; names are listed
alphabetically by graduate faculty member.
Publications—Books
Davis, W.E., Jr., and Jackson, J.A. 2010. Contributions to the History of North
American Ornithology. Volume 3. Memoirs of the Nuttall Ornithological Club no. 18.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
15
McDonald, M. 2009. Food Culture in Central America. Greenwood Publishing/ABC
CLIO.
Publications—Peer Reviewed Journal Articles and Contributions to Collections
Jackson, J.A. 2009. Invasive exotic species. Pp. 626-629, in Encyclopedia of Global
Warming, S. I. Dutch, ed. Salem Press, Pasadena, California.
Okolodkov, Y.B., Merino-Virgilio, F.C., Herrera-Silveira, J.A., and Parsons, M.L.
2009. Gambierdiscus toxicus in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. IOC Harmful
Algae News 40: 12-14. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Newsletter.
Rumbold, D.G., Evans, D., Niemczyk, S., Fink, L., Laine, K., Howard, N., Krabbenhoft,
D., and Zucker M. 2010. Source identification of Florida Bay's methylmercury
problem: mainland runoff versus atmospheric deposition and in situ production.
Estuaries and Coasts. DOI 10.1007/s12237-010-9290-5
Rumbold, D.G., Morrison, M.B., and Bruner, M.C. 2010. Assessing the Ecological Risk
of a Municipal Solid Waste Landfill to Surrounding Wildlife: a Case Study in Florida.
Environmental Bioindicators, 4:246-279
Rumbold, D.G. 2010. Independent Technical Review Team. Sediment in Baltimore
Harbor: Quality and Suitability for Innovative Reuse. An Independent Technical
Review. Kramer, J., Smits, J., and Sellner, K. (eds.) Maryland Sea Grant Publication
UM-SG-TS-2009-04. CRC Publ. No. 09-169.
Rumbold, D.G. 2010. Algal composition in periphyton after a desiccation disturbance:
resistance or resilience? Journal of North American and Benthological Society.
January ’10: 09-129.
Rumbold, D.G. 2010. Natural D14C signature provides data for stream web studies.
Limnology and Oceanography 10-022.
Van Horn, J., Malhoe, V., Delvina, M., Tolley, S.G., and Ueda, T. 2010. Molecular
cloning and expression of a 2-Cys peroxiredoxin gene in flatback mud crab
Eurypanopeus depressus that is induced by dilute-salinity stress. Comparative
Biochemistry and Physiology, Part B, 155: 309-315.
Savarese, M. and Hoeflein, F.J. In press. Sea level and the paleoenvironmental
interpretation of the middle to late Holocene Hanna Bay Limestone, San Salvador,
Bahamas: a high foreshore setting without a higher-than-present eustatic highstand.
Paper submitted for the 15th Symposium on the Geology of the Bahamas and Other
Carbonate Regions. Gerace Research Centre, San Salvador, Bahamas.
Kindler, P., Mylroie, J.E., Curran, H.A., Carew, J.L., Gamble, D.W., Rothfus, T.A.,
Savarese, M., and Sealey, N.E. 2010. Geology of central Eleuthera, Bahamas: a field
trip guide. 15th Symposium on the Geology of the Bahamas and Other Carbonate
Regions. Gerace Research Centre, San Salvador, Bahamas. ISBN 0-935909-91-5. 74
p.
Tolley, S.G., Evans, J.T., Volety, A.K., and Winstead, J.T. In press. The role of
freshwater inflow on population regulation of the inquiline symbiont Eutima sp. in
eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica. Bulletin of Marine Science.
Van Horn, J. and Tolley, S.G. 2009. Acute response of the estuarine crab Eurypanopeus
depressus to salinity and desiccation stress. Journal of Crustacean Biology 29: 556561.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
16
Volety, A.K., Savarese, M., Tolley, S.G., Sime, P., Goodman, P., and Doering, P. 2009.
Eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) as an indicator for restoration of Everglades
Ecosystems. Ecological Indicators. 9: S120-S136.
DOI:10.1016/j.ecolind.2008.06.005.
Wimberley, E.T. 2010. Pluralism Lost: Sustainability’s Unfortunate Fall. Academic
Questions. Vol. 23, No. 1, p. 1-12.
Publications—Technical Reports
Volety, A.K., Savarese, M., Hoye, B., and Loh, A.N. 2009. Landscape pattern: present
and past distribution of oysters in South Florida Coastal Complex (Whitewater Bay /
Oyster Bay / Shark to Robert’s Rivers). South Florida Water Management District,
Final Technical Report. 195 p.
Publications—Newsletters
Griffis, J. Co‐author of The Ohio State University a monthly column for the ASHS
newsletter titled “International Opportunities for Horticulturists.”
Publications—Book Reviews
Volety, A.K. “Life along the inner coast – a naturalist’s guide to the sounds, inlets, rivers
and intra-coastal waterway from Norfolk to Key West” by Robert Lippson and Alice
Jane Lippson (University of North Carolina Press, 2009). For Choice Magazine.
Volety, A.K. “Marine hard bottom communities: patterns, dynamics, diversity, and
change”, ed. by Martin Wahl. Springer, 2009. 445p bibl index afp (Ecological
studies, 206) ISBN 9783540927037. For Choice Magazine.
Volety, A.K. “Fishes of the Open Ocean – A Natural History & Illustrated Guide” by
Julian Pepperell, University of Chicago Press, 2010). For Choice Magazine.
Volety, A.K. “Manatee Insanity - Inside the War over Florida's Most Famous
Endangered Species” by Craig Pittman (University of Florida Press, 2010). For
Choice Magazine.
Scholarly Presentations—Refereed
Duke, L.D. Industrial Storm Runoff and Florida Receiving Waters: Adequacy of Data for
Watershed Planning. Proceedings, BASIS 5: Tampa Bay Estuary Program Bay Area
Scientific Information Symposium, January 2010.
Duke, L.D. Setting Water Quality Targets with Historical Data: Approaches, Problems,
and Limitations. 2009 AWRA Annual Water Resources Conference, Seattle WA,
November 2009.
Fitch, J. Sustainability: An Emerging Substrate for Creativity, Interdisciplinarity,
Integrative Learning, and Survival. 31st, Conference of the Association for Integrated
Studies, University of Alabama. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, October 8-11, 2009.
Fitch, J. Pedagogic Opportunities in Designing and Developing Sustainable Affordable
Housing and Outdoor Classrooms in Southwest Florida. 8th Ball State
University/AASHE Greening of the Campus Conference, Indianapolis, Indiana, Peer
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
17
reviewed paper published in the Campus VIII Conference Proceedings, 20-23
September 2009.
Fugate, D.C. 2009. Suspended sediment dynamics in controlled waterways, South
Florida USA, at International Conference on Cohesive Sediment Transport Processes,
Paraty, Brazil.
Fugate, D.C., Tolley, S.G., Andresen, M., and Denkert, B. Suspended sediment
dynamics in the Caloosahatchee River, Florida USA. Coastal and Estuarine Research
Foundation 20th Biennial Conference.
MacDonald, J.H., Jr., Miller, R.B., Dragovich, J.D., Metzger, E.P., Miller, J.S., and
Harper, G.D. 2009. Geology and geochemistry of the De Roux unit and possibly
correlative tectonostratigraphic terranes within the Cascade Mountains, Washington:
Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs: v. 41, no. 7, p. 518.
MacDonald, J.H., Jr., Miller, R.B., Schoonmaker, A., and Harper, G.D. 2009.
Geochemistry of the Late Jurassic Quartz Mountain stock, Manastash inlier, central
Cascades, Washington: Implications for its tectonic setting: Geological Society of
America, Abstracts with Programs: v. 41, no. 7, p. 114.
Littke, H.A., , Dragovich, J.D., Anderson, M., Hartog, R., Wessel, G.R., Dufrane, S.A.,
Walsh, T.J., MacDonald, J.H., Jr., and Cakir, R. 2009. Geologic map of the
Snoqualmie 7.5-minute quadrangle, King County, Washington—active faulting, basin
inversion and Miocene volcanic extrusion of the Snoqualmie batholith along the
Rattlesnake Mountain fault zone: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with
Programs: v. 41, no. 7, p. 457.
Parsons, M.L., Settlemier, C.J., and Bienfang, P.K. A refined model of Gambierdiscus
growth and abundance in the coastal waters of Hawaii. Fifth Symposium on Harmful
Algae in the U.S., Ocean Shores, Washington, November 15 – 19, 2009.
Thera, J.C. and Rumbold, D.G. Mercury Concentrations in King Mackerel
(Scomberomorus cavalla) from Southwest Florida. 30th Annual Meeting of Society
of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. New Orleans, LA.
Brandon, A., Cunningham, M., Onorato, D., and Rumbold, D.G. Spatial and Temporal
Patterns in Mercury Concentrations in Blood and Hair of Florida Panthers (Puma
concolor coryi): 1978 – 2008. 30th Annual Meeting of Society of Environmental
Toxicology and Chemistry. New Orleans, LA.
Wohlpart, S.L. and Savarese, M. 2010. A team mentorship approach to undergraduate
research in geoscience: uniting non-majors and majors with graduate students and
faculty. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 42(1):83.
Savarese, M., Hoeflein, F.J. IV, and Wohlpart, S.L. 2010. Depositional environmental
interpretation of the middle to late Holocene Hanna Bay Limestone, San Salvador,
Bahamas: is there evidence for a sea-level highstand? Geological Society of America
Abstracts with Programs 42(1):109.
Tolley, S.G., Fugate, D.C., Parsons, M.L., Denkert, B.A., Andresen, M., Radabaugh,
K., Ellis, G., Burghart, S.E., and Peebles, E.B. Physical-biological interactions related
to invertebrate prey production for young estuarine–dependent fishes in Southwest
Florida. Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, Portland, OR. Nov 2009.
Denkert, B.A., Burghart, S.E., Peebles, E.B., and Tolley, S.G. Responses of zooplankton
to variable freshwater inflow in the Caloosahatchee River and Estuary, Florida.
Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation, Portland, OR. Nov 2009
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
18
Volety, A.K. Use of oyster Crassostrea virginica responses in environmental monitoring
and restoration to augment shellfish production. Key Note presentation at the 3rd
International Oyster Symposium, Nov 2-4, 2009, Taiwan.
Volety, A.K., Abeels, H.A., Griffith, A., Perrin, A., Fondacci, M., Glachant, A., Rikard,
S., Doering, P., Chang, M.-L., Coley, T., and Goncalves, M. Effects of salinity on the
early life stages of oysters Crassostrea virginica. Aquaculture 2010, San Diego, CA.
March 1-5, 2010.
Volety, A.K., Goodman, P., Gorman, P., Haynes, L., and Smith, L. Oyster Crassostrea
virginica health, reproduction and larval recruitment as indicators of the influence of
managed freshwater inflows in the Caloosahatchee estuary. Aquaculture 2010, San
Diego, CA. March 1-5, 2010.
Abeels, H.A., Volety, A.K., and Loh, A.L. Trophic transfer and habitat use of oyster
Crassostrea virginica reefs in southwest Florida using stable isotope analysis.
Aquaculture 2010, San Diego, CA. March 1-5, 2010.
Goncalves, M., Abeels, H.A., Griffith, A., Doering, P., Chang, M.-L., Coley, T., and
Volety, A.K. Effects of salinity on the Asian green mussel Perna viridis in southwest
Florida estuaries. Aquaculture 2010, San Diego, CA. March 1-5, 2010.
Haynes, L.H., Booth, A., Smith, L.K., Goodman, P., Fanjul, J, and Volety, A.K.
Distribution of oyster reefs and their physiological and ecological responses in
Lostmans River, Everglades National Park. Aquaculture 2010, San Diego, CA. March
1-5, 2010.
Griffith, A.W., Shumway, S.E., and Volety, A.K. Bioaccumulation and depuration of
brevetoxins in Mercenaria mercenaria and Crassostrea virginica. Aquaculture 2010,
San Diego, CA. March 1-5, 2010.
Volety, A.K., Goodman, P., Sime, P., Haynes, L., and Smith, L. Seasonal and Spatial
Variation in the Reproduction and Larval Recruitment of Oysters in Caloosahatchee
Estuary as Indicators of the Influence of Managed Freshwater Inflows. 3rd National
Conference on Ecosystem Restoration, Los Angeles, CA. July 20-24, 2009.
Presentations – Non-refereed
Jackson, J. Invited Lecture: Don't just wait! Lessons from the Bald Eagle, European
Starling, and Burmese Python – Hendry-Glades Audubon Society, Labelle, Florida,
11 January 2010.
Jackson, J. Invited Lecture: The Birds of Autumn in Southwest Florida – Southwest
Florida Birding Festival, 17 January 2010.
Jackson, J. Invited Lecture: Our World – the Flora and Fauna Around Us – Opening
lecture for an environmental art show at Pelican Bay, 18 January 2010.
Jackson, J. Invited Lecture: Wonders of Bird Migration – Barefoot Beach Preserve, 20
February 2010.
Jackson, J. Invited Field Trip/Lecture: Bird Science – Audubon Young Birders Club,
Naples, Florida, 27 March 2010.
Jackson, J. Keynote Speaker, 19th Annual Southwest Florida Water Resources
Conference, Ft. Myers, Florida: Lag Time, Connectivity, and Environmental
Opportunities in a Lagging Economy.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
19
Rumbold, D. Mercury: Global contaminant with Local Impacts. Invited Presentation to a
group of national journalists. 2009 Scripps Howard Institute on the Environment.
Florida Atlantic University, Jupiter, FL. June 1-6.
Easton, J.A., Rumbold, D.G. and Erdman, R.B. Mercury concentrations in Pinctada
longisquamosa and Isognoman alatus from anchilaine lakes on San Salvador Island,
Bahamas. 13th Symposium on the Natural History of the Bahamas. Gerace Research
Centre, San Salvador, Bahamas. June 18-22, 2009.
Bachelor, B.M., Tolley, S.G., and Burghart, S.E. Influence of salinity and freshwater
inflow on the recruitment of commensal decapods crustaceans to oyster reefs in
Estero Bay, Florida. Estero Bay Watershed Public Symposium, Fort Myers, FL. Sep
2009.
Evans, J., Nelson, J., Bachelor, B., Burghart, B., and Tolley, S.G. The effect of
freshwater inflow on the spatial and temporal distribution of ichthyoplankton and
gelatinous zooplankton in Estero Bay. Estero Bay Watershed Public Symposium, Fort
Myers, FL. Sep 2009.
Nelson, J.L., Evans, J., Bachelor, B., Burghart, B., and Tolley, S.G. Influence of
freshwater inflow on the distribution and community structure of decapods
zooplankton in the subtropical Florida estuary of Estero Bay. Estero Bay Watershed
Public Symposium, Fort Myers, FL. Sep 2009.
Abeels, H.A., Volety, A.K., Loh, A.L., and Tolley, S.G. Trophic transfer and habitat use
of oyster (Crassostrea virginica) reefs in Southwest Florida using stable isotope
analysis: Are oyster reefs used for refuge, food or both? Estero Bay Watershed Public
Symposium, Fort Myers, FL. Sep 2009.
Publications—Opinion Pieces
Jackson, J.A. 2009. Dreams & discoveries. Expressions 8(12):4.
Jackson, J.A. 2009. Rare specimens. Pinnacle Magazine 4(1):12-13.
Jackson, J.A. 2009. Songbirds & birdsongs. 2010 calendar. Gladstone Media
Corporation, Keswick, Virginia.
Rumbold, D.G. Ecological Risk Assessment of Oil and Gas Exploration and Production
in Southwest Florida’s Coastal Waters at the League of Women Voters on Sanibel.
January 18, 2010.
Thomas, S. Presented a poster at the FCE LTER meeting, FIU, Miami, Fl: Looking at the
impact of temperature on the photosynthesis of oligotrophic short-hydroperiod
epilithic calcareous periphyton. Thomas, S., A. Teegarden, and J. Boyer.
Thomas, S. Co-Authored and Presented: Assessment of N2-fixation in Lakes Jesup and
Monroe, Florida. Scinto, L. J., Thomas, S., Anderson, W. T., Ikenaga M.,
Sinigalliano, C. and Brandt-Williams S. at the SJRWMD, Apopka, Fl: Assessment of
N2-fixation in Lakes Jesup and Monroe, Florida.
Tolley, S.G. News-Press, Fort Myers, FL. Institute studies effects of Caloosahatchee
salinity (Feb 7, 2010).
Tolley, S.G. News-Press, Fort Myers, FL. Stone crab claws are local, seasonal and
sustainable (Oct 14, 2009).
Tolley, S.G. News-Press, Fort Myers, FL. Millions in grants fund FGCU projects (April
22, 2009).
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
20
Grants/Appropriations Awarded
Ceilley, D., Thomas, S., and Everham, W. Lake Trafford limnological assessment.
$25,000. SFWMD.
Fitch, J. EPA P3 grant to plan and design a sustainable outdoor classroom using
indigenous architecture and building techniques with advanced renewable
technologies, $9,994.
Fugate, D. and Parsons, M. Acquisition of a laboratory research and teaching flume for
estuarine sediment bed and ecological research and education. NSF MRI2
Instrumentation Award, $230,822.
Fugate, D. Shiptime Support for FGCU’s Marine Science Curriculum, Award, $5000.
Jackson, J. (Bette J.S. Jackson, Co-Principal Investigator) Post-breeding, Fall Migration,
and Wintering Avifaunal Assessment of Diverse Habitats on the Babcock Ranch,
Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida. Funded by Kitson and Partners, Port Charlotte,
FL., $15,000.
Parsons, M. National Science Foundation. MRI – R2: Acquisition of a Laboratory
Research and Teaching Flume. NSF MRI Program. Jan. 1, 2010 – Dec. 31, 2010;
$230,822.
Parsons, M. Bioavailability and sources of nutrients and the linkages to nuisance red
drift algae (Co-PI). City of Sanibel, Florida. April 15, 2008 – August 31, 2010;
$769,083.
