2013-2014 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]
College of Science and Engineering
101 Pasteur Hall (507.457.5585)
College of Science and Engineering
Charla Miertschin (Interim Dean)
The College of Science and Engineering is committed to furthering 21st century advances in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by inspiring the next generation of innovators and teachers and by promoting research and scholarship across STEM disciplines. Through a broad range of major, minor, and pre-professional programs, as well as through basic skills, interdisciplinary, and research-rich learning environments, the College endeavors to ensure the success of all students.
College curricula are designed to provide meaningful, challenging educational experiences and to build deep connections between STEM experiences and disciplinary interests, career goals, and societal issues. To achieve these goals, the College strives to integrate curriculum with vital research in a range of settings, which include research conducted in Upper Mississippi River region environments as well as significant experience at nearby healthcare centers, regional manufacturing and composites industries, state-of-the-art laboratory and computing facilities, and area school districts. These learning experiences help students develop purpose and passion for lifelong learning.
In fulfilling its mission, the College provides high quality undergraduate curricula in STEM leading to the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees as well as pre-professional programs promoting student progression into a wide range of clinical, professional, and post-graduate studies at other institutions. Pre-professional sequences are not degree programs (e.g., majors or minors) at WSU. These programs are preparatory for an advanced degree at another college or university. WSU offers pre-professional sequences in dentistry, engineering, law, medicine (allopathic and osteopathic), optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, podiatry, and veterinary medicine. See the Pre-Professional Sequences section for descriptions.
Goals, Objectives, and Assessments
- Goal: Contribute to knowledge in STEM.
Objective: Recruit and retain faculty/staff who design and deliver curricula and conduct research to advance new knowledge or new innovations in STEM.
Assessment: Annually examine faculty plans and reports for evidence of appropriate curricula, facilities, faculty performances in classroom and scholarship, staff performance, student achievement (e.g., number and quality of presentations, publications, and grants in STEM).
- Goal: Inspire the next generation of innovators and teachers.
Objective: Deliver courses and learning experiences in an environment that inspires students to be creative and innovative scientists, technologists, engineers, mathematicians, or teachers.
Assessment: Annually examine graduation survey data for evidence of numbers of students who are employed, continue in higher education, or become teachers.
- Goal: Promote research and scholarship among STEM.
Objective: Faculty/staff/students conduct research, write grants, develop programs or centers, publish, and deliver presentations at professional meetings.
Assessment: Annually examine faculty plans and reports for evidence of physical environment and number and quality of student/faculty/staff projects, presentations, publications, and grants.
- Goal: Ensure the success of all students.
Objective: Faculty will give a full measure of time and energy delivering well-planned and pedagogically sound courses and encourage and facilitate study groups, online collaborations, and other support mechanisms to ensure student success.
Assessment: Annually examine faculty plans and reports for evidence of faculty/staff actions that improve student performance/success. Examine graduation survey data for steady or increasing employment in field and acceptance into graduate or professional schools.
- Goal: Provide meaningful, challenging educational experiences.
Objective: Faculty/staff will create, deliver, and manage a full measure of well-organized, academically challenging classroom and learning experiences.
Assessment: Annually examine faculty plans and reports for evidence of First Day of Class Syllabi and evidence that all assignments, tests, study guides, and ancillary course materials enhance educational experiences. Also, examine student/peer evaluations and graduation survey data for evidence of student satisfaction as well as employment and/or acceptance into graduate or professional schools.
- Goal: Build deep connections among STEM, career, and societal issues.
Objective: Faculty, staff, and students will work on community STEM-related problems and career opportunities; they will also serve on campus interdisciplinary committees.
Assessment: Annually examine faculty and staff plans and reports for evidence of faculty, staff, and student service to campus, community, and society at large.
- Goal: Integrate curriculum with vital research.
Objective: Courses will train students in the Scientific Method—to work independently and with faculty/staff on projects that develop skills and knowledge pertinent to conducting i.e. (doing) science.
