Unit: Earth Sciences
Program: Earth and Planetary Sciences (MS)
Degree: Master's
Date: Tue Oct 07, 2014 - 3:01:49 pm

1) Below are your program's student learning outcomes (SLOs). Please update as needed.

Student Learning Objectives for the M.S.

1. Technical knowledge M.S. graduates are proficient in applying technical knowledge of theory, laboratory methods, field methods, computer applications, and the supporting disciplines (math, physics, chemistry, biology) to help advance the fields of geology and geophysics.

2. Scientific method (effective and ethical practice) M.S. graduates are able to (a) construct scientific hypotheses, (b) define and carry out research to evaluate them in a timely manner, (c) analyze and synthesize the results of their research, and (d) derive conclusions that help advance the fields of geology and geophysics. The highest standards of ethical practice are emphasized.

3. Communicate geological knowledge M.S. graduate are able to effectively communicate about the findings of their research in writing at a level comparable to that of a scientific journal publication, and defend it orally to the satisfaction of a scientific audience. They are also able to communicate orally about Geology though seminar or conference presentations.

4. Employability/Contributions Post-Graduation M.S. graduates have acquired the knowledge and skills in the profession needed to pursue employment or other activities that contribute to the advancement of the Earth sciences and/or the solution of societal problems. 


2) Your program's SLOs are published as follows. Please update as needed.

Department Website URL: http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/resources/docs/gg-grad-SLO_Master_Checklist_Final.pdf
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/resources/docs/gg-grad-SLO_Master_Checklist_Final.pdf
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: Course syllabi for Fall 2014 are listed: http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/academics/gg_syllabi.html
Other: A web link to all course syllabi is in preparation now.

3) Select one option:

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2014:

4) For your program, the percentage of courses that have course SLOs explicitly stated on the syllabus, a website, or other publicly available document is as follows. Please update as needed.


5) Did your program engage in any program assessment activities between June 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014? (e.g., establishing/revising outcomes, aligning the curriculum to outcomes, collecting evidence, interpreting evidence, using results, revising the assessment plan, creating surveys or tests, etc.)

No (skip to question 14)

6) For the period between June 1, 2013 and September 30, 2014: State the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goals. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.

Every graduate student meets with and is assessed by their doctoral committee of faculty mentors every semester.

Each student is evaluated by their advisor and the graduate studies faculty committee once each year.

GG610 assesses oral communication skills once per year for students.  Oral skils also are evaluated at the MS defense.

MS students must meet a series of milestones in the graduate program, along with course work, that contribute to the assessment process.

MS students complete an exit interview upon completion of their degree.


No MS program SLOs are targeted for revision.

No graduate-level class SLOs are targeted for revision.


Although the MS graduate program has not be modified, our department has introduced a new professional Masters level degree in applied geology and geophysics, the MGeo, to meet the needs of some graduate students and those in the professional community.  The MGeo program is discussed in a separate report.


7) State the type(s) of evidence gathered to answer the assessment question and/or meet the assessment goals that were given in Question #6.

Questionnaires, course grades, and faculty observations.

8) State how many persons submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

Approximately 14 MS students provided information that was evaluated during the annual graduate student evaluations.  The number of faculty members who provided information is about 25, the approximate number of faculty in the department; they provided information in the form of grades, advisor and supervisor evaluations, and graduate studies evaluations.  Departmental support staff collated exit interviews from the MS students.  All graduate students were evaluated, so the sample of graduate students evaluated is the complete set of graduate students.

9) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected? (Check all that apply.)

Course instructor(s)
Faculty committee
Ad hoc faculty group
Department chairperson
Persons or organization outside the university
Faculty advisor
Advisors (in student support services)
Students (graduate or undergraduate)
Other: Departmental support staff

10) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence? (Check all that apply.)

Used a rubric or scoring guide
Scored exams/tests/quizzes
Used professional judgment (no rubric or scoring guide used)
Compiled survey results
Used qualitative methods on interview, focus group, open-ended response data
External organization/person analyzed data (e.g., external organization administered and scored the nursing licensing exam)

11) For the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goal(s) stated in Question #6:
Summarize the actual results.

All studentsd evaluated were either found to be adequately reaching milestones on the way to the degree and attainment of each SLO, or corrective action was implemented by the GG Chair and Faculty Advisor, in consulation with the Graduate Stuies Committee.

No changes were made in the MS program SLOs or in graduate-level course SLOs.

12) State how the program used the results or plans to use the results. Please be specific.

No program changes are being proposed at this time, but the information we are collecting would be of greater use to us if we evaluated it in a more systematic and coordinated manner.

13) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries?
This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, program aspects and so on.

The review of GG assessment activities of the past year reveals several key points:

1 Many of the assessment activities, especially those pertaining to data collection, are conducted (and have been conducted for many years) on a regular, systematic, and formal basis.

2 The coordination of many of the activities, on the other hand, has been largely informal and nonsystematic.

3 We need to analyze, share, and use our assessment information in a more formal, complete, systematic, and coordinated way to more effectively guide our programs.

4 The communication and coordination among the appropriate faculty committees and department chair regarding assessment activities should be improved.

5 Assessment Information needs to be easier for GG faculty to access.

6 Syllabi and SLOs for all courses need to be complete and available on line.

7 The graduate student SLOs need to be included in our online graduate student handbook.

8 The graduate exit interview results need to be evaluated as part of the departmental assessment activities.

9 The assessment activities need to be conducted such that they are effective yet do not overburden GG faculty (especially the department chair) who are grappling with many matters in areas of teaching, research, service, and administration.

14) If the program did not engage in assessment activities, please explain.
Or, if the program did engage in assessment activities, please add any other important information here.

With regard to question #4, all graduate courses for Fall of 2014 for which syllabi are appropriate have syllabi posted.  The response to question #4 gives the percentage of all graduate courses on the books that have syllabi posted.