Educational Objectives Report

 

Chemical Engineering

 

 

Prepared Fall 2004

 

By

 

Chemical Engineering Faculty

 

 

 

 

Mission of the Institute

 

New Mexico Tech is an institute of higher learning that serves the people of New Mexico by integrating education, research, public service, and economic development through emphasis on science, engineering, and natural resources. Its mission is threefold:

 

1.     helping students learn creative approaches to complex issues

2.     creating and communicating knowledge, and

3.     solving technical and scientific problems.

 

Mission of the Chemical Engineering Program

 

The mission of our program is to engage and prepare students for professional careers which require command of the principles of Chemical Engineering.  We will focus on the development of complete engineers who can foster innovation through know-how and champion ideas through effective communication.  We will deliver a thorough education with insightful teaching, an innovative curriculum, research opportunities, summer job experiences, and channels for permanent, successful careers.  All of our efforts are done in the context of providing the human and technical resources critical to enhancing the vitality of the State of New Mexico and the people and businesses that thrive within this region.  Like our counterparts in industry, we recognize that achievement of our mission can only be accomplished by continual self-assessment and actions to improve.

 


Program and Educational Objectives:

 

 

Educational Objectives (Targeting the Outcomes of the Program):

 

1.     Develop complete engineers who can:  solve problems, innovate, experiment, be resourceful, and champion ideas through effective communication.

 

2.     Engender an understanding of the broad reach of a modern Chemical Engineering education and the array of knowledge required to implement solutions which will benefit our society.

 

3.     Provide a conduit to successful careers in the spectrum of fields which benefit from a command of the principles of Chemical Engineering.

 

4.     Foster a life long love of learning, opening doors to graduate study and enabling graduates to adapt to changes and opportunities in the profession.

 

 

Program Objectives (Targeting the Input to the Program):

 

1.     Foster insightful classroom and laboratory experiences enhanced by the presence of students with solid educational backgrounds, lead by strong teaching from engaging faculty.

 

2.     Together with our students, administration, industrial supporters, and other constituents (as both individuals and as a team), foster an environment of continual self-assessment and improvement.

 


Educational Objectives Report Outline:

 

The purpose of the Educational Objectives Report is to provide constituents with an overview of progress in achieving Educational Goals.  The report contains reflections on several assessment tools described below which support suggested recommendations for improvement.  The Educational Objectives Report has the following outline:

 

 

Report Summary and Recommendations:

 

á      Summary:  Strengths, Areas to Improve Noted Previously, Actions, Results

á      Areas to Improve

á      Recommendations

 

Assessment Tools:

 

á      Specific Reports Follow-Up on 2003 Actions

o      Mathematics Diagnostic Test (Jeon)

o      Effect of Moving ChE 326 to 3rd Semester on Comprehension (Dong)

o      Report on Enhancing Statistics&Probability in the Curriculum (Dong/Weinkauf)

 

á      FE exam results: General – morning session (Jeon)

á      FE exam results: Afternoon Chemical Engineering Subject Baseline (Jeon)

á      ChE Freshmen ACT-Math scores (Jeon)

á      ChE Math Placement Test (MPT) results (Jeon)

á      3 Month Placements Statistics (Weinkauf)

á      Summarize:  Outside review of design presentations (Weinkauf)

á      General Degree Requirements – Technical Writing Portfolio Review (Weinkauf)

á      Exiting Graduate Survey Results – Early Probe of Success (Fall 2004) (Dong)

á      Alumni Survey Results (Fall 2005)

 

Appendices:

 

1.     2003 Educational and Program Objectives Recommendations and Owners

2.     Tabulated Data from FE Exam Diagnostics Test

 

 


Educational Objectives Summary: 

Strengths, Areas to Improve Noted Previously, Action, & Results

1.     Develop complete engineers who can:  solve problems, innovate, experiment, be resourceful, and champion ideas through effective communication.

Strengths:  70% of all Chemical Engineers who have graduated from New Mexico Tech passed the FE exam.  This compares to approximately 21% of all BS Chemical Engineers nationally (with an 85% pass rate) where taking the exam is largely elective.  Over the past two years, the NMTech Chemical Engineers have passed the FE at an 80% rate.  NMTech Chemical Engineering alumni rate there technical competence, work experience, and communication skills very high in comparison to their peers in industry and graduate school.  The programŐs focus on developing teamwork through design courses (ChE 345L and ChE 461/462), and technical experience outside of the classroom are also highly valued by alumni.  Outside Advisory Board members have noted a significant improvement across among all classes in their ability to communicate ideas over the past several years. 

