Student Credit Hour Curriculum Revisions
Based on our Board of Regents review in 2011-12 we discovered that our students were required to have 67 credit hours in the major. This was causing undue problems in faculty teaching loads and slowing students in their progress toward graduation. In 2012-13 a curriculum committee revised the entire undergraduate curriculum and created a new emphasis in Human Development. These changes allowed us to reduce the number of credits required in the major from 67 down to 43-47 (depending on the emphasis). Feedback from student focus groups was overwhelmingly positive. Our graduation survey on student satisfaction with the major has also been very positive in this area as well.
Feedback from our graduation focus groups and satisfaction surveys for both undergraduate and graduate students revealed they wanted a central place to find a variety of materials related to the department. We hired a webmaster and have put the child development lab requests and all of the practicum application materials on the department website. All department handbooks and applications (practicum, lab, assistantships, etc) are now available online. This helped with both our graduate student recruiting and student satisfaction. In addition we have Facebook pages for all clubs, graduate students, and for the general department. Additionally the grad students have their own blog.
Based on the results of our 11-12 Board of Regents review we did a significant revision of our graduate level courses. Our data showed that many students wished they had had additional preparation in research methods and statistical skills. Additionally they requested that more faculty were involved in teaching grad courses. A curriculum committee revised the coursework by adding one new required research methods course for all grad students (Measurement HDFS 6032) and two new doctoral courses in Modeling (FHCD 7033) and Extant Data Analysis (HDFS 7034). In addition, all department tenure track faculty now teach a grad class. Doctoral students are supported with 20 hours per week in assistantships during their first year. During the second year they need to find at least a 10 hour research assistantship. This has resulted in all doctoral students having at least one (and most have more) peer reviewed publication upon graduation.
Revising Student's Preparation for Practicum Placements
A change in our undergraduate requirements occurred because of feedback from students. The previous deadlines were due two semesters before the student could actually do their practica experience. Based on student and placement supervisor feedback the application process was shortened to one semester with the same due dates every year. These dates are posted on the department website and at least three reminder emails are sent out.