Graduate School Policies, Procedures and University Information
Graduate education at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater uses knowledge and skills acquired through baccalaureate degrees and professional experiences as a foundation for advanced-level study and professional development. The goal of graduate education is to prepare individuals to apply an advanced knowledge-base and refined analytic, communicative, and functional skills to problems encountered in their professional careers.
Graduate courses are taught by individuals who have earned "graduate faculty" status or have been approved by the graduate faculty of a department and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education. Together these are individuals who are active scholars and productive professionals equipped to pass along timely experiences and knowledge about their evolving discipline.
Graduate course work, generally, will introduce students to contemporary issues in the discipline and help them develop a critical perspective for evaluating these and future developments. Graduate course work will help students develop an understanding for how a discipline is organized and how it conducts its research. In that regard, graduate course work is designed to be significantly different from its undergraduate counterpart in the following ways:
- requiring a greater depth and intensity of study;
- demanding a higher level of academic/intellectual rigor;
- focusing primarily on advanced and specialized topics;
- exploring the integration of theory and practice; and
- relying on pedagogical practices that require more
- personal interactions with the instructor, more collaborative interactions with fellow graduate students, and more self-directed learning than undergraduate studies.
Academic assessment is a process where academic programs:
- articulate a set of knowledge-based, cognitive-based, and skill-based objectives defining the competencies that students will acquire in completing the curriculum;
- collect data from students, alumni, alumni-employers, and other sources that allow it to assess the competency level of its graduates relative to its outlined objectives;
- utilize the assessment data to make revisions to the curriculum, pedagogical processes, evaluation procedures, and/or program objectives; and
- share their assessment results with faculty, students, and alumni.
Assessment helps the programs achieve one of the most important and difficult challenges facing the modern university: providing curricula that are well-focused, timely, and designed and delivered in such a way that they prepare graduates to be creative, successful professionals.
Graduate education at UW-Whitewater runs its academic assessment at two levels. At one level, each graduate program engages in the four steps outlined above. To assist with the data collection, students in the various programs may be asked to assemble portfolios of their work, or may have their thesis or comprehensive exams assessed by a committee of faculty, and/or they may be asked to complete an exit interview.
At a comprehensive level, the School of Graduate Studies requires all students completing a degree program to complete an exit survey. These surveys provide an ongoing chronicle of student perceptions that are used to assess how well graduate programming is achieving the five comprehensive objectives that characterize the desired outcomes of all graduate programs.