Areas to Improve from 2003 Report:  Relative weaknesses in mathematics and thermodynamics are noted by the FE exam results.  ChE alumni also feel that we could enhance exposure to statistics and design of experiments. 

Actions and Results:

á      Administered FE Exam-style Math Diagnostics Test (Owner: Jeon)

Diagnostic test administered to 2 classes (26 students) to identify the specific areas where students feel the least comfort in being able to solve Math problems.  The two populations show identical trends in comfort level in specific areas of mathematics namely, Numerical Methods and to a lesser extent Geometry, Differential Equations, and Probability&Statistics.

á      Examined curriculum for areas to enhance students exposure to statistical analysis and Design of Experiments (Owner:  Dong)

Formal lecture material regarding statistics is covered early in the Chemical Engineering curriculum (ES111 – Computer Programming– 2nd Semester) and  Chem 311&Lab - Quantitative Analysis – 3rd Semester).  Formal lecture and lab practice includes, Sample Error (random and systematic), Normal and Skewed Distributions, Q-test, Linearization, Linear Regression, Model Error, t-statistic, confidence, and One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA).  With the exception of DOE, the coverage appears to be substantive and adequate.  Question posed at Fall Ő04 faculty meeting, how can the faculty and the curriculum build on this material and raise confidence in studentŐs ability to apply this knowledge?  So/Jr level course in Engineering Analysis and modification of lab content were discussed.  Course in Numerical Methods and Statistical Analysis also discussed as new required Chemical Engineering course.  Follow-up:  See Educational Objectives Recs for 2005 (Owner:  Dong/Jeon).

 

2.        Engender an understanding of the broad reach of a modern Chemical Engineering education and the array of knowledge required to implement solutions which will benefit our society.

Strengths: From our placement statistics, students are employed in a reasonably broad spectrum of Chemical Engineering fields which reflects the employment base in the region.  Given this array of fields, alumni note a very high confidence in being able to solve problems in their respect technical areas.  Alumni also see how what they are doing in their field connects with society. 

Areas to Improve from 2003 Report:  It is clear from both current student interviews and the Recent Graduate Survey, that the program must improve in its ability to convey both the basic and broader nature of the field of Chemical Engineering earlier in the curriculum.  That is to say, the curriculum and program should do a better job of conveying exactly what students can do with a Chemical Engineering background.  With this understanding, students feel that they would use electives more effectively, selecting specific internships, and begin planning for alternative career paths at an earlier stage in their tenure.

Actions and Results Summary: 

á      Moved ChE 326 (Intro to Chemical Engineering) from 4th to 3rd Semester (Owner:  Dong/ChE Faculty)

Results:  Earlier injection of Chemical Engineering into the experience of our students.  Course content modified only marginally.  Student comprehension not affected by the earlier exposure.  Grades in course correlate almost exclusively with entering GPA, regardless of the number of semesters of experience.  

á      Piloted new course ChE 189 – Frontiers in Chemical Engineering (Spring 2004) to Freshmen (Owner:  Weinkauf)

Results:  Discussion style course including History of Chemical Engineering, Frontiers in Chemical Engineering, Learning Styles Assessment, NMTech Chemical Engineering Curriculum, and Ethics.  A new course (EDUC 101-Chemical Engineering) lead by Chemical Engineering upper classmen may offer a better format for exploring this material with guest lectures by Chemical Engineering faculty.  EDUC 101 also incorporates campus-wide resources (library etc) and other topics for early student success.

á      Retooled the Chemical Engineering Seminar Series (Owner:  Dong)

Results:  Fall 2004 included 3 seminars:  Synthesis of Self-Assembled Mesoporous Microspheres and Applications (Tim Ward – University of New Mexico), Molecular Simulation of Membrane Based Separation Processes (Sohail Murad – University of Illinois – Chicago), Bio-based Fuel Cells (Plamen Atanassov – Univ. of New Mexico).  The seminar series is well attended by students (~ 25% of all ChE students) along with the growing grad and post-doc population within the program. 

á      Continued to promote interactions of students at AIChE Conferences and Local Meetings (Owner:  Weinkauf/AIChE Student Chapter - President)

Results:  Seven student representatives at AIChE Annual Meeting 2003 (San Francisco), Eleven student representatives at AIChE Annual Meeting 2004 (Austin).  1st Place Finish of student in Paper Contest at Regional AIChE Meeting (Provo, Utah (3/04)) and will contend in the National Contest (Austin, Texas (11/04)).  Students attend Albuquerque Local Sub-Chapter AIChE Meetings (4/Ő04).  Six industry members of Albuquerque Local AIChE Sub-Chapter attend student chapter meeting in Socorro (Oct. Ő04).

