Applied Economics Assessment

APEC Assessment

Mission Statement

The mission of the department of Applied Economics is to help rural communities in Utah, the Intermountain West, and beyond thrive economically. Student Training, academic research and extension efforts are focused on issues that are most important to rural communities: food and agriculture, environmental quality and allocation of natural resources, and regional development.

Assessment

The Department of Applied Economics will measure students’ progress and success in the following ways:

1. Student satisfaction. Student satisfaction is measured through course evaluations and an exit survey of graduating students. Course evaluations, while not a perfect method to measure course quality, can help the department identify patterns in feedback so that it can make improvements. An exit survey asks graduating students about their experiences in the Department of Applied Economics and can be used to improve what we do. We will also interview former students to track their employment status and get their ideas on how we can better prepare other students for the workforce. (Undergraduate and Graduate Programs)

2. Knowledge, skills, and curriculum. Pre- and post-tests are conducted for the core courses in the APEC undergraduate curriculum. Course-specific learning objectives are explained on the learning objectives section. The pre- and post-tests measure how well students have grasped key concepts. The test results will help the department identify its most effective teachers and aid all of its instructors in continually improving their teaching effectiveness. (Undergraduate Program)

3. Research Experience. We will report and continually update the website to include all theses, dissertations, professional reports, and refereed journal articles authored or co-authored by graduate students. (Graduate Program).

4. Placement and Career Preparation. We also will occasionally survey the employers and former students to find out how we can better prepare them for the workplace. (Undergraduate and Graduate Programs)

Undergraduate

Agribusiness

Agribusiness Program Learning Objectives

· Discuss the components of the agribusiness sector in the U.S. and worldwide

· Explain the agricultural policy framework in the U.S.

· Analyze and evaluate agribusiness issues and management decisions

· Apply statistical and analytical methods to analyze economic data and formulate strategies

· Develop business and marketing plans for commodities and specialized food products

· Communicate effectively through written reports and oral presentations

Additional learning objectives by emphasis

Agricultural Finance

· Analyze financial statements to evaluate management decisions.

Agricultural Marketing

· Describe the factors of marketing agricultural products and how they differ from nonperishable goods

· Utilize analytical tools to analyze prices and techniques for managing market risk

Farm and Ranch Management

· Employ accounting, finance, and marketing skills to manage an agricultural enterprise or agribusiness firm

International Agribusiness

· Describe the international movement of agricultural products

· Evaluate the impacts of trade policies on product pricing and market efficiency

Agribusiness Matrix

 

Courses

Program Objectives

APEC

2010

APEC

3010

APEC

3012

APEC

3020

APEC

3310

APEC

4010

APEC

5000

APEC

5010

APEC

5015

APEC

5020

APEC

5950

ACCT

2010

ACCT

2020

ASTE

3050

MGT

2050

MIS

2100

Disciplinary Knowledge

 

Analyze and evaluate agribusiness problems and management decisions

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

Apply statistical methods to analyze commodity markets and other economic data

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Formulate marketing plans and business strategies for both generic commodities and specialized products

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

Skills and Career Competencies

 

Communicate effectively in oral and written forms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

X

 

X

 

 

X

 

 

Use appropriate computer software for written reports, oral presentations, and analytical research

 

 

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Attain a basic understanding of the U.S. agribusiness sector

 

X

X

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

X

 

Applied Economics

Applied Economics Program Learning Objectives

Disciplinary Knowledge

  • Demonstrate knowledge of economic principles required for disciplinary competency.
  • Analyze problems in resource allocation by applying economic theories and tools.
  • Evaluate economic data using appropriate statistical analysis techniques.
  • Describe and apply principles of economic policy analysis.

Skills and Career Competencies

  • Communicate the results of economic analysis effectively in oral and written forms.
  • Use appropriate computer tools for economic analysis and research.
  • Demonstrate the use of applied benefit-cost analysis to evaluate policy outcomes.

Graduate

M.S. Applied Economics Program Learning Objectives:

  • Demonstrate competency in microeconomic theory.
  • Utilize and apply statistical methods to analyze real-world data.
  • Communicate effectively (both in oral and written form) based on professional standards.
  • Produce, present and defend their thesis or dissertation.

