University of West Georgia

Philosophy Program

Five-Year Program Review

Fall 2003-Summer 2008

 

 

 

Contents:

 

 

Introduction

I.          Overview of the Program

II.         Goals and Direction

III.       Student Learning Outcomes

IV.       General Statement of Program Condition

V.        Program Achievements

VI.       Student Achievements

VII.      Faculty/Staff Productivity

VIII.     Impact of External Change

IX.       Relative Program Costs

X.        Action Plan


 

 

Philosophy Program Review Self-Study

Introduction

 

 

Degree Program: BA, Philosophy

 

Department:   Department of English and Philosophy

 

The following pages contain the self-study completed by the Philosophy Program in compliance with the University of West Georgia’s plan for Academic Program Review.  This study covers Fall 2003-Summer 2008 and includes an examination of the Program’s philosophical and pedagogical objectives, its undergraduate curriculum, faculty and student accomplishments and plans for future developments.

 

To compile this review, members of the tenure-track faculty engaged in discussions focusing on the Mission Statement, Program Goals and Objectives, and Assessment plans.  We drew information from several sources, including annual reports, faculty vitae, student exit interviews, alumni surveys, and advising surveys.  The SWOT analysis and action plan were compiled in response to this data.

 

What is perhaps most notable about the Philosophy Program is the growth that we have fostered in the last five years.  In 2003-04 we had a total of 26 majors.  This semester, fall 2008, we have 63 majors.  While our program has more than doubled in the number of students that it serves in the major, we continue to provide a high level of service to the Core Curriculum.  The growth of the major is due, in large part, to the development of specific tracks within the Philosophy Program that focus students’ coursework on developing professional acumen in either law or religion, to promoting student research opportunities, to consistently excellent teaching at the core level, and to the continued emphasis we have placed on enrollment management.

 

In a recent survey of alumni, several former students remarked upon the importance of the skills they acquired through their studies in the Philosophy Program.  One former student notes, “I constantly use the logic skills I learned at UWG.  It is invaluable to me in my line of work.  The communication skills I developed have also helped me succeed by making sure I can accurately and succinctly convey information.”  Another former student remarks, “My ability to read an issue or situation in terms of the whole project and the particular steps needed to get to that whole has been greatly enhanced because of the Philosophy Program.”

 


 

 

I.       Overview of the Program

 

Philosophy Program Mission Statement.

It is the purpose of the Philosophy Program to expose students to the distinctive ways in which different philosophical traditions have examined the basic issues of life.  Our aim is to examine diverse philosophies and teach students a unique method of inquiry that has at its basis the belief that deep-seated convictions, prejudices, and beliefs are worth scrutiny.  It is our goal to help students focus on the meaning of an idea, its basis, coherence, and relation to other ideas; to understand the role of premises and inference in ordinary discourse and philosophical argumentation; to recognize and define different worldviews; and to understand the history of philosophy in particular.  In the process, and in line with the overall mission of the University of West Georgia, we strive to teach general problem solving skills and critical thinking skills, help them develop communicative, analytical and persuasive skills, and sharpen their writing and synthesizing skills.  All of this is done to prepare our students for success in academic and workplace environments.

 

The mission statement of the Philosophy Program echoes the mission statement of the University.  We believe that the Program contributes to the University’s mission of providing “opportunities for intellectual and personal development through quality teaching, scholarly inquiry, creative endeavor, and service for the public good” through a strong liberal arts curriculum that imparts knowledge and fosters understanding needed for intellectual growth.  Through coursework that helps students develop effective communication skills and offers them practice in thinking critically and independently, the Philosophy Program strives to contribute to the University’s mission and strategic plan guiding principle of balancing liberal arts with professional preparation.  It is hoped that by providing a community dedicated to academic excellence we will help every student mature intellectually and personally to become “ethically responsible and civically engaged professionals,” thereby enhancing the quality of life for the larger community.  We strive to achieve the hallmark of “educational excellence in a personal environment” by promoting student research, providing opportunities for faculty-student interaction, and supporting faculty and staff in constantly developing and enhancing our program in preparing our students for the global economy of the 21st century.

 


 

II.      Goals and Direction

 

 

The strategic direction of our program is intimately related to the University’s strategic plan.  In light of the recent changes that have been made to the strategic direction of the University, we recently conducted an analysis of our Program goals and are in the process of making some changes to them that we hope will become effective in the fall semester 2009.  In spite of those upcoming changes, we have not stopped assessing and reviewing the goals as they stand currently.