 

3.     Provide a conduit to successful careers in the spectrum of fields which benefit from a command of the principles of Chemical Engineering.

Strengths:  The placement statistics suggest that the Chemical Engineering program is doing a reasonable job of placing students in the spectrum of industrial, government, and graduate study positions.  From the Recent Graduate Survey, students relay a high confidence to solve technical problems in this spectrum of fields and feel prepared at a level above their peers.  The quality of graduate schools is also high.  Of the 60 graduates from the program prior to the fall of 2003, 9 (15%) are on PhD tracks, with 3 having been completed by Spring 2004.  Fourteen (23%) of the 60 tracked alumni tracked in our records have completed or are pursuing M.S. degrees.  Two of the 60 alumni alumni (3%) have been selected as NSF Graduate Research Fellows.

Areas to Improve from 2003 Report:  Career Services at New Mexico Tech needs to be improved.  (This service is greatly hampered by the small size and isolated geographical region of school in attracting company representatives to recruit.)  The program must work toward broadening the placement base to include larger scale employers at the national level.  The program sees an unusually high percentage or perhaps an over-reliance on government-based research lab employment (although it should be noted that these are the dominant employers in the region).

Actions and Results Summary: 

á      Assessed students command of the principles of Chemical Engineering through the FE exam subject tests (Owner: Jeon).

In the Spring 2004 academic year, 11 senior Chemical Engineering students took the FE exam.  The pass rate for these students was 82% (or 9 out of 11).  Most impressive, the average cumulative GPA of the 11 students taking the exam was only 3.12 with a highly bimodal distribution.  Six out of seven (86%) passed the General/Chemical test.  Students scored above the National average in the following Chemical Engineering subjects:  Numerical Methods, Process Control, The success may be attributed to the involvement of the Chemical Engineering faculty (Weinkauf and Jeon) in FE Exam Review sessions, as well as, increased advertisement about the importance of the exam during advising sessions. 

á      Faculty seek multiple routes to promote career pathways for students from our geographically isolated and small sized school (Owner:  ChE Faculty)

The senior seminar (ChE 485) has taken on a new objective of providing a forum for career path and job seeking strategies.  Resumes are reviewed and peer reviewed in class.  Job Fair and Interview schedules are also discussed.  This year marks the first graduates (2) from NMTech to be employed by large scale ŇtraditionalÓ chemical companies.  These interviews and appointments were arranged entirely by student contact at off-campus events and conferences such as the Society of Hispanic Engineers National and Regional Meetings. A new Coop Program is established with Los Alamos National Lab through the direct effort of our Advisory Board.  Intel and Sandia National Labs continue to be strong summer and Coop supporters with over 10 students being involved with these companies each of the past 5 years.  The first A total of 18 students from NMTech attend the National AIChE Annual Meetings in 2003 and 2004. 

 

4.     Foster a life long love of learning, opening doors to graduate study and enabling graduates to adapt to changes and opportunities in the profession.

Strengths:  The vast majority of graduates of NMTech Chemical Engineering often read for pleasure and plan on continuing their education in someway.  Thirty four percent (34%) of our graduates enter graduate study within six months of graduating from NMTech. 

Areas to Improve from 2003 Report:  Monitor success of graduates over the long term with reflections on career changes and continuing education.

Actions and Results Summary:

á      No specific actions cited from the 2003 Report

In Fall 2005, a complete assessment of the 98-00 graduates will provide a worthy benchmark for this particular Educational Objective which tracks students in the 5 to 10 year post graduation time frame.  (The Recent Graduate Survey tracks students in the 1 to 3 year window.)  While qualitative data exists for the career paths of over 90% of our graduates, it will be important to provide some quantitative assessment of the success of our graduates in the 5 to ten year window.  Presently, the program has 6 years of graduates with only 6 graduates with more than five years of experience to assess our success.  Of the six, two are completing PhD degrees (Univ. of Texas and Georgia Tech), three are leading careers at Intel, Kraft Foods, and Los Alamos National Lab.  The other is a home-working mom with a successful jewelry business, following a 5 year career with an Engineering Design Firm.   As the program grows, a more statistically significant pool of 5 year plus graduates will enable a more thorough reflection of this Educational Objective involving life-long learning and changes and opportunities in the profession.


