After receiving grant funding, faculty distributed a survey to students to assess the online master’s degree program
Last year, associate chair Lydia Kloiber, MS, RDN, LD, and department chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences Nikhil Dhurandhar, Ph.D., were awarded the 2020 Assessment Innovation Grant (AIG) by the Office of Planning and Assessment at Texas Tech. The award provides funding to faculty whose initiatives are actively improving programs or projects on campus.
Kloiber and Dhurandhar utilized the $500 in funding to distribute a survey to students in the online master's program in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics. Now that the survey results have been completed, the team is excited to utilize the feedback to enhance the online graduate program.
"The questions included in the survey were designed to assess our strengths as a program as well as to determine ways in which we can improve," said Allison Childress, Ph.D., RDN, CSSD, LD, director of the online master's program. "Overall, we received extremely positive feedback from our former students."
Since 2016 the online master's degree program has grown from seven to 114 students across 31 states. After five years, the program knew it was time to assess the program to meet the needs of its student population.
"They praised faculty involvement," Childress said. "Several commented on how much the program helped them in their current careers, and for some students, their degree led to a job promotion."
Childress said the program wanted to know how to improve its course offerings. Responses indicated a desire for renal (kidney) nutrition, medications, and a few other options.
"Our plan is to add a new course per academic year for the next three years to provide even more course variety for our students with different areas of interest," Childress explained. "We plan to offer one of the new courses, Nutrition and Kidney Disease, this summer."
"This timely assessment of our online M.S. program in dietetics confirmed that we are effectively meeting the needs of so many students," Dhurandhar said. "Moving forward, it helps us enhance the program based on the input received."
Childress noted that the faculty are inspired by the positive feedback received.
"We plan to use this data to continue to expand our program to include more course offerings which will allow our students the opportunity to specialize in a variety of areas in dietetics," Childress said. "The current success of our program is a clear reflection of the effort, passion, and teamwork of our faculty, staff, and stakeholders, and we are very excited about our future."