 

 

Goal 1: Provide high quality curriculum that emphasizes disciplinary rigor and ensures the transmission of a unique method of inquiry.

            Assessment Processes: 

·        Class sizes are consistently monitored to provide for appropriate balance between serving the highest number of students while still providing quality personal education.

·        Each year we review the major course requirements for each track and assess whether courses are appropriate and whether they are offered with enough frequency to ensure adequate progression and graduation of students.

·        Each year we review course syllabi for content and level of study to ensure that our courses remain appropriately structured for adequate progress toward graduation.

 

 

            Assessment Review and Goal Modification:

·        In the past few years we have revised the religion course offerings in particular to meet the needs of students in the religion track who are interested in proceeding to graduate study in the seminary, but also to provide for broader diversity within the course offerings.

·        We have coordinated with the Department of Political Science to have certain courses be accepted within our program to meet the requirements for our pre-law track, to help ensure that our students in that track can make adequate progress toward graduation.

 

 

Goal 2: Provide high quality instruction that promotes the development of effectiveness in communication, critical and independent thinking skills, problem solving skills, and the use of technology.

            Assessment Processes: 

·        While students in introductory-level philosophy courses are learning skills of analysis, argumentation, and critical thinking, students in the Senior Seminar, our “capstone” course, are learning to combine those skills with effective communication skills to produce a publication-worthy research paper. 

·        Our WAC courses place a significant emphasis on writing assignments that have a reiterative process of evaluation with the aim of ensuring better, more effective communication.

·        Because each fall we publish the Senior Seminar anthology, we have an on-going source of student papers from different professors which we can assess for improvement in effectiveness of written communication, critical thinking skills, and problem solving skills. 

·        We maintain a Senior Portfolio for each graduating senior that contains not only the Senior Seminar paper, but also the student’s self-analysis in terms of how they think their written communication skills, problem solving skills, and critical thinking skills have improved.  This intellectual autobiographical statement from each student is kept on file in the Philosophy Program.

·        Students in Senior Seminar are required to take an exit survey asking them to assess the skills they have gained through the Philosophy Program, the effectiveness of classes in promoting these skills, and whether they can identify any failings in the Program’s ability to help them in acquiring those skills.

·        At the beginning of each calendar year, the Philosophy Program faculty members participate in an Assessment Review Meeting.  At this meeting the faculty members discuss how the previous semester’s Senior Seminar worked, and we read and discuss the Senior Seminar anthology with an eye toward student success in effective communication and critical thinking skills.  We review any changes to syllabi for introductory-level courses and make suggestions for future changes.  We review any data collected through exit surveys and determine whether any strengths or weaknesses identified by students in those surveys are endemic to the program.  We discuss possible remedies for any failings and discuss implementation plans.

 

 

            Assessment Review and Goal Modification:

·        The Senior Seminar itself has been instituted as a way of responding to the need to fulfill this Program Goal in a more explicit manner.  We wanted to provide a “capstone” course that would primarily focus on the perfection of written communication and research skills through the production of a publishable-quality paper.  We have been gratified with the results of the Senior Seminar so far as is evidenced by the high-quality anthologies that have been produced each year.

·        We have reviewed the data from student exit surveys and have identified growth edges for our program (See Section X Action Plan of this report for details).

 

 

Goal 3: Promote student research, scholarship, and creative endeavors which enhance an understanding of philosophical argumentation and prepare our students for success in the academic and workplace environments.

            Assessment Processes:

·        We collect data on the number of students who are presenting papers at conferences, making presentations for West Georgia’s Research Day, participating in the Meeting of the Minds, and in Phi Sigma Tau, the national philosophy honors society.  This data is available at www.westga.edu/~phil.

·        We have conducted an alumni survey (fall 2008) asking alumni how their degree in philosophy may have assisted them in getting a job after graduation and what skills they use in their job performance that they attribute to their philosophical education.

·        We collect data on the number of students who are engaged in independent study courses within the Philosophy Program.

 

 

            Assessment Review and Goal Modification:

·        We have reviewed the data from the alumni survey and are in the process of exploring options for other activities we can undertake that will further prepare our students for success beyond West Georgia.  (See Section X Action Plan of this report for details.)

·        We are reviewing the alumni survey itself to prepare it for use on a regular basis in order to obtain longitudinal data about our graduates.  (See Section X Action Plan of this report for details.)