Areas to Improve

 

  1. Command of the Principles of Chemical Engineering.  It is clear from the results of the most recent Chemical Engineering subject scores that our graduates have a command of the principles of Chemical Engineering at a level at or above the average FE examinee in the nation.  Apart from periodic ABET and NCA reviews, how do we ensure that over time, the content of each subject is covered in a consistent manner.  The Chemical Engineering faculty should work toward piecing the stated objectives of each course into the end of semester evaluation.  The students should provide semester-by-semester feed back on the achievement of each of the principles objectives of the course. 
  2. Analytical Thinking in Oral/Written Communication.  A review of the Technical Writing Portfolios by a campus-wide committee including Chemical Engineering has shown some concerns regarding the ability of students to communicate analytically.  This is a broad problem not specific to Chemical Engineering and will require a curriculum wide / campus-wide approach to resolving. 
  3. Computer Algorithms and Numerical Methods.  Recent FE exam results show a declining performance in Chemical Engineering student scores in Computer Algorithms and Numerical Methods.  Additionally, from the Math Diagnostics Exam, students expressed low confidence in being able to solve problems in this area.
  4. Assessment and Mechanism for Improvement of Teaching Effectiveness.  The program should develop better assessment tools for evaluating teaching effectiveness.  Additionally, the program needs to develop means by which the program can improve teaching. 

 2004 Recommendations for 2005:

Educational Objectives:

1.        Adjust the curriculum to reinforce students exposure to Numerical Methods in the Junior and Senior years.  (Owner:  Jeon)

2.        Incorporate Design of Experiments into the Unit Operations Laboratory.  (Owner:  Dong)

3.        Learn from other schools effective methods of teaching assessment and modes to improve teaching effectiveness (Owner:  Weinkauf)

4.        Provide a more complete examination of the low FE exam scores in Process Equipment Design and suggest course of action (Owner:  Bretz)

5.        Conduct the scheduled 5-10 year review of alumni and gage success of Educational Objective #4 (Owner:  Weinkauf).

 

Programmatic Objectives:

á      Carry Over:  Solidify plan to increase ŇbodiesÓ involved with Chemical Engineering students (FTE = 4.0) Owner Weinkauf/Gerity

á      Carry Over:  Initiate ŇRealÓ Space and Utilization Dialogue with all DeptŐs in building - Owner Weinkauf/Gerity/MSEC Dept.Ős

á      Reinvigorate Freshmen Recruiting Plan - Goal of 20 New ChE Fall 2004 - Owner:  Jeon/Dong

á      Formalize faculty status with Materials/Environmental/Chemisty to receive full FTE credit for ChE level of graduate advising.  Owner:  Dong/Gerity

á      Attain the highest publication rate of all programs on campus for 2004 (SCI pubs/FTE).  Owner:  ChE Faculty

á      Increase annualized research expenditures rate (k$/FTE) by 10%. Owner:  ChE Faculty

á      Continue to Assess Program and Assessment Plan:  Owner: Advisory Board/Weinkauf

 

 


Assessment Tools Summary:

Specific Reports from 2003 Recommendations:

 

Report on Effect of Moving ChE 326 to 3rd Semester:

 

The Chemical Engineering faculty moved to place the first Chemical Engineering course ChE 326 into the 3rd semester of the curriculum.  Additionally, a trial ChE 189 course was offered as a means to reach out to students earlier in the curriculum.  One concern is that by moving ChE 326 earlier in the curriculum, students without some Engineering Science course background may struggle.  The data is clear that student comprehension (as measured by Mid-Term grades) is directly a function of entering GPA and is virtually independent of the number of semesters of Engineering curriculum experience.

 


Figure 1.  Mid-Term grade as function of when in the curriculum the ChE 326 course is taken.


Figure 2. Mid-Term grade as function of entering GPA prior to taking ChE 326.


 


FE Exam Math Diagnostic Test (Jeon):

 

To simply say we need to improve Mathematics in the curriculum is an extremely broad target, so as a 2003 Action the Chemical Engineering faculty set-out to define the specific areas within the curriculum which need improvement (See 2003 Educational Objectives Recommendations Appendix #1) . In 2004, 26 NMT ChE senior students have been surveyed to assess the historically weak FE Exam scores in Mathematics.  Over the past 8 semesters, NMT ChE students average Mathematics score is about 6 percentage points below the national average for ChE students taking the exam.  As the FE Math score is none specific, the survey was designed to target weak areas from the range of mathematics fields covered in the exam.  The survey simply probed the comfort level with solving 15 FE-style exam problems (Ň2003 FE Exam Math Diagnostic Sample TestÓ) in the range of mathematics topics.  The two populations showed virtually identical trends in comfort levels with specific areas of Mathematics.  As shown in Figure 3 students expressed the highest discomfort with Numerical Methods problems and to a lesser extent problems involving Geometry and Differential Equations.  Statistics and Probability may also be an area of lower confidence.  Interestingly, the most recent results for the FE Exam suggest that NM Tech Chemical Engineering students are achieving Mathematics scores equivalent to the national average as shown in Figure 4.  Clearly, however, student comfort with these math areas suggests that there are areas to improve the curriculum. 