Assessment: Annually track enrollment records in independent study and capstone courses and communicating results to public or peers.
- Goal: Develop students’ purpose and passion for lifelong learning.
Objective: Deliver courses and learning experiences that stimulate students’ interest in STEM careers and/or continuing education
Assessment: Annually examine graduating student survey and alumni surveys for evidence of students entering STEM careers, graduate schools, and continuing education courses.
- Goal: Provide high quality undergraduate curricula in STEM.
Objectives: Courses well-organized, delivered, and managed. Student learning outcomes clearly identified and appropriately challenging. Courses continuously updated and improved based on best practices and course evaluations by students and/or peers. Courses meet contact hours/credit hours requirement; have numerous assessments of student learning; timely feedback; and high standards of student attendance, achievement, and citizenship. Multiple sections of the same course will have consistent and predictable content and requirements.
Assessment: Annually examine faculty plans and reports for evidence of best practices in syllabi, course delivery, learning assessments, and course evaluations. Also, examine data from graduating student surveys for evidence of employment and/or continuing higher education as indicators of student successes.
Research and Community Service
The College supports student and faculty research, industrial interaction, and community service. To further these goals, the College has established centers, under faculty supervision, which provide unique student employment opportunities in “real-world” research and problem-solving:
- Composite Materials Technology Center (COMTEC): COMTEC, managed by the Composite Materials Engineering Department, serves as a working laboratory for instruction, engineering research, and an engineering resource center for the region. The Center also provides engineering services to industrial clients who need design and analysis, material characterization, prototype manufacturing, and testing.
- Large River Studies Center (LRSC): LRSC, administered through the Biology Department, provides students with the opportunity to conduct research on large river ecosystems and associated bodies of water. LRSC also is responsible for disseminating information about the upper Mississippi River and other large river ecosystems to local, regional, and scientific communities.
- Math Achievement Center (the MAC): The Math Achievement Center, “the MAC,” is located in the Tau Center on West Campus. The MAC provides a warm, friendly atmosphere to study plus has special resources to help you expand your understanding of mathematics. Knowledgeable tutors are ready to help when you have questions. There is no charge for their services and no appointment is necessary. All students are welcome at the MAC.
- Software Testing Center: The WSU Software Testing Center provides testing, development, and other computer and networking related technical services to local and regional businesses and industry. The services are provided by WSU Computer Science students under the direction of Computer Science faculty and staff. Clients of the lab have included Digi International, Watlow, International Wear Parts, IBM, Centerfield Technologies, Winnebago Software, A&L Precision Manufacturing, Acrotech, United Machine and Foundry, and Reader’s Digest.
- Southeast Minnesota Analytical Service (SEMAS): SEMAS, operated by the Chemistry Department, serves local and regional cities, counties, businesses, and corporations that need analytical testing of water, industrial products, and chemicals. Chemistry majors are employed in the SEMAS as laboratory technicians and assistants.
- Southeastern Minnesota Water Resources Center (WRC): WRC, housed in the Geoscience Department, is dedicated to scientific inquiry into the natural and hydrological resources of the Southeast Minnesota. The WRC strives to educate and inform students, citizens, and public agencies of the region about our natural resources through the development of partnerships and research.
- Statistical Consulting Center (SCC): SCC, operated by faculty and students within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, provides analytical and statistical support to promote research, collaboration, and education. The services provided by SCC are available to faculty, staff, and students of WSU, and to members of other regional organizations.
Students are encouraged to include internships as part of their course of study. Internships provide valuable work experience with potential employers such as corporations or governmental agencies. Most internships are undertaken during the senior year under the supervision of a WSU faculty member.
Degree programs in the College assume that students have taken proper college preparatory courses in high school including at least three years of mathematics. It is recommended that students have at least one year each of high school biology, chemistry, and physics. High school science and mathematics deficiencies can be remedied by taking equivalent courses at WSU.