 

 

Goal 4: Support faculty research, scholarship, and creative endeavors that enhance professional development and contribute to quality instruction.

            Assessment Processes:

·        We collect data on the number of publications by Philosophy Program, how many grants they receive, and how many conferences they participate in.

·        Philosophy faculty members are encouraged in their annual report to provide self-analysis as to how their research informs their teaching.

·        Faculty annual reports (which include narrative self-assessments of teaching and grading), annual evaluations by Program Director and Department Chair, teaching awards, and student exit surveys from Senior Seminar serve as means of gauging not only the level of faculty commitment to teaching but also the relationship between the work of the classroom and the work of the scholar.

·        Correlations are sought between course assignments and faculty publications as part of the annual review process.

 

 

Assessment Review and Goal Modification:

·        As a way of formalizing the annual review process, we have crafted a document that intends to make clear the criteria by which faculty productivity will be assessed on an annual basis.  This document reflects the expectations for junior faculty for third-year review and tenure and promotion, as well as expectations for senior faculty in line with post-tenure review and promotion.

(See www.westga.edu/~phil/info-for-faculty.html)

·        Available evidence from annual reports shows a very active record of publication, grant-writing, and participation in conferences on the part of the Philosophy Program faculty members.  At the same time, teaching evaluations consistently document excellence in the classroom.

·        Senior Seminar was in part designed to make it possible for faculty more intimately to link their teaching and research.  This course, in its variety of focus, has been quite successful in achieving that connection.


 

 

 

Goal 5: Reaffirm the equal dignity of each person by valuing cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender diversity. 

            Assessment Processes:

·        Because we have determined that this goal is nearly impossible to assess, we are in the process of reviewing this particular goal with the aim of revising it to be more concrete and more readily assessed. 

 

 

            Assessment Review and Goal Modification:

·        We have determined that the implicit goal of philosophy courses is to broaden students’ perspectives to a whole host of philosophical positions thereby engendering respect for diverse points of view.  We aim to modify this fifth goal to make understanding a variety of points of view the focus. (See Section X Action Plan of this report for details.)

 


 

III.    Student Learning Outcomes

 

Generally, learning outcomes for the Philosophy Program are the following:

 

·        Discuss the general historical development of the discipline of philosophy;

·        Discuss three major historical figures of philosophy;

·        Ask philosophical questions and differentiate their types;

·        Incorporate a philosophical position in oral and written communications;

·        Critically outline and analyze a philosophical question.

 

Every course taught in the Philosophy Program establishes course-specific learning outcomes that are geared towards meeting these more general outcomes. 

 

A.        Core-Curriculum

The Philosophy Program’s service commitment within the University’s Core curriculum is substantial.  Our contributions are in areas B.1 (Oral Communication) and Area C.2 (Humanities).  While significant growth has occurred in the Philosophy major in the last five years, our contributions to these areas of the Core are unflagging. 

 

1. Core Curriculum Area B.1 (Oral Communication)

The course that serves this area is PHIL 2110 Critical Thinking.  The learning outcomes for this course are the following:

 

·        Develop and demonstrate the ability to recognize logical consistency, following deductive as well as inductive patterns, in both oral and written discourse;

·        Develop and demonstrate the ability to separate fact from mere opinion in a variety of argumentative contexts;

·        Develop and demonstrate the ability to follow logically valid conclusions from raw data;

·        Develop and demonstrate the ability to organize evidence and arguments in a persuasive manner, both orally and in writing;

·        Acquire skills in problem-solving strategies, specifically in the adaptation of oral and written communication to specific audiences and for specific purposes.

 

2. Core Curriculum Area C.2 (Humanities)

The courses that serve this area are PHIL 2100 Introduction to Philosophy and PHIL 2120 Introduction to Ethics. 

 

The learning outcomes for PHIL 2100 are the following:

 

·        Understand the distinctions among epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics as comprising basic branches of the discipline;

·        Recognize how philosophical inquiry applies to ‘real-world’ circumstances and to individual reflection on the meaning of life;

·        Become conversant with the history of Western philosophy in particular, including such significant developments as idealism, rationalism, pragmatism, and existentialism;

·        Recognize and define different world views, adopting a reasonably viable one and justifying it in a philosophically informed way;

·        Demonstrate the ability to discuss in both oral and written discourse the philosophical issues explored in the course.