Figure 3.         Comparison of FE Exam Math Diagnostic Test: CF = 100% means Ňvery easyÓ, while CF = 0% Ňvery difficultÓ.

 

 

Report on Enhancing Statistics / Probability in the Curriculum:

Formal lecture material regarding statistics is covered early in the Chemical Engineering curriculum (ES111 – Computer Programming– 2nd Semester) and  Chem 311&Lab - Quantitative Analysis – 3rd Semester).  Formal lecture and lab practice includes, Sample Error (random and systematic), Normal and Skewed Distributions, Q-test, Linearization, Linear Regression, Model Error, t-statistic, confidence, and One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA).  With the exception of DOE, the coverage appears to be substantive and adequate.  From discussion with students with internship experience and a review of the Recent Graduate Survey Results, many of the concerns more specifically arise from a lack of exposure to Design of Experiments (DOE).

Question posed at Fall Ő04 faculty meeting, how can the faculty and the curriculum build on this material and raise confidence in studentŐs ability to apply this knowledge?  So/Jr level course in Engineering Analysis and modification of lab content were discussed. Course in Numerical Methods and Statistical Analysis also discussed as new required Chemical Engineering course.  Follow-up:  See Educational Objectives Recs for 2005 (Owner:  Dong/Jeon).

 

 

 

FE Morning General Exam Results Summary:

 

One measure of our success in developing Ňcomplete engineersÓ is benchmarking our ChE students morning session FE exam scores with ChE students from around the nation.  Figures 4 and 5 below shows the average score for our ChE students minus the national average in each subject. 

Figure 4.         Morning FE exam subject score difference of 43 NMTech ChE compared to the national average of Chemical Engineers.

 

The results indicate relative weaknesses and strengths in our curriculum compared to other select students from schools across the county.  First, it should be noted that nationally only 21% of Chemical Engineering students sit for the FE exam, compared to 100% of the students at NM Tech.  Presently, 70% of the NM Tech ChE students pass the FE exam.  This compares to approximately 21% of all BS Chemical Engineers nationally (with an 85% pass rate) where taking the exam is largely elective.  The departmental goal is to increase our pass rate to 75%.  Figure 6 shows the scores between NMTech seniors and BS ChE students nationwide.  The score differences are very strong given the fact that 100% of all NMTech ChE seniors are required to take the exam, whereas it is elective at most universities NM Tech ChE students are relatively weak in mathematics, engineering dynamics, and thermodynamics.  Of the highest concern are the consistently low scores in mathematics and thermodynamics.  Since mechanical dynamics is not a course taken in our curriculum it is less of a concern, however, the ChE 443 lecture should emphasize the connections between chemical and mechanical dynamic models.  Advisors in the curriculum will continue suggest students take the ChE pm exam, so that we can use this as an additional assessment tool in the future.

 

 

Figure 5.         FE Morning Exam Results for 2002-2004 (15 students) showing recent Mathematics score equivalent to the national average.

 

 

 

FE Chemical Engineering PM Subject Exam Results Summary:

 

To assess our Educational Objective of ensuring that our graduates have a command of the principles of Chemical Engineering, we have begun to analyze the FE Chemical Engineering subject scores.  The subject areas include Computers and Numerical Methods, Chemical Reaction Kinetics, Chemical Thermodynamics, Heat and Mass Transfer, Energy & Material Balances, Process Control, and Transport Phenomena.  Students have a choice between the General and Chemical subject tests for the afternoon FE session, therefore not all Chemical Engineers take the Chemical test.  One reason for this may be that the campus-wide FE review sessions prior to the exam provide an excellent preparation for the General exam.  During the lifetime of the program, 28 students have taken the Chemical subject test.  Of these 28, 73% pass the exam which is roughly equivalent to overall pass rate for the program.  In 2003-04, 88% of the students (7/8) taking the Chemical subject test passed the FE exam.