Parsons, M. Enhancement of Public Health Preparedness for Dealing with Bioterrorism:
New Biocides and Decontaminating Agents for Biodefense (Co-PI). USF Florida
Biodefense Research Consortium. May 19, 2008 – May 18, 2010; $366,625; FTE:
6%.
Parsons, M. Change in Ecosystem Condition, as Measured by Phytoplankton and Fish
Prey Community Structure, Associated with Seasonal Freshwater Inflow to the
Caloosahatchee Estuary (Co-PI). South Florida Water Management District
($70,000) and U.S. Department of Education ($191,593). May 1, 2008 – January 10,
2010; $261,593; FTE: 6%.
Parsons, M., Fugate, D., Loh, A.N., Rumbold, D., Savarese, M., Tolley, S.G., and
Volety, A.K. U.S. Department of Education. Congressional Grant. $333,000. The
impacts of variable freshwater inflow on estuarine processes in Southwest Florida.
Oct 2009-Sep 2010.
Parsons, M. Ecology of the Florida Keys and Florida Bay: A Collaborative
Undergraduate Research and Education Expedition (PI). Florida Institute of
Oceanography. October 22 – 25, 2009; $3,400.
Parsons, M. Elise B. Newell Seminar Series (PI). Florida Sea Grant. Fall, 2009; $1000.
Parsons, M. Benthic invertebrate community dynamics of the southwest Florida
continental shelf (Co-PI). Florida Institute of Oceanography. September 16 – 18,
2009; $18,000.
Savarese, M. and Volety, A.K. NOAA Center for Sponsored Coastal Ocean Research,
Coastal Ocean Program. $65,108 (of $1.47M collaborative effort). Marine and
estuarine goal setting for South Florida (MARES). Jun 2009 – May 2011.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
21
Thomas, S. and Fugate, D. Assessment of the cycling and compartmentalization of
nitrogen and phosphorus in saturated soils, sediments and the water column in Lake
Jesup, Florida. $25,000. #subcontract with FIU 205002524-01.
Thomas, S. Lake Apopka Sediment Analyses. $36,980. SJRWMD Contract # 25378.
Volety, A.K. Ten Thousand Islands oyster monitoring. $17,500. November 2009 –
March 2010. South Florida Water Management District.
Volety, A.K. Development of a Strategic Plan for Florida Gulf Coast University’s Vester
Marine and Environmental Sciences Research Field Station. $24,070. September 15,
2009 – August 31, 2010. National Science Foundation.
Barreto, J., Sweeney, J., Torres, J., Volety, A.K.. Detoxification and detection of natural
toxins to defend against a potential bio-weapon attack. 2009-2010. Defense Threat
Reduction Agency. $480,000.
Students
The program is in high demand and has experienced a progressive increase in the number
of applicants per year. Because it’s thesis-based, the program is limited by how many
students the graduate faculty can mentor. The grant monies faculty members have to
support student research also impose limitations. Many of our faculty are opposed to
accepting graduate students without having the funding in place to support the research
needs of the student. Others restrict their decisions to mentor students to those they or
the department can provide financial support through tuition waivers and stipends. Our
funding to support student tuition and assistantships from the university has been flat for
the last 5 admission years. Some enrollment growth has been accommodated by
extramural funds through faculty grants. Nonetheless, despite the increased interest in
the program, our admission numbers have not increased substantially over the same
period.
The vast majority of our applicants are Florida State residents, and a large percentage of
these are recipients of undergraduate degrees from FGCU. The program is becoming
increasingly more popular among out-of-state students.
Out-of-state tuition is
prohibitively expensive, however, and the program is typically limited by how many outof-state tuition waivers it receives from the university. The program typically receives
one or two out-of-state waivers per academic year.
Those students receiving financial support as waivers and assistantships are highly
qualified with average combined Verbal and Quantitative GRE scores over 1100 and
undergraduate GPAs greater than 3.3 (see Table below).
The ethnicity of our students is limited with an overwhelming percentage of our students
being Caucasian. The program does not specifically recruit students of diversity. It is,
however, now trying to take extra steps to providing students of color funding to support
their education (see Table below).
An overwhelming majority of our students are women, and female students are receiving
the majority of financial support (see Table below).
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
22
Tables: Demographics concerning student admission, graduation, and financial awards.
Gender (Students Admitted & Entering Program)
F
%F
M
2004-2005
7
78%
2
2005-2006
6
100%
0
2006-2007
9
64%
5
2007-2008
9
69%
4
2008-2009
10
77%
3
2009-2010
9
82%
2
2010-2011
4
67%
2
Totals
54
18
Race (Students Admitted--of those reporting)
W
%W
H
2004-2005
8
100%
0
2005-2006
5
83%
0
2006-2007
13
93%
1
2007-2008
11
100%
0
2008-2009
12
100%
0
2009-2010
16
100%
0
2010-2011
7
100%
0
%M
22%
0%
36%
31%
23%
18%
33%
Total
9
6
14
13
13
11
6
72
%H
0%
0%
7%
0%
0%
0%
0%
A
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
%A
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
AA
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
%AA
0%
17%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
Total
8
6
14
11
12
16
7
%AA
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
0%
Total
6
2
7
5
11
11
6
Students Graduating
2004-2005
0
2005-2006
1
2006-2007
4
2007-2008
8
2008-2009
4
2009-2010
5
2010-2011
7
Totals
29
Gender (Students Who Received Tuition Waiver and/or
Assistantships
F
%F
M
%M
2004-2005
6
86%
1
14%
2005-2006
2
100%
0
0%
2006-2007
4
57%
3
43%
2007-2008
2
40%
3
60%
2008-2009
9
82%
2
18%
2009-2010
11
100%
0
0%
2010-2011
4
67%
2
33%
Total
7
2
7
5
11
11
6
Race (Students Who Received Tuition Waiver and/or Assistantships--of those reporting)
W
%W
H
%H
A
%A
AA
2004-2005
6
100%
0
0%
0
0%
0
2005-2006
2
100%
0
0%
0
0%
0
2006-2007
7
100%
0
0%
0
0%
0
2007-2008
5
100%
0
0%
0
0%
0
2008-2009
11
100%
0
0%
0
0%
0
2009-2010
11
100%
0
0%
0
0%
0
2010-2011
6
100%
0
0%
0
0%
0
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
23
Scores (Students Who Received Tuition Waiver and
Assistanships)
GRE
GRE
GRE An
BA
Verbal
Quant
Writ
GPA
2004-2005
528
634
5
3.72
2005-2006
575
555
4
3.24
2006-2007
523
666
4.2
3.29
2007-2008
538
608
4.5
3.38
2008-2009
514
621
4
4
2009-2010
449
616
4.3
3.45
2010-2011
522
677
4
3.24
Graduates
The program has graduated 29 students as of the date of this report. Our master’s degree
recipients are working with governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations
associated with the environmental affairs, environmental consulting firms, and local
school districts. Others have gone on to Ph.D. programs at other institutions. The
program has not done a conscientious job of tracking its alumni. Here though is a list of
graduates and their current employers for whom information was obtained.
1. Holly Abeels, Florida Sea Grant Marine Extension Agent, Florida.
2. Lyndsay Addison. National Audubon Society in North Carolina.
3. Jorge Agobian. High school science teacher, Golden Gate High School, Naples,
Florida.
4. Bethany Bachelor. Ecologist for Passarella and Associates.
5. Natalie Borrego. Ph.D. Program, University of Miami, Florida.
6. Amanda Booth. Research Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey, Ft. Myers, Florida.
7. Brenda Brooks-Solveson. Director of Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed
Land and Water Trust, Estero, Florida.
8. Laurie Coventry-Payne. Faculty Member, Instructor for University Colloquium,
Florida Gulf Coast University.
9. Sarah Davis. Faculty Member, Instructor for University Colloquium, Florida
Gulf Coast University.
10. Elizabeth Gilpin. Florida Sea Grant Marine Extension Agent, Charlotte County,
Florida.
11. Andrew Griffith. Laboratory technician, Florida Gulf Coast University.
12. Rachel Harris. Ph.D. Program, University of Waikato, New Zealand.
13. Brian Hoye. Geoscientist for Burns and McDonnell, Kansas.
14. Alicia Kruse. Passarella and Associates.
15. Ray Leary. Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
16. Christopher Lechowicz. Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Florida.
17. Sasha Linsin Wohlpart. Faculty Member, Instructor, Florida Gulf Coast
University.
18. Jennifer Nelson. Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
19. Christina Panko. Research Scientist, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research
Reserve, Naples, Florida.
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20. Jessica Phillips. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Tallahassee.
21. Donna Roberts. Self employed, Florida.
22. Jennifer Thera. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Ft. Myers,
Florida.
23. Brenda Thomas. Ph.D. Program, University of Florida.
Financial Support for the Graduate Program
The Florida State University System uses a different nomenclature for graduate student
appointments than is typical. A student with less than 18 credit hours of completed
graduate courses that is employed to teach undergraduates is called a Graduate Assistant
(GA) and that person is not the instructor of record for the course (they must be
supervised by a faculty member). Teaching Assistants (TA) have greater than 18 credit
hours and can teach an undergraduate course independently. The M.S. Environmental
Science program employs teaching Graduate Assistants and not Teaching Assistants.
The program’s GAs assist faculty members with the delivery of a course. Teaching GAs
are supported by funds provided by Academic Affairs through the College of Arts and
Sciences. Each teaching GA award provides a $3000 stipend for a graduate student. The
receiving student is not expected to work more than 20 hours per week for a 15-week
semester for that amount.
In addition, the program employees research GAs. These are also no-more than a 20
hour commitment for a 15-week semester, recipients either assist faculty members in
faculty or faculty-student collaborative research, and are funded either through a
competitive program administered through the Office of Research and Sponsored
Programs (ORSP) or from grant monies awarded to individual faculty members.
Finally on rare occasions graduate students are funded on Research Assistantships that
typically pay $10,000 for the year. These funds come from faculty grants or through a
competitive program administered by ORSP. These latter awards are few in number;
ORSP awards no more than 5 of these per year for all graduate programs. (FGCU has 35
graduate programs among its 5 Colleges.)
Full-time graduate students register for 9 credit hours per semester. In-state tuition
currently costs $249.15 / credit hour. Out-of-state tuition is considerably more expensive
and costs $757.15 / credit hour. (These rates are for tuition only. When ancillary fees are
added, in-state students pay $322.08 / credit hour and out-of-state students pay $1117.08 /
credit hour.) The University provides a modest number of in-state waivers for our
students. The University also offers just 10 out-of-state waivers for all of its 35
programs. Recipients must be employed as GAs, RAs, of TAs for at least 10 hours per
week to qualify. The out-of-state waivers are highly competitive and our program
typically gets 2 or 3 of these per year.
The following Table shows the level of support the program has received through
University funds since the 2004-2005 academic year (dollar amount for in-state waivers,
the number of out-of-state waivers, and GA support from both the University and the
College). These amounts have been relatively static since the 2007-2008 academic year
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while program enrollment grows. Tuition waiver amounts have increased slightly over
this period, but that increase just tracks the inflation in tuition charges – the same number
of students has been supported.
Table: Graduate student support provided to the M.S. Environmental Sciences from
2004-2005 through 2009-2010.
In-state
Waivers
# of
Out-ofstate
Waivers
Year
Waiver
Credits
2004-2005 AY
6 x 18
$19,548
0
0
2005-2006 AY
6.5 x 18
$21,225
0
13
2006-2007 AY
7 x 18
$22,806
1
16
2007-2008 AY
12.59 x 18
$43,069
1
2008-2009 AY
12.44 x 18
$42,547
2009-2010 AY
11.22 x 18
$48,929
Grad
Assts #
AA
Support
CAS
Support
Total
Support
$0
$40,000
$40,000
$7,500
$40,000
$47,500
17
$13,000
$40,000
$53,000
4
16
$7,875
$40,000
$47,875
4
16
$7,875
$40,000
$47,875
In-state waivers are figured at $181 per credit hour for 2006-07, and at $190.05 for 2007-08 and for 2008-09.
Figured at 243.38 per credit hour for 2009-10 request.
Graduate Assistantships are figured at $3,000 each.
Student Theses
The thesis sits at the core of the graduate student experience and provides students with
both the training to become a self-sufficient scientist and the contextual knowledge to be
an expert in some field of environmental or marine sciences. Thesis topics are diverse
and reflect the diversity of our faculty’s expertise and student interest. Notably most
thesis topics have some societal application and are focused upon environmental needs in
Southwest Florida. Below, in order of most to least recent, is a list of completed theses
titles, their authors, and years of completion.
1. Jessica D. Phillips. 2010. Analysis of the university colloquium: developing
students' ecological perspectives.
2. Holly A. Abeels. 2010. Trophic transfer and habitat use of oyster Crassostrea
virginica reefs in Southwest Florida identified using stable isotope analysis.
3. Jorge A. Agobian. 2010. The impact of water management practices in the
Caloosahatchee River: mollusk assemblages as indicators of environmental
change.
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4. Steven G. Cullipher. 2010. Determination of the importance of three reactive
oxygen species in a novel photocatalytic system used to oxidize model organic
toxicants.
5. Paul Julian II. 2010. Habitat selection by the Florida Panther in response to
melaleuca removal within Big Cypress National Preserve.
6. Bethany M. Bachelor. 2010. The influence of freshwater inflow on the
distribution, abundance, and recruitment of oyster-reef commensal decapods in a
Southwest Florida estuary.
7. Geoffrey C. Burgerhoff. 2010. Influence of agency interventions to reduce
residential water use in drought conditions, Collier County Florida 2008.
8. Brian R. Hoye. 2009. Holocene history of the coastal geomorphology of
Everglades National Park: the roles of reef development, tidal pond formation,
and sea-level.
9. Amanda C. Booth. 2009. Preservational analysis of oyster shells on estuarine
reefs: a technique to interpret the history of coastal environmental change.
10. Brenda L. Thomas. 2009. Succession of the plant communities of Fakahatchee
Strand following anthropogenic disturbances.
11. Alicia D. Dixon. 2009. Anuran use of natural wetlands, created pools, and
existing canals within the Picayune Strand Restoration Project.
12. Alison Blanco. 2009. The effect of fire on Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi)
den site selection.
13. Rachel J. Harris. 2008. The effects of tidal restriction on mangrove community
structure and recovery post-hurricane disturbance: revisiting Hurricane Charley
(2004) effects on Sanibel-Captiva, Florida.
14. Brenda Brooks. 2008. Impacts of wildfire on Southwest Florida wetland and
upland habitats invaded by the Australian paperbark tree, Melaleuca
quinquenervia.
15. Derek C.S. Burr. 2008. Impervious surface analysis of the Estero Bay Watershed
in Lee County, Florida.
16. Rhonda J. Holtzclaw. 2008. Does fire history influence the severity of hurricane
impacts on a pine scrub ecosystem?
17. Bradley W. Smith. 2008. Productivity and nest habitat preferences of snowy
plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus) on Sanibel Island, Florida.
18. Donna C. Roberts. 2008. Educating for the total environment: voices of Brazilian
women socio-environmental educators - implications for environmental education
discourse.
19. Sarah W. Davis. 2007. Assessing the benefits of environmental education and its
impact on environmental literacy among exiting fifth graders across economic and
participation spectrum of Lee County public schools, Southwest Florida.
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20. Laurie Coventry Payne. 2007. The lived experience of students who have
successfully completed the university colloquium: an upper division course that
focuses on sustainability.
21. Sasha Linsin Wohlpart. 2007. The development of estuarine systems in Southwest
Florida: a perspective from the lat Holocene history of oyster reef development.
22. Julie Van Horn. 2007. Acute response of the estuarine crab Eurypanopeus
depressus to salinity and desiccation stress.
23. Lindsay M. Addison. 2007. Least tern (Sternula antillarum) colony characteristics
and reproductive success on beaches and rooftops in Southwest Florida.
24. Kevin B. Kaufman. 2006. Catastrophic wind damage and its effect on forest
ecosystems in Southwest Florida.
25. Christina L. Panko. 2006. In vitro and in vivo evaluation of quinine hydrochlorida
as a potential anti-protozoal for the eastern oyster parasite Perkinsus marinus.
26. Laura D. Walls. 2006. Physiological responses to salinity stress in the flatback
mud crab Eurypanopeus depressus.
IX. STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, AND THREATS (SWOT)
ANALYSIS
The SWOT analysis is widely used in higher education and provides a sound
infrastructure for strategic planning. The analysis identifies and discusses implications of
program strengths (S) and weaknesses (W), both of which are internally derived and
therefore within the Program’s control, as well as opportunities (O) and threats (T),
which are functions of external environment and therefore, to varying extents, outside of
the Program’s control.
Strengths
1. Breadth and Depth of the Faculty.
The graduate faculty supporting the program are numerous and diverse in their areas of
expertise. The Marine Science faculty span the physical and biological sciences and
focus their research on estuaries. This leads to logical connections to faculty with
interests higher up in the watershed. The Environmental Studies faculty include people
with science, management, policy, and environmental education interests. Particular
strengths exist in wetland and upland ecology. Virtually all faculty members have active
research programs that concern environmental problems of concern to Southwest Florida.
This provides students with opportunities to conduct applied research, become civically
engaged, and to cultivate relationships with regional employers.
2. Collaborative & Interdisciplinary Faculty.
The M.S. in Environmental Science is housed within an eclectic and highly
interdisciplinary department that includes, in addition to environmental and marine
scientists, physical and cultural anthropologists, earth scientists, physicists, and
astronomers. The faculty are united by interests in the sustainability of natural and
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cultural resources. This has established a department culture of cooperation and
collaboration. Students often work with faculty members across traditional disciplinary
boundaries.
3. Faculty’s Ability to Acquire Extramural Funds.
The graduate faculty members supporting the program are active and accomplished grant
writers. The extramural funds, through the support of student tuition and assistantships,
have resulted in higher enrollment. Those grant monies have also facilitated graduate
student research by providing support for research supplies and travel. Larger awards
(NSF grants, federal appropriations) have been used to purchase laboratory and field
equipment.