M.S. Applied Economics and Statistics Learning Program Objectives:

  • Demonstrate competency in microeconomic theory and quantitative techniques.
  • Utilize and apply statistical methods to analyze real-world data.
  • Communicate effectively (both in oral and written form) based on professional standards.
  • Produce, present and defend their thesis or dissertation.

M.S. Agribusiness Program Learning Objectives

  • Discuss the components of the agribusiness sector in the U.S. and worldwide
  • Explain the agricultural policy framework in the U.S.
  • Analyze and evaluate agribusiness issues and management decisions
  • Apply statistical and analytical methods to analyze economic data and formulate strategies
  • Develop business and marketing plans for commodities and specialized food products
  • Communicate effectively through written reports and oral presentations

Ph.D. Economics Program Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate competency in advanced microeconomic theory and quantitative techniques.
  • Utilize and apply advanced statistical methods to analyze real-world data.
  • Communicate effectively (both in oral and written form) based on professional standards.
  • Produce, present, and defend their thesis or dissertation.

Outcomes Data

IDEA evaluations of courses and students

Classes in the APEC department are at and above the IDEA System averages for courses. These are summaries of student course evaluations across the APEC department. Over the last four years compared to the IDEA database average, our courses have been 22% Much Higher, 29% Higher, 29% Similar, 14% Lower and only 6% Much Lower. Our student course evaluations also rank higher when compared to USU averages.

Student feedback through academic advisor

Students routinely provide feedback to their academic advisor on the usefulness of course prerequisites, the value they place on current course content, and their desire for additional or alternative courses to strengthen or broaden their education in a specific major.

Students also provide feedback on the approachability of our faculty and willingness to take time to ensure questions are answered, depth of subjects are explored, and to provide career advice.

Placement Data

According to 2014-2015 data, 90% of our undergraduate students are employed in their careers or are continuing on with their education towards advanced degrees. Of our graduate students, 100% are employed or are seeking another advanced degree. We are continuing to provide students with resources in aiding their employment search, primarily through Career Services but also through faculty mentorship.

Enrollment

The total number of undergraduate majors have increased from 77 in 2011/12 to 161 in 2015/16 while the number of graduate students have increased from 12 to 19 over that same time period.

Recent Data-Based Decisions

New degrees or changes in degrees based on data.

  1. Creation of Master of Science in Economics and Statistics degree approved for fall semester 2011.
    • Some of our graduate students pursuing a Master of Science degree are also interested in subsequently pursuing a PhD degree.       Feedback from students and examination of many university requirements for a PhD in Economics or Agricultural Economics revealed that our MS in Applied Economics degree lacked the rigor in math and statistics that the students needed.
    • A new joint MS degree with the Math & Statistics department was created to fulfill this need.
  2. Creation of Master of Science in International Food and Agribusiness degree approved for fall semester 2012.
    • The department was collaborating with the Royal Agricultural College in England for several years on an MBA degree from the Royal Agricultural College in International Food and Agribusiness. Many of the USU enrolled graduate students in the program expressed a desire to earn a degree from Utah State University has part of this joint program.
    • A new MS in International Food and Agribusiness degree was created to fulfill this student demand.
  3. Creation of Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics degree approved for fall semester 2012.
    • Course enrollment data indicated growth in our environmental and natural resource courses. Much of this growth was from non-majors primarily from the College of Natural Resources. We reached out to the College of Natural Resources to determine their student interest in a degree from the Applied Economics department.
    • A new BS in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics degree was created with course work in the Applied Economics department as well as from the College of Natural Resources.
  4. Creation of the Environmental and Natural Resource Economics Minor approved for fall semester 2014.
    • Course enrollment data indicated continual growth in our environmental and natural resource courses. However, data also indicated that we had very few students in our Bachelor of Science in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics major. Feedback from academic advisors indicated that some students may be more interested in a minor rather than a major in this subject matter.      
    • A new Minor in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics was created with required core course work in the Applied Economics department and elective courses in APEC as well as from the College of Natural Resources.
  5. Changed the Agribusiness Management minor to the Agribusiness Minor for fall semester 2014.
    • Course enrollment data indicated growth in our firm marketing and price analysis course. Student feedback to our academic advisor also indicated that many non APEC majors in the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences were more interested in marketing topics than management topics from APEC.
    • The title of our Agribusiness Management Minor was changed to Agribusiness Minor and additional courses were included as electives to this minor to allow students to take either agribusiness management or agribusiness marketing courses to obtain this minor.