 

The relative scores of the 23 students who have taken the Chemical subject test are compared with ChE students from around the nation in Figure 6.  The results suggest their relative strength (defined as subject scores within 5% of the national average) in the subjects of Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, Materials&Energy Balances, Process Safety, and Process Control.  We can define areas to improve by moving averages falling below 10% of the national average.  Here, the program should focus on the relatively low scores in  Numerical Methods, Process Equipment Design, Heat Transfer, and Pollution Prevention.

 

Figure 6.         Relative scores in the Chemical Engineering FE subject test for all NMTech ChE students taking the exam (23 students).

 

 

 

The results of the most recent 8 students taking the Chemical subject test during the 2003-04 academic year can be examined in Figure 7.  Although this is a statistically small sample size, the results provide an additional perspective of the overall results shown in Figure 6.  As in Figure 6, the results in Figure 7 suggest that the most recent students have relative strength (defined as subject scores within 5% of the national average) in the subjects of Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics, Materials&Energy Balances, Process Safety, and Process Control.  Additionally, the scores suggest that students have relatively strong basis in Mass Transfer and Pollution Prevention (which in the overall average appears to be low).  However, it is clear the relatively low scores in Numerical Methods and Process Equipment Design persist in these most recent scores. 

 

Figure 7.         Relative scores in the Chemical Engineering FE subject test for NMTech ChE students taking the exam during the 2003-04 academic year (8 students).

 

 

In viewing the results from Figure 6 and 7, the program should examine the performance of the curriculum in Numerical Methods and Process Equipment Design.


ACT-Math Scores and Math Placement Scores:

 

One measure of our studentŐs quality is to survey their ACT Math scores when accepted in NMTech.  Figure 8 shows the ACT math scores for all freshmen and transfer students from other institutions.  The average ACT math score is 26.3 ± 1.1 and very consistent over the years, suggesting that overall quality of our ChE incoming students does not change.  At the beginning each freshmanŐs first semester, a Math Placement Test is administered.  In Figure 8, the pass rates of our ChE students in the math placement test (MPT) is shown over the past 5 years.  The overall pass rate for the past five years is 76 ±12%.  The Fall 2004 scores are the lowest in many years.  A passing grade allows the students to enter into 1st semester Calculus without having to take any remedial courses such as Trig or Algebra.  It is important to note, however, that only those students who score below 30 or SAT Math score lower than 680 are required to take the exam. We will continue to track this score to gauge this important measure of the caliber of the students attracted to the program. 

Figure 8.          Incoming Chemical Engineering Freshmen:  ACT-Math score and pass rate in NMTech math placement test (MPT).

 

2003-2004 Graduating Senior Placement Statistics:

 

The class of 2003-2004 experienced another relatively weak employment market with few options for even the strongest students.  This year, thirteen Chemical Engineering students graduated from NM Tech with BS in Chemical Engineering degrees.  Three of the 13 (23%) are enrolled in graduate school.  All are strong students and all three have selected NM Tech to continue their studies.  One of these turned down an offer from industry to work under the direction of Dr. Dong in Chemical Engineering.  Three of the 13 (23%) took positions in industry (Intel, BPAmoco-Chemical, and Dow Chemical Co.).  While Intel has hired NM Tech Chemical Engineers previously, this year marks the first graduates to be employed at BP Amoco and Dow Chemical.  3 of the 13 (23%) accepted positions with the government or government driven research labs (U.S. Army, EMRTC, and Sandia National Lab).  Four of the 13 (31%) were still actively seeking employment three months after graduation.  (Of these, two very strong students for went their job searches until after graduation to focus on their wedding.)

 

The updated placement statistics for all Chemical Engineering graduates (73 students) immediately following graduation yield the following distribution:

 

á      34% Attend graduate school (25/73)*

á      19% Government Laboratory:  Los Alamos, Sandia, LANL, China Lake (14/73)

á      11% Semiconductor (8/73)

á      10% Oil and Gas (7/73)

á      10% Traditional:  Chemicals, Food, Engineering Design, Environmental (7/73)

á      5% Pharmaceuticals (4/73)

á      8% Seeking Employment 3 mo. Following graduation (6/73)

 

*Graduate Schools:  NMTech (Mechanical Engineering – Explosives) (8), NMTech (Materials/Chemical Engineering – Fuel Cells), University of New Mexico (3), Univ. of Texas (2), Purdue, Princeton, Drexel, UC-Berkeley, UC-Davis, Duke (MD-BioMed), NCSU (Nuclear Engr.), Georgia Tech (Mech. Engr.), NMTech (Envr. Engr), NMTech (Management).