4. Community Partnerships.
Because FGCU has become a regional focal point for environmental stewardship and
literacy (these tenets are written into the University’s mission statement) and the
Department’s collective service activities assisting local agencies with environmental
matters, the M.S. program and its supporting faculty have very strong and productive
relationships with governmental agencies, not-for-profits, and consulting firms
undertaking environmental research and management in Southwest Florida. This has
resulted in many advantages for our students and faculty: agencies often provide funds to
support research for projects of mutual interest; our students have paid internship and
future employment opportunities; and regional professionals employed by these agencies
often serve as mentors.
5. Off-Campus Facilities.
FGCU has a number of off-campus facilities that provide additional research space and
opportunities for students and faculty. The Vester Marine and Environmental Science
Research Field Station (described above under Resources) serves as a gateway to habitats
surrounding Estero Bay, the downstream estuary within FGCU’s watershed. Many of the
department’s research activities concern problems associated with the Estero Bay
watershed. In many other instances, Estero Bay serves as a natural laboratory for
experimental research. The Kapnick Education and Research Center, located at the
Naples Botanical Garden (also described above), provides research space and
controllable laboratory facilities for work with plants and vegetative habitats. The
Kapnick Center is also an Opportunity for the program; this facility is relatively new to
the university and its use will continue to grow.
6. Affiliations with the Coastal Watershed Institute and the Florida Institute of
Oceanography.
Many of the Department faculty, particularly the marine scientists, are affiliated with the
Coastal Watershed Institute (CWI). Founded in 2004, the CWI has four main goals: (1) to
address regional concerns regarding the use and conservation of coastal watersheds; (2)
to support undergraduate and graduate education in marine science and coastal watershed
studies; (3) to focus and coordinate university research on coastal environments and the
conservation of natural resources; and (4) to disseminate information to Southwest
Florida citizens to engage and inform them about the health of coastal watersheds and
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related issues. CWI has been well funded through extramural grants and federal
appropriations. Collectively the Institute has supported two full-time laboratory
managers that facilitate field work and manage the operation of the laboratories, a fulltime administrator and grants’ manager, numerous paid student internships, and a small
fleet of small research boats and tow vehicles.
The Florida Institute of Oceanography (FIO) was established by the State University
System (SUS) to support and enhance Florida's coastal marine science, oceanography,
and related management programs through education, research, and public outreach. The
FIO facilitates the activities of educators, scientists, and agencies responding to state,
regional, national, and international issues through provision of centralized facilities and
research vessels. Specifically the Institute: (2) develops and promotes education and
research initiatives, and provides infrastructure for state and regional marine education
and research programs which expand opportunities for the SUS and other members of the
Institute; and (2) supports existing State educational programs and members' research
programs with centrally maintained facilities and research vessels to avoid the
establishment and maintenance of duplicative oceanographic and marine science facilities
and capital equipment. Marine Science faculty routinely utilize FIO ship time for
training students in the use of marine scientific equipment and instrumentation onboard
oceanographic research vessels. FGCU faculty are members of the FIO advisory board.
Weaknesses
1. Low Level of Financial Support for Tuition Waivers and Stipends for Our
Students.
Those graduate students that are supported financially are not supported well, and the
number of students the program is able to support is low. Both are a function the funding
level the program receives. A $3000 stipend as a GAship is far from competitive. Our
best applicants are turning us down and going elsewhere for better financial offers. The
faculty has combated this well through extramural funds, but in these fiscally difficult
times, grant dollars are hard to come by. The program is particularly handicapped by the
budget austerity measures imposed by the State. Much of the research conducted in the
department has traditionally been funded through State monies. Additionally, FGCU has
no fellowship program to offer the most qualified graduate student applicants. It would
be beneficial to offer the occasional student a fellowship to bring them here and allow
them to dedicate their time fully to their education.
This hardship aside, our program remains popular and in high demand for people living
in the 5 county FGCU service area and throughout the State of Florida. The program has
become increasingly more attractive to employed environmental professionals that wish
to go back to school. These students are also quite strong and do well in the program.
2. High Cost of Out-of-State Students.
The high cost of tuition for out-of-state students further complicates our abilities to attract
the highest quality of students from around the country. The number of applicants from
out-of-state destinations continues to increase, but those students are often lost because
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the program can’t provide the out-of-state waiver or, when it can, because more lucrative
stipends are offered elsewhere.
3. Poor Communication Among our Graduate Faculty and Students.
Our department and graduate faculty do a poor job of communicating with our existing
graduate students. Though the program is well constrained by policies and practices, our
students and graduate faculty are not well-informed about these policies and practices.
The problem is further exacerbated by the fact graduate faculty members that support the
program are from other departments or from outside the university. The department
improved its web site considerably this past academic year, and there are some useful
communication tools located there. The department chair is currently working on a
graduate handbook that will eventually be accessible interactively through the web page.
4. Lack of Formal Training on Graduate Student Mentorship for our Faculty.
Further complicating student retention and satisfaction is the need for better mentorship
guidance for our graduate faculty members. Not all of our graduate faculty mentors
provide the guidance and attention our graduate students require. The above-mentioned
handbook is intended for faculty as well as students and will describe the expectations of
a faculty mentor.
Opportunities
1. Partnerships with Bangor University and University of Brest.
The department currently has MOUs with two universities, the University of Bangor,
Wales, and University of Brest, France, that are available to support our graduate students
with research and educational opportunities abroad and with Ph.D. programs to
accommodate our students after completing their M.S. at FGCU. The department hopes
to launch a Ph.D. program of its own at some point in the future. (FGCU is currently
regionally accredited through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools [SACS]
as a professional doctorate degree-granting institution. To become a Ph.D. granting
institution its candidacy would require approval by the State Board of Governors and
reclassification by SACS.) These partnerships provide us with preliminary experience
with Ph.D. level education.
2. Ability to Develop a Ph.D. Program.
The President of FGCU has announced publically that the most likely inaugural Ph.D.
program for the institution would be in one or more aspects of environmental science.
Because of the University’s commitment to environmental stewardship and the
Department’s aligning focus, a Ph.D. program to further our graduate offerings in
environmental science makes logical sense. The graduate faculty supporting the M.S. are
among the most productive scholars at FGCU and have a strong history of integrating
teaching and research within the classroom and through student mentorship.
3. Better Integration with the Department of Biological Sciences.
There is much talent within the Department of Biological Sciences at FGCU with many
faculty with overlapping interests with environmental and marine science. That
department doesn’t currently have a graduate program, though they are in the process of
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proposing one. The Department of Marine and Ecological Sciences does a good job of
integrating disciplines under its purview in support of the M.S. Though some faculty
members in Biological Sciences do regularly serve as graduate faculty for our program,
participation is limited. Admittedly there is reservation among some Marine and
Ecological Sciences’ faculty members about spreading thin the limited resources we have
for graduate student support. This problem could be solved with greater financial
investment into the program and with a dedicated effort for better integration.
Threats
1. Continual Growth and Expansion of Existing and New Graduate Programs.
As FGCU continues to grow its enrollment and faculty, more graduate programs will be
created. Currently the M.S. Environmental Science, combined with the relatively young
M.A. Environmental Studies, is the only graduate education option within the sciences at
FGCU. (There is now also a M.S. in Mathematics.) Resources provided to the College
of Arts and Sciences in support of graduate programs have not increased as the College’s
own graduate programs have grown in number. Consequently there is the fear of
receiving smaller portions of available resources as growth continues.
2. Graduate Faculty Rewards for Mentorship.
Graduate faculty, regardless of how many graduate (and undergraduate) students they
mentor, carry the same teaching responsibilities as non-graduate faculty members.
Admittedly graduate student mentors do benefit from the scholarship that working with
students often generates, but effective mentorship and supervision of students takes time
and care. Some reward system should be developed for those graduate faculty members
investing large amounts of time mentoring students.
3. Rising Cost of In- and Out-of-state Graduate Tuition.
As the State of Florida continues to deal with budgetary shortfalls, its support of public
institutions of higher education will continue to shrink. To accommodate these losses,
FGCU has increased its tuition for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Presumably tuition will continue to rise annually for some period of time. This rise in
cost, particularly for out-of-state students, will continue to ill-effect our abilities to recruit
students.
X. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PROGRAM CHANGES
Preparation of this self study has highlighted a number of challenges and needs for
further improvement of the program. Below is a short list of objectives and suggested
changes for the program’s consideration.
•
Improve communication with and advising of graduate students. Our students
need to be better informed about the graduate education experience while entering
and tracking through the program. Policies, best practices, and advice should be
readily available and should conform to the current social and communication
media frequented by students. Our improved web page with its “student
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opportunity” blog is a good example. The plan to develop an interactive, webaccessible graduate student and faculty handbook and the implementation of some
orientation materials for both entering students and graduate faculty are other
worthwhile measures.
•
Streamlining the Curriculum. Assuming our faculty continues to grow at a rate
faster than our graduate student body, it will be increasingly difficult to
accommodate faculty desires to teach new and more numerous graduate courses.
(Our graduate faculty teach across the undergraduate and graduate curriculum; the
needs to teach at the undergraduate level increase enormously while graduate
level enrollment remains relatively static.) To overcome this problem, the
department offers many co-listed courses, those offered at both the upper division
undergraduate and graduate levels. Though graduate students do receive
additional attention in those courses (an additional contact hour is provided to
graduate students and differing expectations for student performance exist), both
graduate and undergraduate students are not best served by this arrangement. A
potential solution might be a complete revision of the graduate curriculum where
a few core courses are offered, with graduate faculty sharing or team teaching
these classes and specialty courses are eliminated or taught through some
independent means.
•
Better Use of Kapnick Center. The Kapnick Center, at the Naples Botanical
Garden, is an under-utilized facility, but holds great promise for our students and
faculty. The Department is currently looking to hire the Sproul Chair, an
endowed position that will serve as the Center’s Director and eminent scholar.
With that person’s expertise and vision, the Kapnick Center has the potential to
become a nationally recognized facility.
APPENDICES
Appendix A: University and Department Credentialing Criteria for Graduate Faculty
Status
Appendix B: Last 2 Biennial Program Assessments, Years 2008 and 2011
Appendix C: Procedure for Graduate Student Admission and Awarding of Financial
Assistance
Appendix D: Graduate Program Guidelines, March 2009
Appendix E: New Policies Document, February 2011
Appendix A: University and Department Credentialing Criteria for Graduate Faculty
Status
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Approved by Faculty Senate Sept 5, 2008
Florida Gulf Coast University
Graduate Affairs Team
Graduate Faculty Appointment and Review Policy
I.
Purpose for Appointment and Review of Graduate Faculty
The quality of the graduate degrees granted by Florida Gulf Coast University
depends upon the qualifications and expertise of the faculty members involved in
the university's graduate programs. The policies and procedures below are
designed to ensure that faculty members appointed to Graduate Faculty
membership meet the high academic and professional standards expected of those
participating in Master's- and Doctoral-level programs. In addition, these policies
and procedures are designed to ensure that Florida Gulf Coast University’s
graduate programs will meet the standards of the university’s regional accrediting
body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
II.
Categories, Functions, and Qualifications of Membership
The four categories of membership are Member, Associate Member, Graduate
Adjunct Member, and Special Associate Member. An individual may be
recommended for Graduate Faculty membership on the basis of his or her
college’s Graduate Faculty appointment criteria and standards. Colleges are
expected to measure candidates carefully and critically against their appointment
criteria and standards before sending recommendations forward.
Each college must develop and maintain written criteria and standards for
Graduate Faculty membership. In doing so, a college may elect either to adopt
the criteria and standards listed below or to adopt more stringent and/or detailed
criteria and standards. A college also may elect either to adopt uniform criteria
and standards for all of its graduate programs or to accommodate program-level
differences in criteria and standards, provided that in all cases these meet or
exceed the minimum standards listed below. These college criteria and standards
shall be reviewed by the unit's academic dean, the Graduate Affairs Team, and the
Director of Graduate Studies in the order indicated before being forwarded to the
Provost. Each reviewer shall forward the proposed college criteria and standards
with recommendation to the next reviewer, with the final determination made by
the Provost. Criteria and standards that have received final approval shall be kept
on file in the Office of Academic Affairs and shall be reviewed every five years.
The university's criteria and minimum standards for Graduate Faculty
membership are as follows:
A.
Member Status.
1.
Functions
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2.
B.
a. Teach 5000-, 6000-, and 7000-level courses.
b. Serve as committee member for Dissertations,
Master's theses, and other culminating graduate
projects or exams.
c. Direct Dissertations, Master's theses, and other
graduate-level culminating projects.
Qualifications
a. Faculty appointment and rank: full-time permanent
appointment at Associate or Full Professor rank, or at the
Assistant Professor rank for faculty members approved
according to the procedures in Section III-C below.
b. Education: terminal degree in the graduate program's
discipline or in a closely-related discipline; terminal degree
in an unrelated discipline acceptable in exceptional cases if
the faculty member provides evidence of significant and
ongoing research or other appropriate creative activities in
the graduate program’s discipline.
c. Scholarly productivity: evidence of mature, independent
research or other appropriate creative activities continuing
to the present. Such evidence may take the form of
published books, scholarly monographs, articles in refereed
or other appropriate journals, presentations, externally
funded grants, technical reports, consultantships, artistic
creations or musical compositions, or other significantly
scholarly and professional activities.
d. Teaching: evidence of effectiveness in graduate-level
teaching. Evidence of graduate teaching effectiveness
should include both student evaluations and an evaluation
of teaching effectiveness by the faculty member's
department/division supervisor. Evidence may also include
teaching awards, successful instructional innovation grants,
student accomplishments, guidance of graduate students'
research projects, peer reviews, innovations in course
design or delivery, publications in the area of pedagogy, or
other quantitative or qualitative evidence as determined by
the faculty member’s college.
e. Professional Service: a record of participation in one or
more professional organizations related to the academic
field of specialization.
Associate Member Status
1.
Functions
a. Teach 5000-, 6000-, and 7000-level courses.
b. Serve as committee member for Dissertations,
Master's theses, and other culminating graduate
projects or exams.
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C.
c. Direct Master's theses and other Master's-level
culminating projects.
d. In exceptional cases and if recommended by a unit’s
academic dean, the university may authorize
additional functions for an Associate Member. The
academic dean’s recommendation, accompanied by
an updated copy of the faculty member’s vita, must
be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for
review and final decision.
2.
Qualifications
a. Faculty appointment and rank: full-time permanent
appointment at Assistant Professor rank or higher.
b. Education: terminal degree in the graduate program's
discipline or in a closely-related discipline; terminal degree
in an unrelated discipline acceptable in exceptional cases if
the faculty member provides evidence of significant and
ongoing research or other appropriate creative activities in
the graduate program’s discipline; non-terminal Masterslevel degree in the graduate program’s discipline or in a
closely-related discipline acceptable in exceptional cases if
the faculty member provides evidence of significant and
sustained professional and/or scholarly achievements in the
graduate program’s discipline.
c. Scholarly productivity: evidence of having made significant
progress toward the development of mature, independent
research or other appropriate creative activities. Such
evidence may take the form of published books, scholarly
monographs, articles in refereed or other appropriate
journals, externally funded grants, presentations, technical
reports, consultantships, artistic creations or musical
compositions, or other significantly scholarly and
professional activities.
d. Teaching: evidence of effectiveness in college-level
teaching. Evidence of teaching effectiveness should
include both student evaluations and an evaluation of
teaching effectiveness by the faculty member's
department/division supervisor. Evidence may also include
teaching awards, successful instructional innovation grants,
student accomplishments, guidance of graduate students'
research projects, peer reviews, innovations in course
design or delivery, publications in the area of pedagogy, or
other quantitative or qualitative evidence as determined by
the faculty member’s college.
Adjunct Member Status
1.
Functions
a. Teach 5000- and 6000-level courses.
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D.
III.
b. Serve as committee member for Dissertations,
Master's theses, and other culminating graduate
projects or exams.
c. In exceptional cases and if recommended by a unit’s
academic dean, the university may authorize
additional functions for an Adjunct Member. The
academic dean’s recommendation, accompanied by
an updated copy of the faculty member’s vita, must
be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for
review and final decision.
2.
Qualifications
a. Appointment in one of the following categories: visiting
faculty employed on a full-time basis; faculty employed on
a part-time basis; lecturers and instructors; non-teaching
staff members; other qualified professionals with expertise
in a scholarly discipline or professional field.
b. Education: terminal degree or strong and sustained
professional experience in an appropriate field.
c. Teaching: college-level teaching experience and/or strong
and sustained professional experience in an appropriate
field.
Special Associate Member Status
1.
Functions
a. Teach 5000-, 6000-, and 7000-level courses.
b. Serve as committee member for Dissertations,
Master's theses, and other culminating graduate
projects or exams.
c. In exceptional cases and if recommended by a unit’s
academic dean, the university may authorize
additional functions for a Special Associate
Member. The academic dean’s recommendation,
accompanied by an updated copy of the faculty
member’s vita, must be submitted to the Director of
Graduate Studies for review and final decision.
2.
Qualifications: see Section IV-B below.
Procedures for Appointment to the Graduate Faculty
A.
Graduate Faculty Member status shall be awarded to faculty members at
Full or Associate Professor rank if they meet their unit’s graduate faculty
standards, upon recommendation by their unit’s academic dean and
approval by the Director of Graduate Studies. The academic dean’s
written recommendation, accompanied by an updated copy of the faculty
member’s vita, must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for
review and final decision.
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B.
C.
D.
E.
Graduate Faculty Associate Member status shall be awarded to faculty
members at Assistant Professor rank if they meet their unit’s graduate
faculty standards, upon recommendation by their unit’s academic dean and
approval by the Director of Graduate Studies. The academic dean’s
written recommendation, accompanied by an updated copy of the faculty
member’s vita, must be submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies for
review and final decision.
Graduate Faculty Member status may be awarded to Assistant Professors
if they meet their unit’s standards for Member status, are recommended by
their unit’s academic dean, and are approved by the Director of Graduate
Studies. The academic dean’s recommendation, accompanied by an
updated copy of the faculty member’s vita, must be submitted to the
Director of Graduate Studies for review and final decision.