 

The learning outcomes for PHIL 2120 are the following:

·        Recognize and apply basic patterns of logical reasoning within ethical contexts;

·        Describe selected theories within meta-ethics and normative ethics, as well as selected

arguments for and against those theories;

·        Describe positions and facts relevant to selected issues within applied ethics (such as abortion, human cloning and homosexuality);

·        Summarize the contributions of historically important figures (such as J. S. Mill and Immanuel Kant) to ethical thought;

·        Discuss in both oral and written discourse the ethical theories and issues explored in the course.

 

 

These learning outcomes relate to our Program goals by:

·        specifically focusing on a method of inquiry that analyzes and critiques patterns of argumentation.

·        focusing on effective communication as modeled in the texts the students read, but also as practiced by students in the papers and exams that they write.  Learning outcomes for all our core courses explicitly identify effective communication in written and oral form. 

·        requiring students to engage in analytic processes and present arguments preparing them for philosophical research and scholarship.

·        promoting analysis of diverse perspectives and different world views engendering respect for a variety of positions that are treated equally.

 

Learning outcomes for each course that we teach match the overall goals of the Program in fulfilling at least one of the outcomes specifically. 

 

Course

LO 1

Historical Development

LO 2

Historical Figures

LO 3

Ask Questions

LO 4

Incorporate Position

LO 5

Outline & Analyze

2130

X

X

X

 

 

3100

X

X

X

X

X

3110

X

X

X

 

 

3120

X

X

X

X

X

3160

X

X

X

X

X

3170

X

 

X

X

X

3200

 

X

X

X

X

3240

X

X

X

X

 

3301

X

X

X

X

X

4100

X

X

X

X

X

4110

X

X

X

X

X

4115

X

X

X

X

X

4120

 

 

X

X

X

4130

X

X

X

X

X

4140

X

X

X

X

X

4150

X

X

X

X

X

4160

 

 

 

X

X

4220

X

X

X

X

X

4230

X

X

X

X

X

4240

X

X

X

X

X

4300

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

Assessment Processes:

·        Exit surveys.

·        Faculty self-evaluations.

·        Department annual report.

·        Senior Seminar.  This course is an essential method of assessment of the learning outcomes of our program as a whole.  The requirements for this course ensure that students meet minimum expectations in critical reading of primary texts, asking and differenting philosophical questions, the incorporation of philosophical positions in oral and written communications, and the ability to analyze and outline critically a philosophical question.  The course includes production of a published anthology that stands as evidentiary documentation of individual achievement.  The course also requires students to make a formal oral presentation of their final research product.

·        Upper-Division courses.  Several of these courses deal specifically with a particular period of philosophical history.  All students are required to complete the history sequence in order to graduate.  The structure of the sequence of courses and the assessment tools of those courses ensures that students are capable of discussing at least three major historical figures of philosophy as well as of discussing the general historical development of the field.

·        Alumni Survey.

 

 

Assessment Review and Program Modifications:

·        Annual Assessment Review.  In this meeting we identified results of the alumni survey and the exit surveys as indicating some areas of possible improvement in meeting the program goals.  Those areas are:

1) providing more diversity in upper-division course offerings so that students have more choice about which courses they take.

2) having more consistency in expectations for term papers.

3) providing more guidance to students in presenting themselves to employers and graduate schools.

 

 

 

IV.     General Statement of Program Condition

 

 

Program Strengths:

·        Course contributions to the Core

·        Consistently increasing number of majors

·        Strict academic standards

·        Quality advising

·        High level of undergraduate engagement in Philosophy extracurricular activities

·        High number of students engaged in presenting research at regional and national conferences

·        High number of faculty mentoring students

·        Excellent record of faculty involvement in professional organizations

·        Excellent record of faculty presentations and publications

·        Interdisciplinary contributions

·        Strong feeling of community between and among students and faculty in the Program

 

Program Weaknesses:

·        Consistent concern of students that too few upper-division courses are offered in Philosophy Program, limiting choice

·        Lack of means for tracking graduates effectively

·        Lack of flexibility in scheduling due to limited number of faculty members

·        Communication difficulties with administration.  Since the Program Director is excluded from Chairs’ meetings with the Dean, information vital to the budget of the program and the daily running of the program is often received third-hand.  The Program is limited in its ability to respond quickly to requests for budget information, scheduling information, etc. because frequently we hear of these things late and through indirect means.

 

Program Opportunities:

·        With the consistently growing number of majors, we are increasingly able to make the case for additional faculty lines.