 

Recent Graduate Survey:  

 

(From Fall 2003 Report) To establish a benchmark, the Recent Graduate Survey was sent to the past three years of graduates.  The Web-based form has received a tremendous amount of input into our program.  The questionnaire is used to gage the students level of technical and soft-skills preparation for their current positions.  The strengths and weaknesses of the program are also probed in an open format.  The survey is attached in Appendix A and a breakdown of the results is shown in Figure 2. 

 

In summary, the response from our alumni is that they are very well prepared technically for their current positions at a level above their peers.  One hundred percent of the respondents had on-campus and/or off-campus research/internship experience while attending NMTech.  Soft-skill strengths of team building, communication, and awareness are also very strong.  The survey also suggests that our alumni rank very high the likelihood of continuing their educations in some way. 

 

The Strengths and Weaknesses sections are also illuminating.  Recurring weakness comments include the level of mathematics and statistics exposure or mastery.  Design of experiments is also needed.  The strengths of the program are the level of technical preparation, emphasis on soft-skills, and research/internship opportunities promoted by the faculty.  Interestingly, soft-skills preparation is mentioned as both a strength and weakness suggesting continued emphasis in this area. 

 

Outside Review of Design Presentations:

 

Since the inception of the program, outside reviewers have attended the Senior Design Presentations at NMTech.    The Spring 2004 design topics were: 

 

1.        Natural Gas Fractionation Facility – San Juan Basin

2.        Ice Cream Manufacturing Plant

3.        Poly(benzimidizole) Production Facility

4.        Ale/Lager Brewery

 

In attendance were the ChE Faculty (Bretz, Dong, Jeon, Weinkauf) and outside reviewers:  Dave Boneau, (Yates Petroleum), Dick Traeger (Sandia), Lincoln Busselle (Intel Corp), Jerry Parkinson (Los Alamos), Kevin Honnell (Los Alamos). 

 

The reviewing panel discussion which followed the presentations made the following observations:

 

á      The quality of the presentations is greatly improved over early years

 

á      Each group involved outside contacts with industry in their design

 

á      Students handled glitches in talk very well

 

 

The suggested areas of improvement included:

 

á      Students should cover the ŇbiggestÓ technical uncertainty regarding proposed project

á      Some groups appeared to lack technical insight into the process

á      Innovation – Students should present what is original in their designs

 

 

 

Graduate Degree Requirement Assessment Committee:

 

The Ad Hoc Committee to assess the learning objectives for the General Degree Requirements met Friday, June 18th, 2004.  Reviewers represented departments and programs from across campus and included:  Rakhim Aitbayev (Mathematics), Robert Ewing (Chemistry), Julie Ford (Technical Communications), Dal Symes (Library Director), Donald Weinkauf (Chemical Engineering), Carole Yee (Assoc. V.P. of Academic Affairs), Lisa Young (Physics), Scott Zeman(History). The committee looked at randomly selected English 341 portfolios to determine if the mastery of the following learning objectives could be determined from the materials:

 

o      An ability to communicate well

 

o      An ability to reason well

 

o      An ability to evaluate and apply information

 

- Development of analytical and quantitative skills   (The committee agreed that it would not be possible to assess these skills from the portfolios.  Besides there are  better ways already in practice for assessing these skills.))

 

Given the nature of English 341, it was difficult for the committee to assess the following two learning objectives:

 

 

o      An understanding of human societies and cultures

 

o      A recognition of responsible values and ethics

 

 

Observations:

 

In general, the committee found that the learning objectives cover much more than can be determined from one junior-level technical writing course and that the assessment of these objectives should be considered in conjunction with capstone materials or other senior research papers. 

 

Skills in Evidence:

 

The committee found that the students, with very few exceptions, have good mastery over basic writing skills, mechanics, and basic organization.

 

Concerns:  Skills In Need of Development

 

Because students may not be required to write enough in their general requirements, they often do not seem to be aware that their writing skills will improve as they continue to write

 

While students varied in their demonstration of analytical thinking skills in the portfolio, many students seemed to argue from feelings or by summary, rather than from careful reasoning. 

 

Students, in general, did not demonstrate a strong skill in finding, evaluating, and applying information that they had used from their research. 

 

Students did not demonstrate understandings of how to use facts, figures, and translate that into their analysis.

 

While some students used graphics, they were not generally skilled in the application of graphics and how graphics could effectively enhance their papers. 

 

 

General Degree Requirement Committee Recommendations:

 

á      English 341 should be limited to juniors and seniors, as sophomores appear to be too lacking in maturity to be assessed for these skills.