Adjunct Member status may be awarded to individuals if they meet the
appointing unit’s graduate faculty standards, upon recommendation by the
unit’s academic dean and approval by the Director of Graduate Studies.
The academic dean’s written recommendation, which must include a list
of the specific teaching assignments and/or other academic responsibilities
slated for the prospective Adjunct Member, must be submitted along with
an updated vita to the Director of Graduate Studies for review and final
decision. An Adjunct Member appointment shall continue for one year
from the date of final approval. Requests for subsequent Adjunct Member
appointments must follow this same process.
Graduate Programs must review faculty members regularly for
reappointment to the Graduate Faculty. The following policies and
procedures shall govern this process:
1.
A Member or Associate Member with a continuing contract
appointment must be reviewed every seven years. The
department/division supervisor shall conduct an assessment of the
faculty member’s eligibility for reappointment to the Graduate
Faculty, based on the college’s appointment criteria and standards,
and shall submit a written recommendation for Graduate Faculty
reappointment or non-reappointment to the unit’s academic dean.
The academic dean’s written recommendation, accompanied by an
updated copy of the faculty member’s vita, must be submitted to
the Director of Graduate Studies for review and final decision.
2.
A Member or Associate Member with a fixed-term multi-year
appointment must be reviewed in the penultimate contract year in
conjunction with his or her successive appointment review. The
department/division supervisor's preliminary successive
appointment evaluation of the faculty member must include an
assessment of his or her eligibility for reappointment to the
Graduate Faculty, based on the college’s appointment criteria and
standards. Additionally, the department/division supervisor must
submit a separate written recommendation for Graduate Faculty
reappointment or non-reappointment to the unit’s academic dean.
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3.
IV.
V.
The academic dean’s written recommendation, accompanied by an
updated copy of the faculty member’s vita, must be submitted to
the Director of Graduate Studies for review and final decision.
A Member or Associate Member with a tenure appointment must
be reviewed every seven years in conjunction with his or her
sustained performance evaluation. The department/division
supervisor's preliminary sustained performance evaluation of the
faculty member must include an assessment of his or her eligibility
for reappointment to the Graduate Faculty, based on the program's
appointment criteria and standards. Additionally, the
department/division supervisor must submit a separate written
recommendation for Graduate Faculty reappointment or nonreappointment to the unit’s academic dean. The academic dean’s
written recommendation, accompanied by an updated copy of the
faculty member’s vita, must be submitted to the Director of
Graduate Studies for review and final decision.
Resignation, Retirement, and Termination of Graduate Faculty Membership
A.
A Member, Associate Member, Adjunct Member, or Special Associate
Member may resign voluntarily from the Graduate Faculty by submitting a
letter of resignation to the Director of Graduate Studies, with copies to his
or her supervisor and academic dean.
B.
A Member or Associate Member who resigns or retires from the university
is automatically terminated from membership in the Graduate Faculty
unless the faculty member's academic dean recommends that the faculty
member retain his or her membership as a Special Associate Member. In
such cases the academic dean’s written recommendation must specify a
period of up to seven years for continued membership on this basis. The
academic dean’s written recommendation, accompanied by an updated
copy of the faculty member’s vita, must be submitted to the Director of
Graduate Studies for review and final decision.
C.
A college may request to have a Member, Associate Member, Adjunct
Member, or Special Associate Member removed from the Graduate
Faculty if the faculty member has been grossly negligent and/or
ineffective in the performance of his or her responsibilities. In such cases
the faculty member’s supervisor must submit a written recommendation
for removal. The supervisor's recommendation must be reviewed first by
the unit's academic dean and then by the Director of Graduate Studies
before being forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Each
reviewer shall forward his or her recommendation to the next reviewer,
with the final determination made by the Vice President for Academic
Affairs.
Appeals Procedure
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Any faculty member wishing to appeal decisions made pursuant to these policies
and procedures must notify the Director of Graduate Studies in writing and submit
relevant information in support of his or her appeal. The Director of Graduate
Studies shall notify the appropriate academic dean, the Graduate Affairs Team,
and the Vice President for Academic Affairs when such an appeal has been
submitted. The appeal shall be reviewed by the faculty member's academic dean,
the Graduate Affairs Team, and the Director of Graduate Studies in the order
indicated before being forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Each reviewer shall forward the appeal (including all supporting documentation
attached by the faculty member) with recommendation to the next reviewer, with
the final determination made by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
VI.
Amendments to the Policy
The Graduate Affairs Team may periodically review and recommend
amendments to this policy, in order both to promote the quality and integrity of
the university’s graduate programs and to ensure consistency with the standards
of the university’s regional accrediting body, the Southern Association of
Colleges and Schools. Recommendations to amend the policy require a simple
majority vote by a quorum consisting of at least 50% + 1 of the Graduate Affairs
Team’s eligible voting members. Recommendations shall be submitted to the
Faculty Senate for review prior to being forwarded to the FGCU Provost or
designee.
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QUALIFICATIONS FOR GRADUATE FACULTY MEMBERSHIP
COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
FLORIDA GULF COAST UNIVERSITY
September 18, 2008
The College recognizes three levels of appointment to its Graduate Faculty: a Full
Member, an Associate Member, and an Adjunct Member. The following qualifications
must be met to join the Graduate Faculty:
• Full Member
o Evidence of current (within the last 3 years), widelydisseminated, peer-reviewed scholarship*;
o Full-time permanent appointment at Associate or Full Professor
rank**;
o Evidence of effectiveness in graduate level teaching and/or
mentoring, such as serving on thesis or dissertation committees
or guiding graduate students’ research projects.
• Associate Member
o Evidence of current (within the last 3 years), widelydisseminated, peer-reviewed scholarship*;
o Full-time permanent appointment at Assistant, Associate, or Full
Professor rank***;
• Adjunct Member
o A terminal degree and/or expertise or experience in an
appropriate field
Any CAS Graduate Faculty member may serve on graduate student committees, each of
which must be composed of at least 2 College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Faculty
members. Only Associate or Full Members may chair graduate thesis committees, and
only Full Members may chair dissertation committees. All thesis and dissertation
committees must include at least 2 committee members with Associate or Full Member
status.
To initially apply for CAS Graduate Faculty status, a candidate must submit an academic
vita to the CAS Graduate Affairs Committee. Associates may reapply for full
membership once they have taught graduate courses and/or served on graduate thesis or
dissertation committees or guided student research projects. In addition, each Associate
and Full Graduate Faculty member must submit an application for reappointment after 7
years of service for continued membership in the CAS Graduate Faculty. Adjunct
members must reapply every year.
*Scholarship will be broadly defined according to the CAS PECAP document.
** or at Assistant Professor rank for faculty members approved according to the
procedures in Section III-C of the FGCU GAT Graduate Faculty Appointment and
Review Policy
***Exceptional cases may be approved according to the procedures in Section II-B of
the FGCU GAT Graduate Faculty Appointment and Review Policy
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Appendix B: Last 2 Biennial Program Assessments, Years 2008 and 2011
PROGRAM ASSESSMENT FORM
(FORMERLY THE PROGRAM ASSESSMENT AND ANALYSIS REPORTING FORM)
Name of Program: M. S. in Environmental science
Name of Program Leader: Aswani Volety
Date: January 29, 2008
LEARNING OUTCOME(S)
Identify the learning outcome(s) that you are measuring. (University learning outcomes
are in parentheses).
A Understanding of and ability to apply the scientific method, and capacity to design and
conduct a relevant research investigation using qualitative and quantitative techniques
[Critical Thinking, Effective Communication, Leadership Skills, Continuing Learning]
B Ability to understand and apply systems analysis and simulation modeling techniques to
environmental education, management, or research [Critical Thinking, Professional &
Technical Expertise]
ASSESSMENT PLAN
Name and brief description of the instruments/rubrics. (Attach a copy of the instrument to
this document if appropriate).
The Master of Science in Environmental Science is assessed and measured in the
following ways: Preparation and review of the research proposal, completion and defense of
thesis. A rubric was developed to assess critical thinking, professional & technical expertise
and communication skills (see attached) using the research proposal as a vehicle. We are
specifically focusing on the use of appropriate scientific terminology, rationale for the study,
formulation of research question and hypotheses, methods and approach used, and how
results are analyzed, interpreted and summary / conclusions made from the thesis. Also,
completion and defense of thesis in a timely fashion (2-3 years for a full-time student and 35 years for a part-time student) is also being used as an assessment tool. We wish to have all
the students score 3 or more on a scale of 1-5 in all the areas mentioned in the attached
rubric.
Brief description of what is to be assessed/measured.
1. Preparation and review of research proposal. − Masters students in Environmental
Science are required to submit a research proposal or prospectus that is reviewed and
accepted by their graduate committee. These proposals are first developed as part of the
course Environmental Research Methodology (EVR 6022), generally taken during the
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student’s second semester of graduate study. Some of these proposals are then
presented directly to the students’ advisors and thesis committee members for review;
others are developed further before submittal as a thesis proposal or prospectus. During
each assessment period, these proposals will be collected and distributed for review by
a committee of internal (and occasionally external) graduate faculty and research
scientists. A Proposal Review Rubric is used in order to standardize the evaluation
process.
2.
Completion and defense of thesis. − Each graduate of the program must successfully
write and defend a research thesis. Thesis committees consist of three graduate faculty
members and commonly a committee contains scientists from outside the university
with adjunct graduate faculty status. Theses are heavily scrutinized and critiqued for
scientific format, research design and methodology, accuracy of interpretation, and
style and mechanics of presentation. This therefore is the most helpful metric of the
program’s effectiveness. The first successful thesis defense in the program was carried
out in Fall 2005. To date we have 8 students who have successfully completed their
research project, defended their thesis and submitted the final copy of the revised copy
of the thesis to the library. .
Date(s) of administration.
Jan 1, 2006 – Jan 31, 2008.
Sample (number of students, % of class, level, demographics).
M. S. in Environmental Science is a new program and is based on experimental or field
research that is time intensive. Given the nature of the program, only eight students have
graduated to date. The following assessments are based on six student prospectus. For
this reason, assessments were carried out only on six students for this round. Several
other students are close to completing their prospectus in the Spring semester of 2008 and
we anticipate that several more students will graduate in the coming year. Out of the six
students who were assessed, four were female and two were male. The eight students
who graduated are gainfully employed or attending a Ph. D program. Out of the eight, 4
are employed at a University, one is attending a graduate school, one is with a state
agency, three are with environmental consulting companies. Seven of the above students
are female one is a male. All the students who graduated have done so within three years
of enrolling into the program.
DATA ANALYSIS
Analysis and summary of findings.
Five out of six students scored a minimum of 3 or above in the categories mentioned in
the assessment tool. One student scored 2 in the methods and data analyses section of the
proposal. However, it should be cautioned that the student proposal is in revision and we
anticipate that the score in this category will increase. These results should be used with
caution given the small sample size.
USE OF ASSESSMENT FINDINGS TO IMPROVE STUDENT LEARNING
Recommended changes based on assessment findings. Include plan for sending
substantive changes to department/college/university curriculum teams.
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Previously, the Environmental Research Methodology course was offered as a co-listed
class with upper-level undergraduate class. Based on student comments that more could
be accomplished by having a graduate-only class, as well as the assessment that was
conducted in 2006-2007, a separate course was developed and refined and was offered in
the Spring of 2007. This course was duly revised based on the student comments and
instructor evaluation of the students to provide sample data sets for statistical analyses.
We will wait for student input and comments from this class and make any modifications
to the course content, if necessary.
Describe how data and recommendations were shared with faculty. (Attach a copy of
minutes to this document if applicable).
Emphasis on experimental design and analyses using natural systems examples was
already communicated to faculty and a new course put in place (see above).
Send completed form to Jim Wohlpart (wohlpart@fgcu.edu) by February 1, 2007 or placed in the
CAS LT moray share folder: \\Fgcu-moray\aaas\CAS Leadership
Team\Assessment\2006\Annual Program Reviews.
Scoring Rubric for M. S. in Environmental Science Thesis or Prospectus
SCORING CRITERIA
1
2
3
4
5
Abstract
abstract not
provided
abstract is provided,
but is not clear and
easily understandable
abstract is clear and
understandable but is
incomplete
abstract is clear,
understandable,
complete but
excessively long
abstract is clear,
understandable,
complete, succinct
and generates
interest
Use of
scientific
terminology
language informal too little use of the
language and
concepts of marine
/ Environmental
science
Language
demonstrates basic
knowledge from the
core scientific
disciplines; however,
some Incorrect use of
scientific terms
Language demonstrates
basic knowledge from
the core scientific
disciplines; however,
excessive use of jargon,
acronyms not defined
Language
demonstrates basic
knowledge from the
core scientific
disciplines; jargon is
minimized and all
acronyms defined.
Introduction
provides
information
unrelated to the
study.
introduction and
background that is
only peripherally
related to the study
provides information
related to the study; but
gives too much
information
Language
demonstrates basic
knowledge from the
core scientific
disciplines;
appropriate use of
jargon, but acronyms
not defined
provides adequate
background, using a
broad range of
information;
justification for the
study is more than
adequate
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presents rationale
and significance of
research in the form
of a well structured,
logical argument.
44
Research question is
written as a testable
relationship (which
includes the specific
variables and the time
span), and includes a
null hypothesis which
specifies exactly what
variables are to be
measured and
analyzed.
Methods are written
clearly (to allow
replication), will
provide data that
answers the research
questions - student
has revised
methodology and
improved on a useful
tool for future
research
Research
question and
hypothesis
Research question
or hypothesis is not
provided.
States a vague,
untestable research
question.
question is testable, but
not clear
Hypothesis is
testable and
understandable, may
or may not be written
as a null hypotheses
or specify what
variables are being
measured or
analyzed.
Methods
Methods not
provided
Methods are clear but
does not address the
research question.
Methods will answer
question but are unclear
Methods are written
clearly and
specifically enough so
that you could
replicate the
investigation.
Methods will provide
data that answers the
research questions,
can be tied to existing
data, and allows for
comparisons.
Approach
Approach is
unimaginative and
outdated
Approach is
unimaginative but up
to date
approach adequately
developed, wellintegrated, and
appropriate to the aims
of the project
Applies basic
knowledge from the
core scientific
disciplines in an
interdisciplinary
fashion in formulating
this approach for the
resolution of this realworld problem
Approach is unique or
innovative - challenge
existing paradigms ;
yet acknowledges
potential problem
areas and considers
alternative approach
Results
No data provided
Data provided does
not address problem
or lead to statistical
analysis.Tables and
graphs are labeled
incorrectly.
Data are recorded, but
not organized as
effectively as they could
be, and it is difficult to
determine metadata for
the data.
Data are recorded in
multiple formats
(tables and graphs).
There is a description
of the analysis and
statistical tests
performed.
Data are recorded in
an organized manner
that show trends. A
rationale is provided
for determining the
kind of analysis
performed and the
statistical tests
conducted to
determine the
significance of the
results.
Conclusions
Conclusions are
inconsistent with
data provided
The conclusion is
based on the data
presented but
inadequately
supported by
statistical analysis
The conclusion
statement is based on
the data presented and
the statistical analysis
conducted, but student
appears to only partial
understand the
implications of the
results and does not
place them into context
of currently accepted
paradigm
The conclusion
statement is worded
so that the null
hypothesis is either
accepted or rejected;
provides relevant
external evidence to
support conclusions.
The conclusion
statement is worded
so that the null
hypothesis is either
accepted or rejected;
provides relevant
external evidence to
support conclusions.
Implications and
remaining
uncertainties were
expressed;
References
references not
provided
references provided
but improperly cited
references cited properly
but some were nonscientific sources or
were out of date
references cited
properly and most
were reliable scientific
sources
All reference were
reliable, up-to-date
scientific sources and
cited properly
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PROGRAM ASSESSMENT FORM
Name of Program: M.S. in Environmental Science
Name of Program Leader: Michael Savarese
Date: May 17, 2011
LEARNING OUTCOME(S)
Identify the learning outcome(s) that you are measuring.
The previous biennial assessment, dated February, 2008, assessed outcomes A) and B).
These two outcomes have remained relatively unchanged through the IPM revision.
Outcome A) will be revisited here. Outcome B) was assessed and redressed through the
2008 report by modifying the structure and content of the Environmental Research
Methodology course: the course now stands alone, no longer a colisted course with the
undergraduate Scientific Process course, and emphasizes experimental design and statistical
analysis. Outcome B) will be briefly revisited here. Outcome C), effective communication,
will be assessed for the first time in this review.
A) An understanding of, and the ability to apply, the scientific method, and the
capacity to design and conduct a relevant research investigation using qualitative
and/or quantitative techniques.
B) Mastery of appropriate methodologies (to include one or more of: statistical
analyses, geographic information systems, field and laboratory techniques,
system’s analysis and simulation modeling).
C) Develop skills and experience in communication of concepts of the field of study,
and of methods and results of research in the environmental field, at an advanced
level.
ASSESSMENT PLAN
Name and brief description of the instruments/rubrics. (Attach a copy of the instrument to
this document if appropriate).
The Master of Science in Environmental Science is assessed and measured in the
following ways: (1) preparation and review of the research proposal, and (2) completion and
defense of thesis. A new set of rubrics was developed in Fall, 2010 to better assess critical
thinking and effective communication (see attached) at two access points: early in a
student’s research development when crafting a research proposal, and again at the end when
the thesis is produced and defended in a public forum. Direct assessments are accomplished
by asking graduate faculty, not on a student’s research committee, to evaluate the proposal,
and by having committee members evaluate the defense presentation and the thesis itself
(both for outcomes A, B, C). Indirect assessments occur through a student’s review of his or
her own proposal and their defense presentation (also both for outcomes A, B, C).