·        The popularity of our pre-law track provides us with an opportunity to increase collaborative work with the Department of Political Science and Planning.

·        Our attempts at reconnecting with alumni from our Program allow us the opportunity to develop a network for our students of possible informal career advice from former students as well as opportunities to work with alumni in providing our students with current information about the marketability of their skills.

·        There are increasing opportunities to engage our students in presentation and publication of their research papers.

·        As our graduation rates increase we will have opportunities to place more students in graduate and professional schools.

 

 

Program Threats:

·        Our program consistently suffers from the multiple demands placed upon our relatively small number of faculty.

·        The lack of a permanent fifth faculty line and the possible loss of our fourth faculty line severely restrict our ability to meet the needs of the growing number of majors that we have.

·        Limited Program funds puts a strain on the ability of faculty to engage in travel necessary for their own professional development

·        Limited Program funds put a strain on the ability of the Program to assist students in travelling to conferences to present their research.

·        We currently do not have adequate space to house all of the philosophy faculty members in the same building limiting the sense of community among the faculty as well as students.

 

Academic support of the Program

·        The library support of our program is sufficient, but depends to a large degree upon the ability of the library to maintain the Philosopher’s Index.  This is something that we have only been able to secure during this review period, but it is always under threat due to the strains upon the library budget.  Without the Philosopher’s Index, other library resources are virtually useless to us. 

·        We do have space issues as we are currently housed in two separate buildings. 

·        We also have frustrations in terms of institutional support of external grant opportunities.  While we are fully aware that grant opportunities for philosophers are not great, there are monies available if one has the support in searching and applying for them.  Without support in this area, applying for grants becomes prohibitive to faculty who are already stretched thin in their work load and do not have adequate support in review of grant application materials. 

·        Limitations of Statistical Support.  We could use certain kinds of comparative data to measure the success of our Program compared to the University averages, e.g., overall GPA of our majors compared with the university average, test scores, etc.  Much useful information could be gleaned from a Graduating Senior Report Card.  This is a measure that other institutions use to attain such comparative data, but it must be enacted at the institutional level by Institutional Research and Planning.  We also have data problems with respect to tracking graduates and with tracking majors.  We have consistent discrepancies between the data we keep within the Program regarding who is a philosophy major and the data kept by the registrar’s office.  Repeatedly students must declare the major several times before the registrar’s office actually makes note of it.  The alumni association was virtually worthless in helping us to locate former students in order to execute our alumni survey.  The faculty had to do this through the Internet instead.  This is not an effective use of our time and energy.

 


 

V.      Program Achievements

 

 

Percent of students passing licensing, certification, or other accreditation examinations related to their chosen field

Not applicable

Proportion of graduating students finding employment in their chosen or related field

While the average over the 5-year period is 32%, the percentage is increasing.  It was 50% in 07

Proportion of graduating students going on to graduate or professional schools

50%

Types of and preparation for licensure

Not applicable

Other notable achievements

 

 

 

VI.     Student Achievements

 

Total published research papers

0

Total presentations

31

Total joint faculty-student research endeavors

Not applicable

Total Internships

0

Total Co-Ops

0

Total Scholarships

4

Total Fellowships

0

Total recipients of notable awards

7 (Gordon Watson Awards, Big Night, Best Paper at Kennesaw Conference)

Other notable student achievements:

Phi Sigma Tau membership

30

 

 

VII.   Faculty/Staff Productivity

 

Teaching

 

1. Total new course developments

3

2. Total faculty teaching honors courses

4

3. Total faculty involved in academic advising

4

Research/Scholarship

 

1. Total books and monographs

3

2. Total book chapters

5

3. Total peer reviewed articles

14

4. Total other articles

11

5. Total paper presentations

40

6. Total other presentations

10

7. Total in-house publications

10

8. Total juried exhibits/performances

0

9. Total other exhibits/performances

1

Grants/Awards

 

1. Total proposals submitted

8

2. Total proposals funded

3

3. Total amount funded

$4,800.00

4. Total gifts generated by department

5

5. Total contracts awarded

1

6. Total fellowships awarded

0

Service

 

1. Total participants in honors organizations

1

2. Total offices held in professional organizations

4

3. Total positions held in journal editing/review

4

4. Total advisors of student organizations

2

5. Total participants in cooperative consulting efforts

2

6. Total system-wide/UWG Committee appointments

28

7. Total participants in public service activities

3

Other Notable Faculty Achievements

 

 


 

VIII.  Impact of External Change

 

 

The period covered by this review represents a period of relative volatility, or at least lack of stability, in the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  The result of this is a lack of leadership in making changes in terms of the support offered to the departments and programs.  The Philosophy Program in particular has repeatedly made a case to the Dean’s office about the need for additional faculty and the strains on the Program due to its rapid and consistent growth.  It has only been in the last year when there has been some sense of stability in that office that we sense that our voice is being heard.  Thus, under other circumstances, we might have been in a position to be more innovative, more productive in terms of acquiring external sources of funding, and more focused on our growth edges.

