DEPARTMENT OF OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS (OM & IS) COLLEGE OF BUSINESS MASTER OF SCIENCE IN MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS

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1 DEPARTMENT OF OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT AND INFORMATION SYSTEMS (OM & IS) COLLEGE OF BUSINESS MASTER OF SCIENCE IN MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS "'" Assessment Status Report October 12, 2009

2 REPORT TO THE UNIVERSITY ASSESSMENT PANEL MASTER OF SCIENCE IN MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYETMS ( ) 1. STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES The objective of the M.S. in Management Information Systems program is to prepare graduates to efficiently and effectively develop and manage information technology resources in today's global business environment. Building upon the general program objectives above, a number of student learning objectives for this program have been identified. These learning objectives address the professional information systems knowledge, skills, and experiences that students are expected to gain through the program. Graduates of the M.S. in MIS program will be prepared for successful professional careers in the information systems field by: 1. Demonstrating their ability to design functional business processes 2. Applying process improvement skills on real-world projects 3. Evaluating strategic decision-making scenarios 4. Creating database applications for realistic business problems 2. EXPLANATION OF METHODS There are three methods of program assessment for the Master Science in MIS program in the Department of Operations Management and Information Systems: 1) alumni survey, 2) internship performance, and 3) Executive Advisory Council. Table 1 presents the methods of assessing student learning outcomes by the OM&IS Department. 1) Survey of Alumni Annual surveys of graduates have been conducted at one and five years after graduation. An exit survey conducted at the end of the student's program is used to assess currency of the courses/curriculum as well as the perceived level of mastery of course content. The surveys conducted one year and five years after graduation assess longer term effectiveness and outcomes. All four learning objectives can be indirectly evaluated via these surveys. The next survey will be administered in summer 2010 in conjunction with the university alumni survey. Each learning outcomes is rated on a 5 point scale with 5 equating to superior preparation provided

3 by the MIS program. Target: The average rating on each of the learning objectives evaluated will be 4.0 or higher. 2) Internship Performance Internships are strongly encouraged for all full-time students without previous work experience in the MIS field. For those students earning graduate elective credit employers are required to submit an evaluation of business knowledge, problem solving, technical skills, communication skills and overall preparedness. Different internships will provide experience with different types of technical skills. Therefore a particular internship may provide feedback on only or two of the identified set of learning objectives 1, 2, and 4. It is unlikely that any internship would offer the opportunity to evaluate strategic decision making alternatives. The Academic Advisor/Internship Coordinator is responsible for the collection of this information. Beginning in Spring 2010, all internship supervisors will also be asked to complete and return a survey which will include questions rating the OM&IS department in its effectively in preparing students in terms of each of the learning outcomes. Each learning outcomes is rated on a 5 point scale with 5 equating to superior preparation provided by the MIS program. In addition, the Academic Advisor/Internship Coordinator will also conduct phone interviews with internship supervisors to assess student learning outcomes. Target: The average rating on each of the learning objectives evaluated will be 4.0 or higher 3) Executive Advisory Council The OM&IS Department's Executive Advisory Council is made up of high-level representatives of local business organizations that typically hire our graduates. Approximately 25% are alumni of the program. The EAC members review the program curriculum periodically for currency and relevance and to determine if it is preparing students appropriately based on our objectives. The last curriculum review of the graduate program occurred in Fall The next cycle of review will begin in April In the next review cycle, the departmental curriculum committee will present findings from the curriculum review and suggestions for the revised, if any, curriculum and student learning outcomes. All department Board of Executive Advisors will then be asked to complete and return a survey which include questions rating the MIS program in its effectiveness in preparing our students in terms of each of students learning outcomes. Note: The board members are also employers for the MIS students so that they are in better position to evaluate the program. The department chair will be responsible to collect and analyze feedbacks from Board of Executive Advisors. Each learning outcomes is rated on a 5 point scale with 5 equating to superior preparation provided by the OM&IS program. Target: The average rating on each of the learning objectives evaluated will be 4.0 or higher.

4 Table 1: Methods of Assessing Student Learning Outcomes Method Description/Target Timeline Person(s) Objectives Responsible Addressed Alumni In addition to the university Exit survey Program 1,2,3,4 Survey alumni survey, students in the and one and Coordinator program will be asked more five years and specific questions about their after Department experiences at NIU and their graduation Chair perception of how well the program prepared them for their careers. Target: 4.0 or higher rating for each learning outcome. Internship Evaluations from instructor Annually Program 1,2,4 Performance and site supervisor and Coordinator student self-evaluation will be analyzed. Target: 4.0 or higher rating for each learning outcome. Advisory Alumni, employers, and other Fall Department 1,2,3,4 Council professionals in the region semester of Chair/Faculty (Employer will discuss how well the even years Feedback) program prepares graduates and meets changing professional needs, and make suggestions for curricular improvements. Target: 4.0or higher rating for each learning outcome. 3. OUTCOMES BY METHODS The following table represents the expected learning outcomes from the departmental program objectives to the methods of assessment: Design Functional Business Processes Apply Process Improvement Skills Evaluate Strategic Decision Making Create Database Applications Alumni Survey Internship Performance Advisory Council