The research proposal is comparable to the style and rigor of a National Science
Foundation research proposal that is typically written and finalized within a graduate
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student’s second semester of their first year (if a part time student, after the first 9 credit
hours are completed). Proposals are most commonly drafted in some preliminary form as
part of Environmental Research Methodology course (EVR 6022), and then later refined
with the student’s committee. The proposal requires that: (1) a research question and
hypothesis be crafted and substantiated, (2) a thorough literature review be completed, (3) a
comprehensive research design is generated, (4) a methodology is defined and skillfully
mastered, and (5) a well-written document is produced. Outcome A is addressed through 15; outcome B through 3 & 4; and outcome C through 1 & 5. The defense is scheduled at a
point when the thesis committee is happy with the content and structure of the thesis, but
perhaps before the final edits is undertaken. The oral presentation and the question and
answer session that follows reflects their mastery of outcome C. The composition of the
written thesis provides a renewed look at all outcomes at the point the student is graduating
and transitioning as a professional. The thesis defense and completion typically occurs
within 2-3 years for a full-time student and 3-5 years for a part-time student.
Successful achievement of an outcome is defined as 70% of students scoring 3 or better
(on a scale of 1-4) on the rubric for both the direct and indirect assessments.
Brief description of what is to be assessed/measured.
The Critical Thinking rubric for the proposal grades 5 areas. Those areas and their
respective outcomes are as follows:
Q1: Explanation of issues – outcome C.
Q2: Evidence – outcomes A, B.
Q3: Influence of context & assumptions – outcomes A, C.
Q4: Student’s research design – outcomes A, B.
Q5: Implications, significance, and consequences – outcomes A, C.
The Critical Thinking rubric for the thesis grades 5 areas. Those areas and their
respective outcomes are as follows:
Q1: Explanation of issues – outcome C.
Q2: Evidence – outcomes A, B.
Q3: Influence of context & assumptions – outcomes A, C.
Q4: Student’s position – outcomes A, B.
Q5: Conclusions & related outcomes – outcome A, C.
The Oral Communication rubric for the thesis defense grades 5 areas. Those areas and
their respective outcomes are as follows:
Q1: Organization – outcome C.
Q2: Language – outcome C.
Q3: Delivery – outcomes A, C.
Q4: Supporting material – outcomes A, B.
Q5: Central message – outcomes A, C.
The Written Communication rubric for the proposal AND thesis grades 5 areas. Those
areas and their respective outcomes are as follows:
Q1: Context of & purpose of writing – outcome C.
Q2: Content development – outcomes A, C.
Q3: Genre & disciplinary conventions – outcomes A, C.
Q4: Sources & evidence – outcomes A, B.
Q5: Control of syntax & mechanics – outcome C.
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Date(s) of administration and sample size:
Graduate student research proposals:
• 13 graduate student proposals were reviewed dating from 2006 – 2010. 3 faculty
members reviewed each student proposal, generating 3 scores for each question
on the rubric; those 3 scores were averaged for each student.
• The 13 averaged scores for each question are reported. An average score of 3 or
higher for each student on a given question is counted as a success; an average
score of less than 3 is counted as a failure.
Thesis defense:
• Assessment of theses defenses began this academic year. 3 student defenses
have been evaluated.
• In addition, indirect assessment of the defense was conducted by the students
themselves.
• These results are included within this report.
Thesis evaluation:
• Assessment of theses for Critical Thinking and Written Communication began
this academic year. Only 2 students have been evaluated. Consequently these
results are not being reported herein.
DATA ANALYSIS
Outcome A: An understanding of, and the ability to apply, the scientific method, and the
capacity to design and conduct a relevant research investigation using qualitative and/or
quantitative techniques.
Outcome A is assessed both during the student’s midpoint, when the proposal is
prepared, and again at the end of their term during the construction and defense of their
thesis. Aspects of the scientific method, including research design, and the application of
quantitative and qualitative techniques, are reflected within the Proposal and evaluated
using the Critical Thinking rubric (questions 2-5) and the Written Communication rubric
(questions 2-5). The student’s performance during the Thesis Defense, as evaluated by
the Oral Communication rubric (questions 3-5), serves as a measure of their use of the
scientific method at the close of their educational experience. (The Written
Communication and Critical Thinking rubrics with respect to the Thesis have yet to
generate a sizeable dataset for analysis.)
Average scores for all questions on both Proposal rubrics are consistently high,
yielding > 70% success rates, in most cases significantly highly. Similarly, success rates
for this outcome with respect to the Thesis Defense are at 100%, though sample size is
very low with just 3 reviews of thesis defenses. Interestingly, student self assessment is
more critical with success rates falling to 67% on two rubric questions. Again, little
value should be taken from this statistic since there is a sample size of 3.
There is no indication of a problem with respect to this outcome. All indicators
suggest student understanding of the scientific method is strong.
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Outcome B: Mastery of appropriate methodologies (to include one or more of: statistical
analyses, geographic information systems, field and laboratory techniques, system’s
analysis and simulation modeling).
Mastery of methodologies is best reflected by question 4 (Research Design) in the
Critical Thinking rubric applied to the Proposal and by question 4 (Supporting Material)
in the Oral Communication rubric applied to the Thesis Defense.
The Proposal Research Design question and the Thesis Defense Supporting
Material question had a 92% and 100% success rate respectively. No problem is
indicated. Unfortunately, the very general nature of these questions does not permit a
direct assessment of particular methodological aspects of concern. In the subsequent
section I will recommend that quantitative methods, a problem area identified on
previous biennial reports but assessed using a very different metric, be re-evaluated in the
next iteration.
Outcome C: Develop skills and experience in communication of concepts of the field of
study, and of methods and results of research in the environmental field, at an advanced
level.
Oral communication skills are only assessed at the end of student’s graduate experience
when they publicly defend their thesis. Only 3 defenses have been assessed to date. 100%
success rates are achieved on all rubric questions. Students, again, are more critical of their own
oral presentations.
Written communication is assessed twice, at the curricular midpoint when the Proposal is
composed and at the end when the Thesis is prepared. Communication is evaluated for the
Proposal by the following questions of the Critical Thinking rubric: 1 (Explanation), 2
(Evidence), 3 (Influence of Context), and 5 (Implications). Success rates were 92%, 85%, 92%,
and 77% respectively, all above the 70% success metric. Additionally written communication is
evaluated for the Proposal by the following questions of the Written Communication rubric: 1
(Context & Purpose), 2 (Content Development), 3 (Discipline Conventions), and 5 (Syntax &
Mechanics. All questions score 92% or higher.
Only 2 written theses have been formally evaluated, so no assessment data on written
communication are available for this stage of the graduate experience.
USE OF ASSESSMENT FINDINGS TO IMPROVE STUDENT LEARNING
(Recommendations for future assessment are highlighted in blue.)
Outcome A: An understanding of, and the ability to apply, the scientific method, and the
capacity to design and conduct a relevant research investigation using qualitative and/or
quantitative techniques.
The proposals generated by graduate students, thesis defenses we’ve hosted, and the
composition of the thesis, as reflected by the assessments completed to date, are truly remarkable
pieces of science. We can rest assured that our students are receiving a strong working
knowledge of the scientific method. This is perhaps the most essential outcome for our students:
it provides a sense of our students’ abilities to function as independent scientists in the profession
of their choosing.
Because of the premier value of this outcome to our students’ future successes, the
program should continue reviewing proposals, thesis defenses, and the theses themselves as a
permanent check on this outcome.
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Outcome B: Mastery of appropriate methodologies (to include one or more of: statistical
analyses, geographic information systems, field and laboratory techniques, system’s
analysis and simulation modeling).
Though no problem is indicated, previous assessments noted that our students’ abilities to
successfully construct a research design and apply and interpret statistical methods were
compromised. The redesign of the Environmental Research Methodology course (i.e., a separate
section from the course offered to undergraduates, bolstering of the curriculum in these areas)
was undertaken to meet this challenge. Unfortunately, our current assessment strategies and
rubrics don’t specifically address these student skills. We have anecdotal evidence that these
changes are successful (from casual student and faculty feedback and from student performance
in the course). Because of this short fall, a new direct and indirect measure should be developed
to evaluate student abilities with respect to statistics and experimental design. The program will
work to develop such a measurement tool to be used in conjunction with the Environmental
Research Methodology course.
Outcome C: Develop skills and experience in communication of concepts of the field of
study, and of methods and results of research in the environmental field, at an advanced
level.
The Thesis Defense is typically a polished performance, something the student
undoubtedly obsesses over and practices. Perhaps a better measure of student’s oral
communication (and critical thinking) skills is how the unanticipated questions are handled
during the public Q&A or during the committee questioning of the student after the public is
dismissed. A few new questions should be added to the survey that specifically ask the
committee members and the student about how these Q&A sessions were handled.
Written communication skills, assessed from the Proposal, are sound. Students appear to
be capably introducing their projects and incorporating the supportive literature. Mechanically
the writing is in fine shape, but the proposals have undergone significant review and revision.
Students are less successful, however, at relating the potential implications and significance of
their work. Perhaps this is a function of the relative timing of their research: they have yet to
acquire and interpret research results upon which to reflect. Presumably this aspect of a student’s
communication skills would be much improved at the time of writing the Thesis, but these data
are not yet available. This aspect of the written Thesis should be tracked for comparison against
the Proposal. It would also be revealing to see whether or not students have completed their
Proposal before or after taking the required environmental management, policy, or law electives.
Plans for Future Assessment:
Outcomes D through G have yet to be addressed for the program. F & G require that we
have numerous MS recipients that have transitioned into the work force. These outcomes are best
delayed for another biennial period. D & E concern Professional & Technical Expertise and are
planned for assessment within the context of graduate level courses (Advanced Ecology
[OCB6635] or Estuarine Ecology [PCB6064C] for D; and Concepts & Applications of
Sustainability [EVR6322], Environmental Policy [EVS6937], Environmental Law [PAD5620], or
Environmental Planning [URP6421] for E). Final exam scores from these exams should be
collected and analyzed in preparation for the next biennial assessment.
APPENDICES: ATTACHED BELOW
A: Program Assessment Plan & Criteria for MS Environmental Science.
B: Critical Thinking Score Sheet for Proposal
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
50
C: Critical Thinking Score Sheet for Thesis
D: Oral Communication Score Sheet for Defense
E: Written Communication Score Sheet for Proposal & Thesis
F: Thesis Proposal Reviews, Data
G: Written Thesis & Defense Reviews, Data
H: Critical Thinking Rubric for Thesis
I: Critical Thinking Rubric for Proposal
J: Oral Communication Rubric for Defense
K: Written Communication Rubric for Proposal & Thesis
Send completed form to Jim Wohlpart (wohlpart@fgcu.edu) by February 1, 2007 or placed in the
CAS LT moray share folder: \\Fgcu-moray\aaas\CAS Leadership
Team\Assessment\2006\Annual Program Reviews.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
51
APPENDIX A: PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN AND CRITERIA FOR MS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Critical Thinking (University Level)
Graduates of advanced degree programs at Florida Gulf Coast University will:
Demonstrate excellence in critical thinking, problem solving, analysis, and strategic planning.
Critical Thinking (Program Level)
Graduates of the Master of Science in Environmental Science will develop skills and experience in:
A) An understanding of, and the ability to apply, the scientific method, and the capacity to design and conduct a
relevant research investigation using qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
B) Mastery of appropriate methodologies (to include one or more of: statistical analyses, geographic
information systems, field and laboratory techniques, system’s analysis and simulation modeling).
Plan: A direct assessment of critical thinking will be conducted using a) each student’s Thesis Proposal, which
is submitted to their Graduate Advisory Committee prior to beginning thesis research; and b) each student’s
Thesis, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the M.S. degree. The direct assessments will
evaluate students' mastery of their field and projected ability to complete independent research under the
supervision of a faculty mentor and committee. Members of the Environmental Science Graduate Faculty, but
those other than the student’s committee members, will conduct the assessment of the Thesis Proposal; the
assessment of the Thesis will be conducted by members of the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee. Both
will use the MS Environmental Science Critical Thinking Rubric, adapted from the AAC&U Critical Thinking
VALUE rubric.
An indirect assessment of critical thinking will be conducted by each student who submits a Thesis Proposal, by
requiring each student to use the same Department rubric to assess the critical thinking embodied in the Thesis
Proposal.
Criteria: Goals for the direct assessment will be met if a) 70% of students who submit a final, revised Thesis
Proposal to their Graduate Advisory Committee, after review and revision under supervision of their Graduate
Advisor, attain a score of at least 4 on a scale of 1-5 on the Critical Thinking Rubric; and b) if 70% of students
who have advanced to candidacy successfully defend and submit a Thesis after receiving guidance from the
Committee. Goals for the indirect assessment will be met if there is a 70% correlation between student rating of
their own work and the ratings given by faculty in the direct assessment.
Courses or curriculum elements:
1. Thesis Proposal: written document submitted to Graduate Advisory Committee.
2. Thesis: written document in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of M.S.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
52
APPENDIX A: PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN AND CRITERIA FOR MS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Effective Communication (University Level)
Graduates of advanced degree programs at Florida Gulf Coast University will:
Demonstrate effective use of a variety of communication skills and modalities.
Effective Communication (Program Level)
Graduates of the Master of Science in Environmental Science will:
C) Develop skills and experience in communication of concepts of the field of study, and of methods and results
of research in the environmental field, at an advanced level.
Plan:
A direct assessment of effective written communication will be conducted using a) each student’s Thesis
Proposal, which is submitted to their Graduate Advisory Committee prior to beginning thesis research; and b)
each student’s Thesis, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the M.S. degree. A direct
assessment of effective oral communication will be conducted during each student’s open Oral Presentation of
Thesis to the public when research is completed.
The direct assessments will require students to communicate with appropriate scientific terminology suitable for
a scientific audience. Students' ability to do this will be assessed using the Environmental Science
Communication Rubrics (adapted from the AAC&U Written Communication and the Oral Communication
VALUE Rubrics). The review of the Thesis Proposal will be conducted by a panel of 3 members of the
Graduate Faculty; the review of the student’s Thesis will be conducted by the student’s Graduate Advisory
Committee. Direct assessment of the oral communication will be conducted by the student’s Graduate
Advisory Committee at the time of the Thesis Presentation and Defense.
An indirect assessment of effective written communication will be conducted by each student who submits a
Thesis Proposal, by requiring each student to use the same Department rubric to assess the written
communication embodied in the Thesis Proposal. Self assessment of the oral Thesis Presentation will be
conducted by the student as well.
Criteria: Goals for the direct assessment will be met if a) 70% of students score either 4 or 5 on the 5-point scale
of the Written Communication Rubric, applied to the Thesis Proposal, after review and approval by the
Graduate Advisory Committee; b) 70% of students score either 4 or 5 on the 5-point scale of the Oral
Communication Rubric, applied to the Thesis Presentation; and c) 70% of students score either 4 or 5 on the 5point scale of the Written Communication Rubric, applied to the final Thesis after approval by the Graduate
Advisory Committee. Goals for the indirect assessment will be met if there is a 70% correlation between student
rating of their own work and the ratings given by faculty in the direct assessment.
Courses or curriculum elements:
1. Thesis Proposal: written document submitted to Graduate Advisory Committee.
2. Thesis: written document in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of M.S.
3. Thesis Presentation: oral presentation of research results in an open session.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
53
APPENDIX A: PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN AND CRITERIA FOR MS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Professional and Technical Expertise (University Level)
Graduates of advanced degree programs at Florida Gulf Coast University will:
Exhibit professional and technical expertise consistent with discipline and/or content area accrediting or
licensing bodies.
Professional and Technical Expertise (Program Level)
Graduates of the Master of Science in Environmental Science will demonstrate:
D) A strong foundation in ecological principles and their application to the description and interpretation of
environmental system;
E) An understanding of anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems.
Plan: Professional and technical expertise is best assessed in the context of one or more existing courses. All
students in the MS program must successfully complete either Advanced Ecology [OCB6635] or Estuarine
Ecology [PCB6064C]. A direct assessment of D), a strong foundation in ecological principles, will be
implemented at the close of a student’s course through use of the course’s final exam. Similarly, all students are
required to take one of four courses that concern societal implications of environmental actions (Concepts &
Applications of Sustainability [EVR6322], Environmental Policy [EVS6937], Environmental Law [PAD5620],
or Environmental Planning [URP6421]). The final from these courses will be used to assess E), an
understanding of anthropogenic impacts. Exam scores will be collected and analyzed by the Program
Coordinator.
An indirect assessment of program outcomes D) and E) will be accomplished through a student’s selfassessment. Students will be asked to complete a survey after successfully defending their thesis.
Criteria: Goals for the direct assessment will be met if 75% of the students score in the acceptable range on
select exam questions. Goals for the indirect assessment will be met if 75% of the students rate their own
accomplishments as satisfactory or better.
Courses or curriculum elements:
1. Course-based final exams: final exam scores will be collected and analyzed at the time the core courses are
completed.
2. Thesis Defense: student self-assessment will be conducted after the successful completion of the thesis
defense.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
54
APPENDIX A: PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN AND CRITERIA FOR MS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Leadership Skills (University Level)
Graduates of advanced degree programs at Florida Gulf Coast University will:
Be prepared for leadership roles in professional and occupational areas and in communities in which they live
and work.
Leadership Skills (Program Level)
Graduates of the Master of Science in Environmental Science will demonstrate:
F) The ability to function in a leadership capacity within a professional setting.
Plan: The post-master’s educational experience of and the professional positions held by our students will be
tracked from time of graduation. These data will serve our 7-year program reviews, but also allow us to track
students for post-graduate assessment. Both a direct and indirect assessment will be conducted 5 years after a
student has completed the program. The direct assessment will ask employers to complete a survey of their
employee’s leadership skills at this point in the alumnus’s post-graduate career. An indirect assessment, asking
the alumnus to self-assess their leadership skills, will be administered concurrently. (This survey will be
combined with the one designed to assess Continuing Learning.)
Criteria: Goals for the direct assessment will be met if 70% of our alumni are rated as satisfactory or better.
Goals for the indirect assessment will be met if there is a 70% correlation between student rating of their own
experiences and the ratings of their employer.
