Unit: Political Science
Program: Political Science (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Thu Oct 30, 2014 - 4:16:07 pm

1) Institutional Learning Objectives (ILOs) and Program Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

1. 1.  Students will be able to think critically and historically about power and the political. Students identify and analyze power dynamics in a range of social contexts and processes, including but not limited to language, government, images of the future and civil society institutions. Students will be able to pose and explore relevant, open-ended questions about authority and legitimacy.

(1a. General education, 1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3b. Respect for people and cultures, in particular Hawaiian culture, 3d. Civic participation)

2. 2. Students will be able to craft and defend evidence-based arguments. This argumentative capacity is built upon their ability to rigorously and respectfully weigh competing views, synthesize multiple sources and critically reflection their own and others assumptions. Students should be able to make arguments in both written and oral forms of communication.

(1a. General education, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research, 2c. Communicate and report, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3d. Civic participation)

3. 3. Students will be able to communicate effectively in public settings, with attention to and appreciation of diverse cultural contexts. Students are equipped for productive, civic participation in their communities, able to synthesize critical thinking, empathic, collaborative and argumentative capacities, and futures thinking with an audience in mind.

(1a. General education, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research, 2c. Communicate and report, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3d. Civic participation)

4. 4. Students will be able to cogently explain the interconnectedness of local and global dynamics of power within the context of the political and cultural specificities of Hawai`i nei.

(1a. General education, 1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 1c. Understand Hawaiian culture and history, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3b. Respect for people and cultures, in particular Hawaiian culture, 3d. Civic participation)

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

Department Website URL: http://www.politicalscience.hawaii.edu/undergraduate-program.html
Student Handbook. URL, if available online: NA
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: NA
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online:

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.

In fall 2013, the Political Science faculty modified existing departmental, undergraduate student learning outcomes (SLOs). We wanted to streamline them and make them student-centered. We then asked what are the priority SLOs that need to be addressed as we consider our core curriculum offerings and any possible changes to our curriculum. Additionally, the previous year we had begun creating an entrance/exit survey to help us gather information about our students, why they choose our major and particular courses within the major. After revising the SLOs in the fall, we added to this survey some questions about students' perception of whether or not they are meeting the four SLOs. Finally, in order to begin collecting direct assessment data on student acheivement, we set up a DropBox to begin collecting exemplars of student work in our core courses for the major. In spring 2014, we also began working with Hamilton librarians to create an information literacy rubric.

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.

Faculty discussion helped us determine priority SLOs to address in terms of current student performance and how to make curricular change to meet students' needs.

We also complied enrollment data for the last five years, entrance/exit survey data, student work samples (as described in the last item) and eCAFE responses.

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

The faculty committee included four members, plus we were able to bring in two other faculty and one graduate student TA who are interested in improving the undergraduate curriculum.

For the student work samples, we requested samples from all faculty and graduate students who had taught one of our core classes in the previous four semesters. We received responses from about eight people. We need to continue gathering these samples, as we would like to have representative work from all core courses.

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)

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.

Using informal appraisal by individual faculty of student performance at the senior capstone level, the undergraduate curriculum committee found that students’ writing skills need to be addressed in a more cohesive and purposeful way in the curriculum.

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

A 200-level writing politics course was designed to address the gap. In short, the discussions around the learning outcomes revision resulted in faculty collaboration in assessment-driven curricular improvement. These discussions and innovations are part of a two-year plan to improve program assessment in the department.

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.

We were able to collaboratively develop a new course, POLS 200 “Reading and Writing Politics,” and also sought input from community colleges in doing so.

The main learning objectives for this course are: Develop skills needed to read and write political texts. Weigh competing views; read and analyze texts for what they do and do not say; craft and defend evidence-based arguments; practice writing mechanics and style.

This course will help our department to achieve three main goals:

1.Provide stronger preparation in writing, reading, argumentation and critical thinking.
2.Provides more of an “entry-point” into the curriculum, so that there would be some progression in the required courses.
3.Improve our program-level assessment, by giving us a course in which we could really focus on student writing skills at an early point in ones undergraduate career.

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.