 

At the same time, our continued status as a Program within the Department of English and Philosophy as opposed to being an independent Department provides us with the advantage of having an additional level of leadership to promote our concerns.  This has both positive and negative consequences.  It is positive in providing the faculty with a sense of our participation in a larger entity, giving us colleagues with whom we can engage and share information and ideas.  But it is also negative in that it limits opportunities for the Philosophy faculty to take on positions of leadership, to have a presence on some of the more influential committees, and to have more direct access to the lines of authority and information.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

IX.     Relative Program Costs

 

 

To be supplied by Institutional Research and Planning.

 

 

 


 

X.      Action Plan

 

 

Based on this review, the Philosophy Program wishes to implement the following changes to its program:

 

·        Reassessment of Program Goals.  We initiated a discussion about changes to our program goals at the beginning of fall semester 2008, but as one of our faculty members was on research leave during this semester, we postponed the formal decisions until spring semester 2009.  These discussions were initiated in response to student surveys, analysis of where our graduates are now, and changes to the University’s strategic plan.

·        Tracking graduates through new media.  We have just created a Facebook group for our majors and graduates.  This will help us to stay in contact with former students and thus help us to overcome one of the weaknesses of our Program.  We will continue to investigate other media popular with students and alumni.

·        Lobbying for a university-wide system of collecting baseline assessment data.  We need baseline data in order to know at what level our students begin their studies with reference to standardized test scores, writing abilities, etc.  This is an issue that we have brought to the administration in a variety of meetings.  It is something we have discussed and will continue to discuss with IRP.  This is in response to weaknesses in our assessment program.

·        Working towards more effective gathering of baseline data at the Program level.  We have discussed various methods of acquiring this data and are in the process of initiating one method on a trial basis.  This will be to acquire a term paper from a student as soon as he or she declares a philosophy major.  We recognize this is not ideal since some students do not declare until they have had several philosophy courses, but it is a start.

·        Preparing students for careers.  We want to continue working on ways to help our students recognize the marketable skills they are receiving through their studies in the Philosophy Program in order to better prepare them for promoting themselves in the workforce and in graduate degree programs and professional schools.  Part of this focus includes a “Career Day: What You Can Do with a Philosophy Degree” program that is currently being developed.  This will include getting former students who have jobs in the area to participate in a panel discussion where they describe to current students what skills they use.  Another aspect of this will have former students who are in graduate or professional schools participate in a panel discussion about how to prepare for and apply for graduate or professional school.

·        Investigating the development of a pre-law internship program.  We hope to have a detailed recommendation for such a program by 2010.  This might help us to more clearly meet the demands for professional competencies as described in the strategic plan.

·        Implementing the Retention, Progression, Graduation Plan that was created fall semester 2008.  This plan has elements that have already been adopted, such as mandatory advising each semester for our majors that was instituted in 2007, but also has elements that will be implemented in the coming year.

·        In building on our already improving RPG rates, we will have regular and on-going assessment of our RPG Plan.  One meeting a year will be devoted to evaluation of the RPG Plan by looking at retention and graduation data, how our program compares to the university averages and what changes in our advising program and course scheduling might help us to continue to improve our RPG rates.

·        Implementing a regular alumni survey.  We plan to conduct this survey every three years in order to help overcome our weakness in tracking students and measuring the success of the Program in preparing students for employment and post-graduate study.  Longitudinal data will be helpful in assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the Program.

·        In building on our already strong contribution to the Core, we are in the process of proposing to add Phil 2130, Introduction to World Religions, to the Core.  This is a popular course and has Learning Outcomes that are appropriate to meet Core goals.

·        Making the case for additional faculty lines.  Every year when we present our budget to the Dean’s office, we provide extensive data to show how much our Program has grown and how badly we need additional faculty lines.  If we were to get this line, we would be able to address several of the weaknesses and threats that currently confront our Program.