Elements:
1. Five-year post survey: employers and alumni will be surveyed.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
55
APPENDIX A: PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN AND CRITERIA FOR MS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Continuing Learning (University Level)
Graduates of advanced degree programs at Florida Gulf Coast University will:
Demonstrate the capacity for continuing learning, growth, and scholarly activity in their respective disciplines
and fields of study.
Continuing Learning (Program Level)
Graduates of the Master of Science in Environmental Science will demonstrate:
G) The capacity for continuing learning, growth, and scholarly activity in their respective disciplines and fields
of study.
Plan: The post-master’s educational experience of and the professional positions held by our students will be
tracked from time of graduation. These data will serve our 7-year program reviews, but also allow us to track
students for post-graduate assessment. Both a direct and indirect assessment will be conducted 5 years after a
student has completed the program. The direct assessment will ask employers to complete a survey of their
employee’s continuing learning capabilities at this point in the alumnus’s post-graduate career. An indirect
assessment, asking the alumnus to self-assess their learning capacity, will be administered concurrently. (This
survey will be combined with the one designed to assess Leadership Skills.)
Criteria: Goals for the direct assessment will be met if 70% of our alumni are rated as satisfactory or better.
Goals for the indirect assessment will be met if there is a 70% correlation between student rating of their own
experiences and the ratings of their employer.
Elements:
1. Five-year post survey: employers and alumni will be surveyed.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
56
APPENDIX A: PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN AND CRITERIA FOR MS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Critical Thinking (University Level)
Graduates of advanced degree programs at Florida Gulf Coast University will:
Demonstrate excellence in critical thinking, problem solving, analysis, and strategic planning.
Critical Thinking (Program Level)
Graduates of the Master of Science in Environmental Science will develop skills and experience in:
A) An understanding of, and the ability to apply, the scientific method, and the capacity to design and conduct a
relevant research investigation using qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
B) Mastery of appropriate methodologies (to include one or more of: statistical analyses, geographic
information systems, field and laboratory techniques, system’s analysis and simulation modeling).
Plan: A direct assessment of critical thinking will be conducted using a) each student’s Thesis Proposal, which
is submitted to their Graduate Advisory Committee prior to beginning thesis research; and b) each student’s
Thesis, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the M.S. degree. The direct assessments will
evaluate students' mastery of their field and projected ability to complete independent research under the
supervision of a faculty mentor and committee. Members of the Environmental Science Graduate Faculty, but
those other than the student’s committee members, will conduct the assessment of the Thesis Proposal; the
assessment of the Thesis will be conducted by members of the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee. Both
will use the MS Environmental Science Critical Thinking Rubric, adapted from the AAC&U Critical Thinking
VALUE rubric.
An indirect assessment of critical thinking will be conducted by each student who submits a Thesis Proposal, by
requiring each student to use the same Department rubric to assess the critical thinking embodied in the Thesis
Proposal.
Criteria: Goals for the direct assessment will be met if a) 70% of students who submit a final, revised Thesis
Proposal to their Graduate Advisory Committee, after review and revision under supervision of their Graduate
Advisor, attain a score of at least 4 on a scale of 1-5 on the Critical Thinking Rubric; and b) if 70% of students
who have advanced to candidacy successfully defend and submit a Thesis after receiving guidance from the
Committee. Goals for the indirect assessment will be met if there is a 70% correlation between student rating of
their own work and the ratings given by faculty in the direct assessment.
Courses or curriculum elements:
1. Thesis Proposal: written document submitted to Graduate Advisory Committee.
2. Thesis: written document in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of M.S.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
57
APPENDIX A: PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN AND CRITERIA FOR MS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Effective Communication (University Level)
Graduates of advanced degree programs at Florida Gulf Coast University will:
Demonstrate effective use of a variety of communication skills and modalities.
Effective Communication (Program Level)
Graduates of the Master of Science in Environmental Science will:
C) Develop skills and experience in communication of concepts of the field of study, and of methods and results
of research in the environmental field, at an advanced level.
Plan:
A direct assessment of effective written communication will be conducted using a) each student’s Thesis
Proposal, which is submitted to their Graduate Advisory Committee prior to beginning thesis research; and b)
each student’s Thesis, submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the M.S. degree. A direct
assessment of effective oral communication will be conducted during each student’s open Oral Presentation of
Thesis to the public when research is completed.
The direct assessments will require students to communicate with appropriate scientific terminology suitable for
a scientific audience. Students' ability to do this will be assessed using the Environmental Science
Communication Rubrics (adapted from the AAC&U Written Communication and the Oral Communication
VALUE Rubrics). The review of the Thesis Proposal will be conducted by a panel of 3 members of the
Graduate Faculty; the review of the student’s Thesis will be conducted by the student’s Graduate Advisory
Committee. Direct assessment of the oral communication will be conducted by the student’s Graduate
Advisory Committee at the time of the Thesis Presentation and Defense.
An indirect assessment of effective written communication will be conducted by each student who submits a
Thesis Proposal, by requiring each student to use the same Department rubric to assess the written
communication embodied in the Thesis Proposal. Self assessment of the oral Thesis Presentation will be
conducted by the student as well.
Criteria: Goals for the direct assessment will be met if a) 70% of students score either 4 or 5 on the 5-point scale
of the Written Communication Rubric, applied to the Thesis Proposal, after review and approval by the
Graduate Advisory Committee; b) 70% of students score either 4 or 5 on the 5-point scale of the Oral
Communication Rubric, applied to the Thesis Presentation; and c) 70% of students score either 4 or 5 on the 5point scale of the Written Communication Rubric, applied to the final Thesis after approval by the Graduate
Advisory Committee. Goals for the indirect assessment will be met if there is a 70% correlation between student
rating of their own work and the ratings given by faculty in the direct assessment.
Courses or curriculum elements:
1. Thesis Proposal: written document submitted to Graduate Advisory Committee.
2. Thesis: written document in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of M.S.
3. Thesis Presentation: oral presentation of research results in an open session.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
58
APPENDIX A: PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN AND CRITERIA FOR MS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Professional and Technical Expertise (University Level)
Graduates of advanced degree programs at Florida Gulf Coast University will:
Exhibit professional and technical expertise consistent with discipline and/or content area accrediting or
licensing bodies.
Professional and Technical Expertise (Program Level)
Graduates of the Master of Science in Environmental Science will demonstrate:
D) A strong foundation in ecological principles and their application to the description and interpretation of
environmental system;
E) An understanding of anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems.
Plan: Professional and technical expertise is best assessed in the context of one or more existing courses. All
students in the MS program must successfully complete either Advanced Ecology [OCB6635] or Estuarine
Ecology [PCB6064C]. A direct assessment of D), a strong foundation in ecological principles, will be
implemented at the close of a student’s course through use of the course’s final exam. Similarly, all students are
required to take one of four courses that concern societal implications of environmental actions (Concepts &
Applications of Sustainability [EVR6322], Environmental Policy [EVS6937], Environmental Law [PAD5620],
or Environmental Planning [URP6421]). The final from these courses will be used to assess E), an
understanding of anthropogenic impacts. Exam scores will be collected and analyzed by the Program
Coordinator.
An indirect assessment of program outcomes D) and E) will be accomplished through a student’s selfassessment. Students will be asked to complete a survey after successfully defending their thesis.
Criteria: Goals for the direct assessment will be met if 75% of the students score in the acceptable range on
select exam questions. Goals for the indirect assessment will be met if 75% of the students rate their own
accomplishments as satisfactory or better.
Courses or curriculum elements:
1. Course-based final exams: final exam scores will be collected and analyzed at the time the core courses are
completed.
2. Thesis Defense: student self-assessment will be conducted after the successful completion of the thesis
defense.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
59
APPENDIX A: PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN AND CRITERIA FOR MS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Leadership Skills (University Level)
Graduates of advanced degree programs at Florida Gulf Coast University will:
Be prepared for leadership roles in professional and occupational areas and in communities in which they live
and work.
Leadership Skills (Program Level)
Graduates of the Master of Science in Environmental Science will demonstrate:
F) The ability to function in a leadership capacity within a professional setting.
Plan: The post-master’s educational experience of and the professional positions held by our students will be
tracked from time of graduation. These data will serve our 7-year program reviews, but also allow us to track
students for post-graduate assessment. Both a direct and indirect assessment will be conducted 5 years after a
student has completed the program. The direct assessment will ask employers to complete a survey of their
employee’s leadership skills at this point in the alumnus’s post-graduate career. An indirect assessment, asking
the alumnus to self-assess their leadership skills, will be administered concurrently. (This survey will be
combined with the one designed to assess Continuing Learning.)
Criteria: Goals for the direct assessment will be met if 70% of our alumni are rated as satisfactory or better.
Goals for the indirect assessment will be met if there is a 70% correlation between student rating of their own
experiences and the ratings of their employer.
Elements:
1. Five-year post survey: employers and alumni will be surveyed.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
60
APPENDIX A: PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN AND CRITERIA FOR MS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Continuing Learning (University Level)
Graduates of advanced degree programs at Florida Gulf Coast University will:
Demonstrate the capacity for continuing learning, growth, and scholarly activity in their respective disciplines
and fields of study.
Continuing Learning (Program Level)
Graduates of the Master of Science in Environmental Science will demonstrate:
G) The capacity for continuing learning, growth, and scholarly activity in their respective disciplines and fields
of study.
Plan: The post-master’s educational experience of and the professional positions held by our students will be
tracked from time of graduation. These data will serve our 7-year program reviews, but also allow us to track
students for post-graduate assessment. Both a direct and indirect assessment will be conducted 5 years after a
student has completed the program. The direct assessment will ask employers to complete a survey of their
employee’s continuing learning capabilities at this point in the alumnus’s post-graduate career. An indirect
assessment, asking the alumnus to self-assess their learning capacity, will be administered concurrently. (This
survey will be combined with the one designed to assess Leadership Skills.)
Criteria: Goals for the direct assessment will be met if 70% of our alumni are rated as satisfactory or better.
Goals for the indirect assessment will be met if there is a 70% correlation between student rating of their own
experiences and the ratings of their employer.
Elements:
1. Five-year post survey: employers and alumni will be surveyed.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
61
APPENDIX A: PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN AND CRITERIA FOR MS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
ADDENDUMS: Not intended as part of the IPM
Program-level Outcomes Versus Program-level Educational Principles
Outcomes require program-level assessment and become part of the MSES IPM. Educational principles are of
importance to our program, are curricular objectives we hope to achieve, but do not require assessment.
Outcomes:
A) An understanding of, and the ability to apply, the scientific method, and the capacity to design and conduct a
relevant research investigation using qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
B) Mastery of appropriate methodologies (to include one or more of: statistical analyses, geographic
information systems, field and laboratory techniques, system’s analysis and simulation modeling).
C) Develop skills and experience in communication of concepts of the field of study, and of methods and results
of research in the environmental field, at an advanced level.
D) A strong foundation in ecological principles and their application to the description and interpretation of
environmental system.
E) An understanding of anthropogenic impacts on ecosystems.
F) The ability to function in a in a leadership capacity within a professional setting.
G) The capacity for continuing learning, growth, and scholarly activity in their respective disciplines and fields
of study.
Educational principles:
H) An understanding of geologic, biological, physical, and evolutionary processes and their impact on
ecosystems, to the extent these principles are directly relevant to the student’s chosen topic of advanced
research.
I) Knowledge of local plant and animal communities and ecosystem dynamics, and the ability to translate this
understanding to regional and global levels.
J) Knowledge and field skills in identifying and investigating a core cluster of life groups.
K) Expertise in a limited group of organisms, or ecosystems.
L) An understanding of the concept of sustainability and its application to the formation and implementation of
public policy, decision making, problem identification, ethical dilemmas, creative problem solving, and
conflict resolution.
M) Empathy and respect for the environment and all life within it, and recognition of the many ways of
knowing the environment.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
62
APPENDIX A: PROGRAM ASSESSMENT PLAN AND CRITERIA FOR MS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Assessment instruments needed:
1. For Critical Thinking: Environmental Science Critical Thinking Rubric (from AAC&U VALUE
Rubrics). Applied to the Thesis Proposal and evaluated by a panel of faculty and the student. Also
applied to the Thesis by the student’s Committee Members. Available.
2. For Effective Communication: Environmental Science Written & Oral Communication Rubrics (from
AAC&U VALUE Rubrics). Written communication assessed as applied to the Thesis Proposal by panel
of faculty (direct) and student (indirect); oral communication assessed on the oral defense of the thesis
and evaluated by Graduate Committee faculty and student (direct and indirect). The student’s Graduate
Committee will also apply the written communication rubric to the Thesis (direct). Available.
3. For Professional & Technical Expertise: Completed final exams from Advanced Ecology, Estuarine
Ecology, and the 4 management / policy courses. Assessed by the faculty member teaching the
respective course. Available from instructor.
4. For Professional & Technical Expertise: Self-assessment survey for D) and E), to be implemented after
defense. Needs to be created.
5. For Leadership Skills: 5-year post-graduation survey taken by employer and alumnus. Needs to be
created.
6. For Continuing Learning: The same 5-year post-graduation survey takend by employer and alumnus.
Needs to be created.
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
63
APPENDIX B: Critical Thinking Score Sheet for Proposal
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Critical Thinking Assessment Score Sheet for MS Environmental Science Research Proposal
The graduate student thesis research proposal should be reviewed after the student and his/her committee
finalize the proposal. Graduate faculty members serving the MSES program are the reviewers; three faculty
members are to review each proposal; faculty members mentoring the student must recuse themselves from the
review. In addition, the student should use the same rubric to self-assess her/his own critical thinking skills.
See the attached scoring rubric for scores and definitions.
Date of Review:
Graduate Student Author of the Proposal:
Proposal Title:
Name of Person Conducting the Review (either committee member or student):
Category Explanation of issues Evidence Influence of context & assumptions Student’s research design Implications, significance, and consequences of research MS Environmental Science
Score (from 1‐4 with 4 being highest; see rubric) June 2011
64
APPENDIX C: Critical Thinking Score Sheet for Thesis
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Critical Thinking Assessment Score Sheet for MS Environmental Science Thesis
The graduate student’s thesis should be reviewed after the student and his/her committee finalized the thesis and
the thesis has been successfully defended. The graduate faculty members serving on the graduate student’s
committee are the reviewers. See the attached scoring rubric for scores and definitions.
Date of Review:
Graduate Student Author of the Proposal:
Proposal Title:
Name of the Graduate Faculty Member Conducting the Review:
Category Explanation of issues Evidence Influence of context & assumptions Student’s position Conclusions & related outcomes MS Environmental Science
Score (from 1‐4 with 4 being highest; see rubric) June 2011
65
APPENDIX D: ORAL COMMUNICATION SCORE FOR DEFENSE
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Oral Communication Assessment Score Sheet for MS in Environmental Science Thesis Presentation &
Defense
The graduate student’s oral communication skills are to be assessed by each of the student’s committee
members and should be self-assessed by the student at the thesis oral presentation and defense. See the attached
scoring rubric for scores and definitions.
Date of Review:
Graduate Student Giving Thesis Presentation:
Thesis Title:
Name of Person Conducting the Review (either committee member or student):
Category Organization Language Delivery Supporting Material Central Message MS Environmental Science
Score (from 1‐4 with 4 being highest; see rubric) June 2011
66
APPENDIX E: WRITTEN COMMUNICATION SCORE SHEET FOR PROPOSAL & THESIS
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2010
Written Communication Assessment Score Sheet for MS in Environmental Science for Research
Proposal and Thesis
The graduate student’s written communication skills are to be assessed through review of the Research Proposal
by a panel of 3 graduate faculty members (not on the student’s committee) and through review of the Thesis by
committee members. Additionally, the graduate student will self assess the Research Proposal. See the
attached scoring rubric for scores and definitions.
Date of Review:
Product Being Reviewed (circle one: Research Proposal or Thesis)
Graduate Student Author of the Proposal or Thesis:
Proposal or Thesis Title:
Name of Person Conducting the Review (graduate faculty member or student):
Category Context of and Purpose for Writing Content Development Genre and Disciplinary Conventions Sources and Evidence Control of Syntax and Mechanics MS Environmental Science
Score (from 1‐4 with 4 being highest; see rubric) June 2011
67
APPENDIX F: Thesis
Proposal Reviews, Data
December, 2010
Critical Thinking
Jorge Agobian: 09/06
Reviewer1:
Duke
Reviewer2:
Everham
Reviewer3:
Tolley
Mean
Std Dev
Q1: Explanation
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Q2: Evidence
3
3
4
3.33
0.58
Q3: Influence of context
3
4
4
3.67
0.58
Q4: Research design
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Q5: Implications & significance
4
3
3
3.33
0.58
3.6
3.6
3.8
3.67
Overall Average
Bethany Bachelor: 2006
Reviewer1:
Fugate
Reviewer2:
Duke
Reviewer3:
Savarese
Mean
Std Dev
Q1: Explanation
4
2
4
3.33
1.15
Q2: Evidence
4
3
3
3.33
0.58
Q3: Influence of context
4
3
3
3.33
0.58
Q4: Research design
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Q5: Implications & significance
4
2
3
3.00
1.00
Overall Average
4
2.8
3.4
3.40
Allison Blanco: 03/08
Reviewer1:
Savarese
Reviewer2:
Duke
Reviewer3:
Tolley
Mean
Std Dev
Q1: Explanation
3
4
3
3.33
0.58
Q2: Evidence
3
3
3
3.00
0.00
Q3: Influence of context
4
3
3
3.33
0.58
Q4: Research design
3
4
3
3.33
0.58
Q5: Implications & significance
4
3
4
3.67
0.58
3.4
3.4
3.2
3.33
Overall Average
April Brandon: date?
