The Department's mission is to support the land-grant mandate through teaching, research, and extension programs involving the physical, chemical, and biological mechanisms that operate in the continuum of the soil, plant, and atmosphere. This is reflected in the structure of the Department.
The teaching goal is to have quality educational programs and curricula that help students learn their discipline and serve the needs of their clientele. In addition, to provide continuing education programs for life-long learning.
The research goal is to conduct basic and applied research that will place us on the cutting edge of science as we move into the next century and to provide support for the agricultural industries, agencies, and others relying on plant, soil, environmental, and climatological/biometeorological information in the state of Utah, the region, nation, and world.
The outreach and extension goal is to establish effective and efficient programs, methods, and procedures to extend research-based information to all clientele, both rural and urban, within the state of Utah.
Assessment of Graduate Students and Programs
Graduate and undergraduate students admitted to department programs satisfy university and college admission requirements. Admission requirements are published in print and electronic media. Student admissions are without regard for age, gender, race, creed, etc. The undergraduate advisor and department head monitor the progress and performance of undergraduate majors. The graduate committee, program director, and the department head monitor the progress and performance of graduate students. Students who excel in their coursework in a given semester receive letters of commendation from the dean. Students who fail to meet academic standards are notified in writing and encouraged to meet with the appropriate advisor or department head to identify remediation measures. Strong and growing student demand and the high percentage of graduates placed in related employment attest to program demand. Graduates have the skills and knowledge necessary for the field of preparation.
Assessment of Undergraduate Students and Programs
The best instruments for assessing the performance of undergraduate students and effectiveness of undergraduate programs are: graduation rates; participation in faculty research; where program graduates are placed; and student and alumni assessments of program quality and effectiveness. Many of our majors pursue advanced degrees. Their performance on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and their acceptance into graduate programs is an appropriate assessment measure. In addition to direct measures, we have included information about the average high school GPA and average ACT composite exam scores of entering freshmen, the average cost per student credit hour (SCH) for PSC programs, and mean student assessments of course quality. The 2001 College of Agriculture valedictorian, Bret Stephens, was a PSC student.