5 4. AVAILABLE DATA Findings from the latest round of assessment activities: Specific measures and procedures have been developed to assess the achievement of the expected outcomes derived from the program objectives. 1) Alumni Survey Alumni have been surveyed three times: via an exit survey, one year after graduation, and five years after graduation. The exit survey is conducted at the time students apply for graduation. The timeframe in which students are eligible to file for graduation is in the first six weeks of their last term in the program. The survey is part of the final file review for graduation. Data collected includes employment information, general questions regarding satisfaction with the program and the degree, and specific questions regarding effectiveness of the curriculum as related to mastery of learning objectives. Questions in the previous survey will be updated to reflect new learning objectives. From a previous survey, data was collected regarding an earlier learning objective: Program graduates will develop an appreciation for cultural diversity through their program courses. Survey results indicated a relatively low perceived effectiveness of the program in aiding students in their development of an appreciation for cultural diversity. (On a 5-point scale, where 5 is the highest, the average was 3.25.) Graduate faculty members were supported in their attendance of the Multi-Cultural Transformation Institute. As a result cases and exercises incorporating issues of diversity developed as a result of attendance at the Institute were added to required courses in the program (OMIS 649, OMIS 660, and OMIS 675). 2) Internship Performance At the completion of a student s internship, the employer is required to complete a survey regarding the employer s evaluation of the intern s performance relative to the knowledge, skills and abilities reflected in the learning objectives, as well as an overall evaluation of the internship experience for the organization. These evaluations have been routinely very high, with all responses ranging between 4 and 5 on a 5-point scale where 5 is highly positive. This feedback has not led to any changes in the program. 3) Executive Advisory Council The department Executive Advisory Council was formed in 1999 primarily for the purpose of having a formal organization to provide relevant external input into

6 curricular planning decisions. Membership is balanced between individuals with career experience in the operations management area (which includes supply chain management, logistics, procurement, and distribution) and those with experience in the information systems area. Quite a few members careers have spanned both areas. Advisory Council members are drawn from upper management and executive levels in local organizations, most of which have or are currently hiring graduates of one of our programs. Approximately one half of the twenty members are alumni of the undergraduate or graduate program, or both. Whereas initially the EAC was tasked with examining curriculum at both of their meetings each year (October and April), we now look at each program only once every other year. Members are encouraged to provide feedback between those sessions - and often do. Approximately three years ago, the department sought the advice of the Executive Advisory Council regarding the relative importance of decision support systems (which was a required course) and electronic commerce (which was an elective course). As a faculty, our reading of the marketplace was that it was time to switch those two; the EAC concurred. After evaluation and approval by the MIS program committee and the department and college curriculum committees, an electronic business system course was added to the core curriculum for the M.S. in MIS program. At the most recent curriculum review, based on their own organizations experiences and data that members had gathered on industry trends, the Executive Advisory Council members identified no major discrepancies between the program curriculum and current industry requirements. The only change suggested was a greater emphasis on IT security in existing courses. A faculty member attended a seminar on IT security and was able to add material to the ecommerce course. Therefore, the specified learning outcomes can be reached through the current course offerings. 4. USE OF RESULTS The MIS program includes seven required courses and three elective courses. Based on class schedules prior to the academic year, sufficient classes were offered each semester and during the summer session to allow on-campus students (full-time students) to complete the program within one year. Sufficient classes were offered at the Naperville campus to allow those part-time students to complete the program within two years. Over three semesters, Spring 08, Fall 08, and Spring 09, nineteen courses were offered for on-campus MIS program thirteen were required courses and six were elective courses. The average enrollment in the required courses was 17 with a range of 8 to 28. The average enrollment in the elective courses was 8 with a range of 4 to 15. During these three semesters, two elective courses were canceled due to low enrollments. During the Spring 2009 semester, the department decided to continue offering the program and to develop a schedule that would use resources efficiently and provides sufficient course offerings to allow students to complete the program within a reasonable time. The results indicated that the scheduling of courses for the MIS program, both on-campus and at the Naperville campus, needed to change to accomplish three objectives to provide

7 sufficient courses to allow students to complete the program in a reasonable time, to provide a fixed schedule of course offerings over a time period deemed to be reasonable to complete the program, and to decrease the number of course offerings so as to maintain course enrollments at an acceptable level. A schedule of course offerings was prepared for each campus for six semesters, including summer sessions. All students enrolled in the program were sent the curriculum schedule and were also advised that if students wanted to complete the program faster than these schedules allowed, they could do so by taking courses at both locations. The schedule on campus provides three required courses and one elective course each semester and one required course during the summer session. Beginning Fall 2010 schedule, there will be two required courses and one elective course each semester and one required course during the summer session. The schedule repeats the required courses every fourth semester and may provide different electives depending upon resources and faculty schedules. This schedule will allow students to complete the program within three semesters and one summer session. The department will develop a plan to update the MIS program to better link the program learning outcomes with job titles, job requirements, and job responsibilities. The plan will be finalized during the Fall semester and will be implemented during Fall The plan will include a complete review of the MIS curriculum to include program learning outcomes, program requirements, course titles, course content, and course requirements. 5. GAPS IN CURRENT DATA There are several areas where our assessment activities can be revised and improved. Survey of Alumni: The return rate on last year s survey was quite low (<10%). More data is needed to make any valid assessment of the program. Therefore we plan to send a survey directly from the department (rather than only with the university survey). Internship Performance: Information needs to be integrated into a report format.

8 6. TIMELINE FOR COLLECTING ADDITIONAL DATA Semester Spring 2010 Action (s) Curriculum Meeting for program revision Assessment meeting for learning outcomes Internship Performance Evaluation Spring 2010 EAC meeting for MIS program revision and learning outcomes Summer 2010 Survey Alumni Summer 2010 Internship Performance Fall 2010 Meet with individual faculty for course objectives and learning outcome assessments.

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