 

á      Students need more in-depth writing.  This could possibly be accomplished by requiring that they take an upper division humanities or social science class.  Capstone classes, such as senior thesis or senior design courses, could put more emphasis upon a final paper

 

á      Departments need to become more cognizant of developing the writing skills of their students, especially the importance of analysis and conclusions based upon this analysis, as well as helping students understand that their audience may need to expand beyond the particular professor for whom the writing is prepared.

 

á      Faculty need to expect a greater demonstration of research—the evaluation of sources, the reasons for providing accurate citations, and the importance of literature reviews.

 

á      Faculty should be encouraged to use more case studies in teaching and expect students to produce more analytical writing based on the case studies.

 

á      Faculty should consider ways to introduce assignments on ethics and responsible values.  Some suggestions include integrating a lecture and short paper on professional ethics or on academic dishonesty. 

 

á      Faculty should consider ways to ask students to demonstrate an understanding of human societies and cultures.  One suggestion would be requiring an upper division course in humanities or social sciences

 


Appendix 1

2003 Recommendations for 2004:

 

Eductional Objectives:

1.        Conduct FE Style Math and Thermo Exams on Jrs/Srs to assess specific weaknesses in the curriculum.  Communicate results to ES and Math faculty.  Owner:  Jeon (Timeline:  Report by Spring Advisory Board Meeting)

2.        Examine curriculum for areas to improve students exposure to statistical analysis and Design of Experiments.  Owner:  Dong

3.        Develop plan to increase Fr/So awareness of the field and opportunities within Chemical Engineering.  ES110?  Stronger seminar program?  Include alumni stories on Web?  Owner:  Weinkauf

Programmatic Objectives (From Departmental Activity Report)

  1. Carry Over:  Solidify plan to increase ŇbodiesÓ involved with Chemical Engineering students (FTE = 4.0) Owner Weinkauf/Gerity
  2. Carry Over:  Initiate ŇRealÓ Space and Utilization Dialogue with all DeptŐs in building - Owner Gerity
  3. Reinvigorate Freshmen Recruiting Plan - Goal of 20 New ChE Fall 2004 - Owner:  Jeon/Dong
  4. Formalize faculty status with Materials/Environmental/Chemisty to receive full FTE credit for ChE level of graduate advising.  Owner:  Dong/Gerity
  5. Formalize faculty status with Materials/Environmental/Chemisty to receive full FTE credit for ChE level of graduate advising.  Owner:  Dong/Gerity
  6. Attain the highest publication rate of all programs on campus for 2004 (SCI pubs/FTE).  Owner:  ChE Faculty
  7. Increase annualized research expenditures rate (k$/FTE) by 10%. Owner:  ChE Faculty
  8. Continue to Assess Program and Assessment Plan:  Owner: Advisory Board/Weinkauf

 


Appendix 2:

Tabulated Data from FE Math Diagnostics Test

 

 

Table 1. Summary of FE Exam Math Diagnostic Test (May 4, 2004) - Senior

 

Category

Point (1 –10)

Problems [

Algebra

1.6 ± 1.7*

3 [1,4,5]

Trigonometry

1.5 ± 2.1

2 [2,3]

Geometry

4.3 ± 1.9

1 [6]

Probability & Statistics

3.4 ± 1.7

2 [7,8]

Integration/ Differentiation

2.0 ± 1.5

4 [9-12]

ODE

3.1 ± 1.7

2 [13,14]

Numerical methods

5.7 ± 3.1

1 [15]

* Mean ± standard deviation

 

Note: the evaluation results are based on the 0 to 10 for each question (total 15 questions).

0 = Ňvery easyÓ – I can surely get a right answer

3 = ŇeasyÓ – I can probably get a right answer

5 = Ňnot sureÓ – I may or may not get a right answer

7 = ŇdifficultÓ – Probably I donŐt know how to get a right answer

10 = Ňvery difficultÓ – I surely donŐt know how to get a right answer

 

 

Table 2. Summary of FE Exam Math Diagnostic Test (Sept 30, 2004) - Senior

 

Category

Point (1 –10)

Problems

Algebra

1.6 ± 1.7*

3 [1,4,5]

Trigonometry

1.5 ± 2.1

2 [2,3]

Geometry

4.3 ± 1.9

1 [6]

Probability & Statistics

3.4 ± 1.7

2 [7,8]

Integration/ Differentiation

2.0 ± 1.5

4 [9-12]

ODE

3.1 ± 1.7

2 [13,14]

Numerical method

5.7 ± 3.1

1 [15]

* Mean ± standard deviation