Reviewer1:
Volety
Reviewer2:
Duke
Reviewer3:
Tolley
Mean
Std Dev
Q1: Explanation
4
2
4
3.33
1.15
Q2: Evidence
3
3
2
2.67
0.58
Q3: Influence of context
4
2
3
3.00
1.00
Q4: Research design
3
3
3
3.00
0.00
Q5: Implications & significance
4
1
2
2.33
1.53
3.6
2.2
2.8
2.87
Overall Average
Amanda Bridges: 10/06
Reviewer1:
Duke
Q1: Explanation
MS Environmental Science
Reviewer2:
Everham
3
June 2011
Reviewer3:
Fugate
4
Mean
3
Std Dev
3.33
0.58
68
Q2: Evidence
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Q3: Influence of context
3
3
3
3.00
0.00
Q4: Research design
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Q5: Implications & significance
3
2
4
3.00
1.00
3.4
3.4
3.6
3.47
Overall Average
Geoff Burgerhoff: 07/09
Reviewer1:
Tolley
Reviewer2:
Savarese
Reviewer3:
Parsons
Mean
Std Dev
Q1: Explanation
2
3
3
2.67
0.58
Q2: Evidence
2
4
3
3.00
1.00
Q3: Influence of context
2
3
3
2.67
0.58
Q4: Research design
2
3
2
2.33
0.58
Q5: Implications & significance
3
4
3
3.33
0.58
2.2
3.4
2.8
2.80
Overall Average
Brooke Denkert: 2009
Reviewer1:
Volety
Reviewer2:
Savarese
Reviewer3: Duke
Mean
Std Dev
Q1: Explanation
4
4
3
3.67
0.58
Q2: Evidence
3
3
2
2.67
0.58
Q3: Influence of context
4
4
2
3.33
1.15
Q4: Research design
3
3
4
3.33
0.58
Q5: Implications & significance
4
4
3
3.67
0.58
3.6
3.6
2.8
3.33
Overall Average
James Evans: 2008
Reviewer1:
Everham
Reviewer2:
Fugate
Reviewer3:
Parsons
Mean
Std Dev
Q1: Explanation
4
4
3
3.67
0.58
Q2: Evidence
4
4
2
3.33
1.15
Q3: Influence of context
3
4
3
3.33
0.58
Q4: Research design
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Q5: Implications & significance
4
4
3
3.67
0.58
3.8
4
3
3.60
Overall Average
Brian Hoye: date
Reviewer1:
Duke
Reviewer2:
Parsons
Reviewer3:
Tolley
Mean
Std Dev
Q1: Explanation
3
3
3
3.00
0.00
Q2: Evidence
4
3
4
3.67
0.58
Q3: Influence of context
3
3
3
3.00
0.00
Q4: Research design
4
3
4
3.67
0.58
Q5: Implications & significance
2
3
3
2.67
0.58
3.2
3
3.4
3.20
Overall Average
Sasha Linsin: date
Reviewer1:
Volety
Reviewer2:
Duke
Reviewer3:Tolley
Mean
Std Dev
Q1: Explanation
4
3
4
3.67
0.58
Q2: Evidence
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
MS Environmental Science
June 2011
69
Q3: Influence of context
4
3
3
3.33
0.58
Q4: Research design
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Q5: Implications & significance
4
4
3
3.67
0.58
Overall Average
4
3.6
3.6
3.73
Jennifer Nelson: 05/09
Reviewer1:
Savarese
Reviewer2:
Everham
Reviewer3: Duke
Mean
Std Dev
Q1: Explanation
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Q2: Evidence
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Q3: Influence of context
4
3
4
3.67
0.58
Q4: Research design
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Q5: Implications & significance
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Overall Average
4
3.8
4
3.93
Jennifer Thera: 2010
Reviewer1:
Savarese
Reviewer2:
Parsons
Reviewer3: Duke
Mean
Std Dev
Q1: Explanation
3
2
4
3.00
1.00
Q2: Evidence
4
3
4
3.67
0.58
Q3: Influence of context
3
3
4
3.33
0.58
Q4: Research design
4
3
4
3.67
0.58
Q5: Implications & significance
4
3
3
3.33
0.58
3.6
2.8
3.8
3.40
Overall Average
Julie Van Horn: 2007
Reviewer1:
Volety
Reviewer2:
Savarese
Reviewer3: Duke
Mean
Std Dev
Q1: Explanation
4
4
2
3.33
1.15
Q2: Evidence
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Q3: Influence of context
4
4
2
3.33
1.15
Q4: Research design
4
4
4
4.00
0.00
Q5: Implications & significance
4
3
1
2.67
1.53
Overall Average
4
3.8
2.6
3.47
Total of All Students (13)
Reviewer 1
Reviewer 2
Reviewer 3
Mean
Q1: Explanation
46
43
44
44.33
Q2: Evidence
46
45
43
44.67
Q3: Influence of context
45
42
40
42.33
Q4: Research design
47
47
48
47.33
Q5: Implications & significance
48
40
39
42.33
Average of All Students (13)
Reviewer 1
Reviewer 2
Reviewer 3
Mean
Q1: Explanation
3.54
3.31
3.38
3.41
Q2: Evidence
3.54
3.46
3.31
3.44
Q3: Influence of context
3.46
3.23
3.08
3.26
Q4: Research design
3.62
3.62
3.69
3.64
Q5: Implications & significance
3.69
3.08
3.00
3.26
Standard Deviation All Students (13)
Q1: Explanation
MS Environmental Science
0.72
June 2011
70
Q2: Evidence
0.68
Q3: Influence of context
0.64
Q4: Research design
0.58
Q5: Implications & significance
0.85
Average Score of Each
Student
Q1:
Explanation
Q2: Evidence
Q3: Influence of
context
Q5:
Implications &
significance
4.00
3.33
3.67
4.00
3.33
3.33
3.33
3.33
4.00
3.00
3.33
3.00
3.33
3.33
3.67
3.33
2.67
3.00
3.00
2.33
3.33
4.00
3.00
4.00
3.00
2.67
3.00
2.67
2.33
3.33
3.67
3.67
2.67
3.33
3.33
3.67
3.33
3.33
4.00
3.67
3.00
3.67
3.00
3.67
2.67
3.67
4.00
3.33
4.00
3.67
4.00
4.00
3.67
4.00
4.00
3.00
3.67
3.33
3.67
3.33
3.33
4.00
3.33
4.00
2.67
Successes
12 of 13
11 of 13
12 of 13
Percent
92.30%
84.60%
92.3%
Outcomes Addressed
C:
Communication
A, B: scientific
method &
methodologies
A, C: scientific
method &
communication
MS Environmental Science
Q4: Research
design
June 2011
12 of 13
10 of 13
92.3%
76.9%
A, B: scientific
method &
methodologies
A, C: scientific
method &
communication
71
APPENDIX G
Written Thesis & Defense
Reviews, Data
Oral Communication
Reviewer1
Q1:
Q2:
Q3:
Q4:
Q5:
Organization
Language
Delivery
Supporting Material
Central Message
Reviewer2
4
4
3
4
4
Goebel
Q1:
Q2:
Q3:
Q4:
Q5:
Organization
Language
Delivery
Supporting Material
Central Message
Fitch
4
2.5
3
4
3
Organization
Language
Delivery
Supporting Material
Central Message
Average Score of Each Student
Successes
Percent
Outcomes Addressed
Self Assess Scores
MS Environmental Science
11/29/10
Mean
4
4.00
4
3.67
4
3.33
4
4.00
4
4.00
Alex Cole-Corde: 12/9/10
Larry
Richardson
Mean
4
4
4.00
3.7
3
3.07
3.8
3
3.27
4
4
4.00
3.5
3.5
3.33
3
3
2
3
3
James Evans: 4/19/11
Peebles
Mean
3
3.00
4
3.67
3
3.00
4
3.67
3
3.00
Q1:
Organization
4.00
4.00
3.00
Q2: Language
3.67
3.07
3.67
Q3: Delivery
3.33
3.27
3.00
Q4:
Supporting
Material
4.00
4.00
3.67
3 of 3
100.0%
3 of 3
100.0%
3 of 3
100.0%
3 of 3
100.0%
C:
communication
3
C:
communication
3
A, C: scientific
method &
communication
2
A, B: scientific
method &
methodologies
3
Fugate
Q1:
Q2:
Q3:
Q4:
Q5:
Jessica Phillips:
Reviewer3
4
3
3
4
4
Tolley
3
4
4
4
3
June 2011
Self Assess
3
3
2
3
3
Self Assess
3.5
3
3
3
3
Self Assess
4
4
3
2
3
Q5: Central
Message
4.00
3.33
3.00
3 of 3
100.0%
A, C: scientific
method &
communication
3
72
MS Environmental Science Program Review Report 2011
Appendix H – Critical Thinking Rubric for Thesis
Capstone
4
Explanation of issues
Issue/problem to be considered
critically is stated clearly and
described comprehensively, delivering
all relevant information necessary for
full understanding.
Milestones
3
Issue/problem to be considered
critically is stated, described, and
clarified so that understanding is not
seriously impeded by omissions.
Benchmark
2
1
Issue/problem to be considered
critically is stated but description
leaves some terms undefined,
ambiguities unexplored, boundaries
undetermined, and/or backgrounds
unknown.
Issue/problem to be considered
critically is stated without clarification
or description.
Evidence
Information is taken from source(s)
Information is taken from source(s)
Selecting and using information to investigate with enough interpretation/evaluation with enough
a point of view or conclusion
to develop a comprehensive analysis
interpretation/evaluation to develop a
or synthesis.
coherent analysis or synthesis.
Viewpoints of experts are questioned Viewpoints of experts are subject to
thoroughly.
questioning.
Information is taken from source(s)
with some interpretation/evaluation,
but not enough to develop a coherent
analysis or synthesis.
Viewpoints of experts are taken as
mostly fact, with little questioning.
Information is taken from source(s)
without any interpretation/evaluation.
Viewpoints of experts are taken as
fact, without question.
Influence of context and
assumptions
Thoroughly (systematically and
methodically) analyzes own and
others' assumptions and carefully
evaluates the relevance of contexts
when presenting a position.
Identifies own and others'
assumptions and several relevant
contexts when presenting a position.
Questions some assumptions.
Identifies several relevant contexts
when presenting a position. May be
more aware of others' assumptions
than one's own (or vice versa).
Shows an emerging awareness of
present assumptions (sometimes
labels assertions as assumptions).
Begins to identify some contexts
when presenting a position.
Student's position (perspective,
thesis/hypothesis)
Specific position (perspective,
thesis/hypothesis) is imaginative,
taking into account the complexities
of an issue.
Limits of position (perspective,
thesis/hypothesis) are acknowledged.
Others' points of view are
synthesized within position
(perspective, thesis/hypothesis).
Specific position (perspective,
thesis/hypothesis) takes into account
the complexities of an issue.
Others' points of view are
acknowledged within position
(perspective, thesis/hypothesis).
Specific position (perspective,
thesis/hypothesis) acknowledges
different sides of an issue.
Specific position (perspective,
thesis/hypothesis) is stated, but is
simplistic and obvious.
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MS Environmental Science Program Review Report 2011
Appendix I – Critical Thinking Rubric for Proposal
Capstone
4
Milestones
3
Benchmark
2
1
Explanation of issues
Issue/problem to be considered
critically is stated clearly and
described comprehensively,
delivering all relevant information
necessary for full understanding.
Issue/problem to be considered
critically is stated, described, and
clarified so that understanding is not
seriously impeded by omissions.
Issue/problem to be considered
critically is stated but description
leaves some terms undefined,
ambiguities unexplored, boundaries
undetermined, and/or backgrounds
unknown.
Issue/problem to be considered
critically is stated without
clarification or description.
Evidence
Selecting and using information to justify
and support a research agenda
Information is taken from source(s)
with enough
interpretation/evaluation to develop
a comprehensive analysis or
synthesis.
Viewpoints of experts are
questioned thoroughly.
Information is taken from source(s)
with enough
interpretation/evaluation to develop
a coherent analysis or synthesis.
Viewpoints of experts are subject to
questioning.
Information is taken from source(s)
with some interpretation/evaluation,
but not enough to develop a
coherent analysis or synthesis.
Viewpoints of experts are taken as
mostly fact, with little questioning.
Information is taken from source(s)
without any
interpretation/evaluation.
Viewpoints of experts are taken as
fact, without question.
Influence of context and
assumptions
Thoroughly (systematically and
methodically) analyzes own and
others' assumptions and carefully
evaluates the relevance of contexts
when presenting a position.
Identifies own and others'
Questions some assumptions.
assumptions and several relevant
Identifies several relevant contexts
contexts when presenting a position. when presenting a position. May be
more aware of others' assumptions
than one's own (or vice versa).
Shows an emerging awareness of
present assumptions (sometimes
labels assertions as assumptions).
Begins to identify some contexts
when presenting a position.
Student's research design
(hypotheses, logic, methods)
Research design (hypotheses, logic,
methods) is thorough, imaginative,
taking into account the complexities
of an issue.
Limits of design are acknowledged.
Research design (hypotheses, logic,
methods) takes into account the
complexities of an issue, but lacks
thoroughness.
Research design (hypotheses, logic,
methods) lacks creativity and depth
but is still adequate for success.
Research design (hypotheses, logic,
methods) is stated, but is seriously
flawed.
Implications, significance, and
consequences of the research
The significance, consequences, and
implications are logical, well
presented, and well justified, and
reflect student’s informed
evaluation.
The significance, consequences, and
implications are presented and
justified, but are not thoroughly
developed.
Only a few consequences and
implications are presented.
The significance, consequences, and
implications are absent or
oversimplified.
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MS Environmental Science Program Review Report 2011
Appendix J – Oral Communication Rubric for Defense
Capstone
4
Milestones
3
2
Benchmark
1
Organization
Organizational pattern (specific
introduction and conclusion,
sequenced material within the body,
and transitions) is clearly and
consistently observable and is skillful
and makes the content of the
presentation cohesive.
Organizational pattern (specific
introduction and conclusion,
sequenced material within the body,
and transitions) is clearly and
consistently observable within the
presentation.
Organizational pattern (specific
introduction and conclusion,
sequenced material within the body,
and transitions) is intermittently
observable within the presentation.
Organizational pattern (specific
introduction and conclusion,
sequenced material within the body,
and transitions) is not observable
within the presentation.
Language
Language choices are imaginative,
memorable, and compelling, and
enhance the effectiveness of the
presentation. Language in presentation
is appropriate to audience.
Language choices are thoughtful and
generally support the effectiveness of
the presentation. Language in
presentation is appropriate to
audience.
Language choices are mundane and
commonplace and partially support
the effectiveness of the presentation.
Language in presentation is
appropriate to audience.
Language choices are unclear and
minimally support the effectiveness of
the presentation. Language in
presentation is not appropriate to
audience.
Delivery
Delivery techniques (posture, gesture,
eye contact, and vocal expressiveness)
make the presentation compelling, and
speaker appears polished and
confident.
Delivery techniques (posture, gesture,
eye contact, and vocal expressiveness)
make the presentation interesting, and
speaker appears comfortable.
Delivery techniques (posture, gesture,
eye contact, and vocal expressiveness)
make the presentation understandable,
and speaker appears tentative.
Delivery techniques (posture, gesture,
eye contact, and vocal expressiveness)
detract from the understandability of
the presentation, and speaker appears
uncomfortable.
Supporting Material
A variety of types of supporting
materials (explanations, examples,
illustrations, statistics, analogies,
quotations from relevant authorities)
make appropriate reference to
information or analysis that
significantly supports the presentation
or establishes the presenter's
credibility/authority on the topic.
Supporting materials (explanations,
examples, illustrations, statistics,
analogies, quotations from relevant
authorities) make appropriate
reference to information or analysis
that generally supports the
presentation or establishes the
presenter's credibility/authority on the
topic.
Supporting materials (explanations,
examples, illustrations, statistics,
analogies, quotations from relevant
authorities) make appropriate
reference to information or analysis
that partially supports the presentation
or establishes the presenter's
credibility/authority on the topic.
Insufficient supporting materials
(explanations, examples, illustrations,
statistics, analogies, quotations from
relevant authorities) make reference to
information or analysis that minimally
supports the presentation or
establishes the presenter's
credibility/authority on the topic.
Central Message
Central message is compelling
(precisely stated, appropriately
repeated, memorable, and strongly
supported.)
Central message is clear and consistent Central message is basically
with the supporting material.
understandable but is not often
repeated and is not memorable.
Central message can be deduced, but
is not explicitly stated in the
presentation.
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MS Environmental Science Program Review Report 2011
Appendix K – Written Communication Rubric for Proposal and Thesis
Capstone
4
Milestones
3
2
Benchmark
1
Context of and Purpose for
Writing
Includes considerations of
audience, purpose, and the
circumstances surrounding the
writing task(s).
Demonstrates a thorough
understanding of context,
audience, and purpose that is
responsive to the assigned task(s)
and focuses all elements of the
work.
Demonstrates adequate
consideration of context,
audience, and purpose and a clear
focus on the assigned task(s)
(e.g., the task aligns with
audience, purpose, and context).
Demonstrates awareness of
context, audience, purpose, and to
the assigned tasks(s) (e.g., begins
to show awareness of audience's
perceptions and assumptions).
Demonstrates minimal attention
to context, audience, purpose, and
to the assigned tasks(s) (e.g.,
expectation of instructor or self as
audience).
Content Development
Uses appropriate, relevant, and
compelling content to illustrate
mastery of the subject, conveying
the writer's understanding, and
shaping the whole work.
Uses appropriate, relevant, and
compelling content to explore
ideas within the context of the
discipline and shape the whole
work.
Uses appropriate and relevant
content to develop and explore
ideas through most of the work.
Uses appropriate and relevant
content to develop simple ideas in
some parts of the work.
Genre and Disciplinary
Conventions
Formal and informal rules
inherent in the expectations for
writing in particular forms and/or
academic fields (please see
glossary).
Demonstrates detailed attention to
and successful execution of a
wide range of conventions
particular to a specific discipline
and/or writing task (s) including
organization, content,
presentation, formatting, and
stylistic choices
Demonstrates consistent use of
important conventions particular
to a specific discipline and/or
writing task(s), including
organization, content,
presentation, and stylistic choices
Follows expectations appropriate
to a specific discipline and/or
writing task(s) for basic
organization, content, and
presentation
Attempts to use a consistent
system for basic organization and
presentation.
