Chemistry Ph.D. Assessment Plan

1. Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

SLOs establish quantifiable performance targets for the Ph.D. candidate and provide a framework for graduate curriculum revision and program improvement. View the complete list.

2. Assessment Timelines

Assessments are applied throughout the student's degree timeline to collect data aligned with the Ph.D. SLOs. The timeline documents linked below use a graphical format to show when the Ph.D. assessments are applied. They also provide comprehensive information, semester‐by‐semester, on all other graduate program expectations, including deadlines and links to departmental and Graduate School forms.

Timeline prior to defending semester/term

Fall Entry

Spring Entry

Timeline for defending semester/term

December Graduation

May Graduation

August Graduation

3. Assessment Tools

Assessment tools consist mostly of rubrics and surveys designed to collect performance data aligned with the Ph.D. SLOs (section 1). Rubrics/surveys are checkbox‐based to enable ease‐of‐use for faculty while providing clear performance expectations for the student. The assessment tools are applied according to the timelines in section 2. Whenever possible, students should provide faculty with the assessment tools linked below and ask that they complete them. Faculty should discuss outcomes with the student, but should turn in any rubrics they complete to the DGS or Ryan Damhoff for processing and archiving. Person(s) responsible for applying the rubric/survey tools are listed under each SLO. The DGS or Ryan Damhoff will convert all submitted rubric/survey data to proficiency ratings (PRs), which students then enter into their Individual Development Plans (section 4). PR values of 3.00 or better are generally required to meet SLO targets. These values are also used to construct aggregate internal and external reports. Students may see the DGS or Ryan Damhoff to obtain their PR values or other data (such as ACS background scores).

4. Individual Development Plan (IDP)

IDPs are recommended by the ACS Presidential Commission Report, Advancing Graduate Education in the Chemical Sciences (p.13, item 1.6). Our department's Ph.D. IDP has been designed as an electronic portfolio for tracking assessment progress and showcasing academic and professional progress. Students update their IDPs regularly as they obtain new data aligned with the Ph.D. SLOs, engage in or achieve something new (such as manuscript/grant proposal writing, a publication, workshop training, or presenting a poster). Beginning semester 2, students schedule Advisory Committee meetings, per departmental policy, to discuss their IDP data with faculty, especially in areas where intervention/support are needed. More generally, the primary objectives of these meetings and the IDP are to:

  1. Increase interaction between students and faculty.
  2. Discuss diverse M.S. career options and assist students in building mentoring networks/expanding skills.
  3. Provide timely conflict resolution, if needed.
  4. Establish a robust and consistent framework for evaluating and tracking academic/research progress and professional engagement across the program.

Ph.D. IDPs are shared on the student's NIU OneDrive with the DGS and members of the Advisory Committee.

Laboratory Safety

  • Please visit the department Safety page for Safety Resources and the Lab Safety Meeting Schedule.

Other Documents