Sources and Evidence
Demonstrates skillful use of highquality, credible, relevant sources
to develop ideas that are
appropriate for the discipline and
genre of the writing
Demonstrates consistent use of
credible, relevant sources to
support ideas that are situated
within the discipline and genre of
the writing.
Demonstrates an attempt to use
credible and/or relevant sources
to support ideas that are
appropriate for the discipline and
genre of the writing.
Demonstrates an attempt to use
sources to support ideas in the
writing.
Control of Syntax and
Mechanics
Uses graceful language that
skillfully communicates meaning
to readers with clarity and
fluency, and is virtually error-free.
Uses straightforward language
that generally conveys meaning to
readers. The language in the
portfolio has few errors.
Uses language that generally
conveys meaning to readers with
clarity, although writing may
include some errors.
Uses language that sometimes
impedes meaning because of
errors in usage.
76
MS Environmental Science Program Review Report 2011
Appendix C: Procedure for Graduate Student Admission and Awarding of Financial
Assistance
MS Environmental Studies & MA Environmental Studies
Procedure for Graduate Student Admission and Awarding of Financial Assistance
Draft: January 20, 2011
1. Initial Screening of Applications
Applicants for the MS in Environmental Science and for the MA in
Environmental Studies will be considered collectively for admission and financial
assistance. As soon as the graduate program leaders are in receipt of certified
applications (those that satisfy the minimum University requirements for admission as
determined by the Office of Graduate Studies), the department’s Graduate Policy and
Admissions Committee shall be convened to conduct an initial screening. The
Committee shall identify those applications that satisfy the minimum program
requirements for admission and those that do not. Those that do not satisfy the
minimum program requirements may still be considered for provisional or conditional
admission into either the M.S. or M.A. program but will typically not be eligible for
College financial support.
2. Offers of Grant Support by Graduate Faculty
After the initial screening of applications by the Committee, graduate faculty
members should review the applications to identify prospective graduate students for
whom they would be willing to serve as major professors. Faculty members who are
willing to serve as major professor and are also willing to support one or more
prospective students with external grant monies for tuition waivers or research
assistantships should make these offers known to the Committee no later than March
15th.
3. College Support (Tuition Waivers and Graduate Assistantships)
The Committee will determine the number of tuition waivers and graduate
assistantships that can be awarded based on the total funding available from the
College. Financial support from the College shall be awarded according to
qualifications, beginning with the most qualified applicant, until funding is exhausted.
The ranking of applicants by qualifications will be conducted by the Committee based
on GPA and GRE scores as well as on other supporting documents in the application
packet as required by the program admission requirements. Funding for tuition
waivers or research assistantships provided by external grants shall also be considered
in the allocation of College financial support to eligible applicants.
4. Notification of Funding Decisions
77
MS Environmental Science Program Review Report 2011
Graduate faculty members shall be notified by the Committee regarding funding
decisions so that they can finalize their own decisions regarding whether to accept an
applicant as a student and serve as the student’s major professor. Faculty members
willing to serve as major professors for prospective students should notify the
Committee of their intentions no later than April 1st.
5. Letters of Offer
A letter of acceptance along with an offer of support (if any) should be sent to the
prospective student no later than April 15th. This letter should also identify the
student’s interim major professor. Students admitted without offers of funding may be
made financial offers later, using the same guidelines as above, if funding becomes
available. Students who denied admission shall also be sent letters of notification and
explanation.
6. Acceptance of Admission
Applicants who receive offers of admission must respond in writing to the
program leader regarding their intention to accept, defer, or turn down the offer of
admission no later than May 1st.
7. Funding for Part-time Students
Generally, only full-time (9 credits per semester) graduate students shall be
awarded financial support from the College. Exceptions may be made if, after first
offering all available graduate assistantships to full-time students, the teaching needs
of the College remain sufficient to fund additional part-time students.
78
MS Environmental Science Program Review Report 2011
Appendix D: Graduate Program Guidelines, March 2009
MASTERS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
GRADUATE PROGRAM GUIDELINES
FLORIDA GULF COAST UNIVERSITY
DEPARTMENT OF MARINE AND ECOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Program Focus
The core of the program focuses on understanding the science of ecology, use of the
scientific method, interaction between human activities and natural systems, and the
history of environmental change. Students demonstrate their acquisition of this
knowledge and these skills through completion of a thesis. There are no set
concentrations, but students are expected to pursue interests related to the interaction
between humans and natural processes in one or more of the following domains:
organismal ecology, ecosystem ecology, marine science, geology, and biogeochemistry
as well as the application of science to environmental management and policy decisionmaking. Applications for the Fall term are due February 15 of the previous Spring.
Applicants will be informed of the resulting admission decisions no later than April 15,
that is, two months after the completed applications are due.
Interim Advisor
Each incoming graduate student is assigned one or more graduate faculty members who
will serve as Interim Advisor(s). The Interim Advisor(s) is selected by Program faculty at
the time a student is admitted, based on the research interests described by the student in
her or his application package. Incoming graduate students should contact their Interim
Advisors early in their first semester of graduate work.
An Interim Advisor agrees to commit time and attention to advise the incoming student
on an interim basis, and in many cases the Interim Advisor becomes the student’s Major
Professor. However, the incoming graduate student is free to seek out another graduate
faculty member as who may agree to serve as Major Professor.
Major Professor
A student should select and appoint a Major Professor by the end of the student’s first
semester (9 credit hours) in the program. The student and Major Professor should plan a
program of study that, when completed, will satisfy the degree requirements specified in
the University Catalog. Furthermore, the student should consult with the Major Professor
to identify a potential thesis topic and complete a Thesis Proposal, as described
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In the event a Major Professor is on temporary leave (e.g., sabbatical, leave of absence,
etc.), the Major Professor may continue to serve and shall coordinate, as necessary, with
the Program Leader and Department Chair to facilitate the needs of the student.
A Major Professor must meet the following requirements. He/she:
(1) must hold an appointment as a member of the graduate faculty within the
College of Arts and Sciences;
(2) must hold a terminal degree in the graduate program's discipline or in a
closely-related discipline; and
(3) must be a member of the graduate faculty in the department(s) within which
the program is housed (currently the Department of Marine and Ecological
Studies).
Co-Major Professors
In some instances a student may choose to have two professors serve as Major Professor.
In this situation both faculty members are approved as Co-Major Professors and jointly
serve in that role. Recognizing the scholarly value added by faculty of diverse
disciplinary interests as well as the need to maintain scholarly coherence of a graduate
program and ensure its proper administration, a faculty member who meets requirements
1 and 2 above but who does not meet requirement 3 may serve as Co-Major Professor
provided that the second Co-Major Professor meets all three of the above requirements.
Approval of a Co-Major Professor who is not a member of the graduate faculty in the
department(s) within which the graduate program resides shall be granted on a case-bycase basis at the discretion of the graduate faculty in said department(s) with the support
of the second Co-Major Professor, who must be a member of the graduate faculty in said
department(s). In exceptional circumstances, a Co-Major Professor may be approved who
is not employed at Florida Gulf Coast University but who is employed by an outside
professional organization or agency. This individual must hold an appointment, which
may be an adjunct appointment, as a member of the graduate faculty in the College of
Arts and Sciences and Florida Gulf Coast University.
In the case of a student choosing to work with Co-Major Professors, the student will work
with both Co-Major Professors to plan a program of study and should consult with both
Co-Major Professors to identify a potential thesis topic and complete a draft Thesis
Proposal. Both Co-Major Professors must sign approval on paperwork pertaining to the
student’s processing (i.e., committee form, change of committee form, etc.). It is
important that one of these Co-Major Professors be accessible on the university campus
for the student to make satisfactory progress on the thesis.
If a student has a single Major Professor, in the event that Major Professor leaves the
University but remains willing to serve (e.g., holds an appointment at another university;
retires; etc.), he or she may continue as a Co-Major Professor if the student selects a
second Co-Major Professor who meets all three requirements above. As noted above, it is
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important that one of these Co-Major Professors be accessible on the university campus
for the student to make satisfactory progress on the thesis.
Thesis Topic Selection and Thesis Proposal
Students should consult with their Major Professor(s) in identifying a topic area for their
thesis research beginning in the student’s first semester in the M.S. Program. A thesis
topic is to be selected no later than the end of the second semester. This topic should be
described in a document of a few pages that outlines the intended research topic,
summarizes intended research methods, provides a proposed timeline for the research,
and includes an initial bibliography of relevant primary literature. This document may be
used in discussing the intended thesis with faculty members who might compose the
Thesis Committee, described below. The student’s thesis topic description should be
presented to potential Thesis Committee members when inviting them to join the Thesis
Committee.
Students should work collaboratively with their Major Professor(s) in the preparation of a
Thesis Proposal that outlines their proposed plan of graduate research. The Thesis
Proposal should follow the format and style provided in the Environmental Research
Methodology (EVR 6022) course. A thesis proposal includes a well-developed abstract, a
full set of proposed research objectives, a detailed description of proposed research
methods, a description of potential results and conclusions, and a reasonably extensive
bibliography. The proposal may go through multiple drafts and can be considered an
initial draft of the thesis. All members of the Thesis Committee have the opportunity to
provide input toward the final version of the Thesis Proposal, and the Thesis Proposal
must be approved by all members of the Thesis Committee before the student begins
substantive research toward the thesis. In some cases, the research may require approval
by various extramural agencies, research review boards, and intramural panels; in those
cases, the student must demonstrate he or she has completed the applications for approval
of those entities and a reasonable likelihood that approval will be received before the
Thesis Committee will approve the Thesis Proposal.
Thesis Committee
Each student must have a Thesis Committee that is composed of three to four (3-4)
graduate faculty members, two (2) of whom must be members of the graduate faculty in
the department(s) within which the program resides. The Major Professor (who shall
serve as Chair of the Thesis Committee) must be a member of the graduate faculty in the
department(s) within which the graduate program resides (currently the Department of
Marine and Ecological Sciences). In the case of Co-Major Professors, both will serve as
Co-Chairs of the Thesis Committee. In such cases, only one of the Co-Major Professors
must be a member of the graduate faculty in the department(s) within which the graduate
program resides.
The third member may be from any university, college within FGCU, or professional
organization or agency, but must also hold an appointment as a graduate faculty member
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within the College of Arts and Sciences, which may be as an adjunct member. Adjunct
members must hold graduate adjunct faculty status granted by the College of Arts and
Sciences, through a procedure via the Graduate Affairs Committee. Adjunct members are
expected to hold an advanced terminal degree, have advanced academic and/or practiceoriented knowledge in a discipline relevant to the student’s thesis research, and have an
understanding of what constitutes excellence in academic thesis research. If Co-Major
Professors are present on the Thesis Committee and if only one (1) of the Co-Major
Professors is a member of the graduate faculty in the department(s) within which the
graduate program resides, then the third member of the Thesis Committee must also be a
member of said department. All Thesis Committee members must be appointed as
graduate faculty at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Thesis Milestones
These milestones identify specific actions a student should accomplish according to the
following schedule if the student is to be reasonably expected to complete the M.S.
degree in the anticipated 2- to 3-year time period. These are to be considered guidelines
rather than firm deadlines. Individual students and their mentors may find it necessary to
accomplish some actions earlier than listed here, and others may find sound academic
reasons to accomplish some actions later than listed here. Students and their mentors may
identify additional actions, and timing for those actions, that are not included on this list.
The timing of milestone completion assumes that a student enters in the fall of an
academic year and that they are full time (9 credit hours per semester). If a student is
part-time, milestones should be accomplished after the listed number of completed credit
hours.
Milestone
Timing of Accomplishment
Appointment of interim mentor
Upon admission
Selection of permanent mentor (Major
Professor)
During the first semester (before 9 credit
hours)
Identification of thesis topic and
description of topic in a brief document
During the second semester (after 9 credit
hours)
First draft of Thesis Proposal
Before the end of the second semester
(after 9 – 18 credit hours)
Selection of Thesis Committee
Before the end of the second semester
(after 9 – 18 credit hours)
Application for permission to conduct
research from any intramural or
extramural entities whose permission is
needed
In concert with preparation of research
proposal
Approval of Thesis Proposal by Thesis
Committee (may include a presentation
to the Thesis Committee)
Beginning of the third semester (before 27
credit hours)
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Register for at least 8 thesis credits and
conduct thesis research
After approval of Thesis Proposal by
Thesis Committee
Defense of thesis
End of 2-3 years
Completion and submittal of thesis
End of 2-3 years
The student and/or mentor is to submit the completed scholarly products (thesis topic
description, approved Thesis Proposal, oversight body applications and approvals, and
final Thesis) in electronic copy to the Department’s M.S. Degree Program Director. The
Director will keep these materials for purposes of verifying progress toward the degree
and to be made available for future students and/or mentors as information about
products that have been successful in the past.
Program of Study
Graduate students should work with their Major Professor(s) to select a program of study
that is integrated around a particular research theme and supports the thesis work.
Electives that are allowed in the Program are described in the University Catalog.
Recommended Course Sequence
Semester
I
Course
Credits
Estuarine Ecology (OCB 6635) OR Advanced Ecology (PCB 6064C 3
Elective 1
3
Elective 2
3
II
Environmental Research Methodologies (EVR 6022)
Concepts and Applications of Sustainability (EVR 6322) OR
Environmental Planning (EVR 6022) OR
Environmental Law (PAD 5620) OR
Environmental Policy (EVS 6937)
Elective 3
3
3
III
Elective 4
Elective 5
Master’s Thesis (EVS 6970)
Graduate Seminar in Current Topics (EVS 6920)
3
3
2
1
IV
Elective 6
Master’s Thesis (EVS 6970)
3
6
3
Thesis Defense Guidelines
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MS Environmental Science Program Review Report 2011
A thesis defense must be scheduled no later than one week prior to the last day of classes
each semester (in the Fall, Spring, or Summer Session B semesters) and not during a time
of semester breaks or holidays. The student will submit a complete draft of the thesis to
all Thesis Committee members no later than two weeks prior to the scheduled defense,
and Thesis Committee members will expect to deliver comments on the draft at the time
of the defense. If the student would like to receive comments prior to the defense, the
Thesis Committee members must receive a complete draft no later than four weeks prior
to the defense.
The presentation portion of the thesis defense is open to the general public. The defense
must be widely announced within the University and to the broader public (e.g., flyers,
email broadcasts, etc.) at least one week, and preferably at least two weeks, prior to the
date of the thesis defense. The student will first present the thesis research in a session
that is open to the general public (non-Thesis Committee members) and also attended by
the Thesis Committee. Upon completion of that presentation, the public will be invited to
ask questions. At the end of this period, and after the public has departed the room, the
Thesis Committee will ask further questions of the graduate student. As a rule, the entire
process is expected to be completed in no more than 2 ½ hours.
Each student is expected to defend his/her thesis to the unanimous satisfaction of the
Thesis Committee. The student is also expected to incorporate comments made by
Thesis Committee members at the time of the defense into the thesis, to the unanimous
satisfaction of the Thesis Committee, before it is approved for submittal to the
University, and therefore should schedule the defense at a time that will allow this thesis
revision and further Thesis Committee review prior to the University’s submittal
deadline. A number of other administrative deadlines must be met before and during the
final submittal, and the student is responsible for meeting these deadlines and for being
aware of the time that will be required for the Thesis Committee and the University to
provide approvals prior to expected graduation.
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Appendix E: New Policies Document, February 2011
MS Environmental Science & MA in Environmental Studies
Newly Adopted Policies and Practices
Final Draft: February 2, 2011; approved January 14, 2011
Author: Michael Savarese
To be implemented beginning Fall, 2011
These policies are to be added to existing policies.
1. Oversight of the MA Environmental Studies and MS Environmental Science
graduate programs. Full and Associate Graduate Faculty within the Department of
Marine and Ecological Sciences are entrusted with the administration of the two
graduate programs. These faculty members are responsible for the development and
implementation of fair and rigorous policies and processes that ensure the quality of
graduate education and protect our students and faculty.
2. Composition and role of the Graduate Policy and Admission Committee. This
committee consists of graduate faculty from the Department of Marine and
Ecological Sciences at Full or Associate Graduate Faculty rank. The Committee
includes the two Program Leaders from the MA and MS programs, plus a minimum
of 3 other graduate faculty, bringing the minimum membership to 5 persons.
Program Leaders recruit Committee members by soliciting participation. The
Committee oversees the admission and student financial award process and develops
new policy and procedures, as needed, for consideration of the greater graduate
faculty in the department.
3. Minimum and continued enrollment of graduate students. Graduate students, to
be considered active within the graduate program, must enroll in a minimum of 1
credit hour each fall and spring semester from the time they enter the program until
they graduate. For students who have completed the curriculum’s required classroom
courses, this 1-credit requirement is met most easily by registration in one thesis
research credit. Students may, under special circumstances, apply for a leave of
absence through the University’s Office of Graduate Studies. The University policy
dictates that non-enrollment for 3 consecutive semesters (summers included) results
in the student being dropped from the program as an active degree-seeking student
and the student’s status being changed to that of non-degree seeking. In order to
graduate from the program, the student is required to reapply for admission, and, if
reinstated, the program will determine which previously earned credits are applicable
toward graduation. Furthermore, if a student becomes inactive and is therefore
required to reapply, reinstatement requires the permission of the former major
professor.
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4. Colisted graduate courses. Faculty members teaching a graduate-level course that is
colisted with an undergraduate course are required to schedule a minimum of one
additional contact hour per week with the graduate students. Graduate students are
also expected to work above and beyond what is required of undergraduate students
in those courses.
5. Determining the appropriateness of a chosen thesis topic. A student’s thesis topic
must be consistent with the department’s curricular and scholarly mission and be
compatible with our existing course offerings.
6. Tracking graduate student milestones to graduation. The Program Leader must
be notified of the completion of the following steps toward a student’s graduation: (1)
the graduate student’s research topic, title, or basic description, and major professor;
(2) the composition of the student’s graduate committee; and (3) the approved thesis
research proposal (this document must be submitted to the Program Leader for use in
program assessment). A separate form for each milestone must be completed and
signed by the student, major professor, and Program Leader.
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