Unit: Religion
Program: Religion (MA)
Degree: Master's
Date: Sun Oct 18, 2009 - 7:02:08 pm

1) List your program's student learning outcomes (SLOs).

SLOs for the MA Plan A (Thesis Track) and Plan B (Non-Thesis Track):

1.) Students demonstrate familiarity and developing mastery of the methodologies and theoretical frameworks employed in the field of Religion.

2.) Students demonstrate the ability to write and prepare presentations at a high level of proficiency.

3.) Students are able to conduct research which leads to either a thesis or a significant portfoli of shorter works.

Work with graduate students is a highly individual endeavor, since students come to the program with diverse professional goals. In addition to the general outcomes listed above, the following outcomes apply to different students, based on aptitude and goals:

  • Student is prepared to enter a Ph.D. program in the field.
  • Student is prepared to teach courses in Religion at the junior college level.

2) Where are your program's SLOs published?

Department Website URL: www.hawaii.edu/religion/grad-ma.html
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online:
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online:

3) Upload your program's current curriculum map(s) as a PDF.

No map submitted.

4) What percentage of courses have the course SLOs explicitly stated on the course syllabus, department website, or other publicly available document? (Check one)


5) State the SLO(s) that was Assessed, Targeted, or Studied

  •  In Spring 2008, faculty identified Plan B as problematic and the focus for assessment in 2008-2009.
  •  Regarding Plan A, we are able to assess our students' abilities to meet the SLOs on a regular basis, by means of M.A. theses, and are satisfied with those results.

6) State the Assessment Question(s) and/or Goal(s) of Assessment Activity

We wanted to find out whether Plan B was working well -- whether SLOs were being satisfied by students choosing not to do a thesis.

7) State the Type(s) of Evidence Gathered

 •    In Fall 2008, faculty collectively reviewed recent Plan B public defenses.

(With Plan A students, we are constantly gathering evidence, through working with students on and reading their research papers, hearing their presentations, meeting with students individually, attending Papers in Progress (PIPS) colloquia, sitting on committees and participating in and hearing thesis defenses.)

8) State How the Evidence was Interpreted, Evaluated, or Analyzed

  •  All members of the department were involved.
  • In addition to special meetings about Plan B, we met and continue to meet monthly as a faculty. We generally share information about classes and students informally. We meet regularly and often with students.

9) State How Many Pieces of Evidence Were Collected

In general, the Department chair maintains a list of our graduate alumni, tracking their placement into doctoral programs, teaching positions, etc.  A recent update of the data shows the following:
•    Initial placement is known for 90% of the students who graduated in the past 5 years.  
•    Graduation rates between the thesis and non-thesis plans continue to shift.  Over the past 5 years, 45% graduated under A Plan (Thesis) and 55% under the B Plan (Non-thesis) options.  
•    This data indicate that the number of students selecting the Thesis plan has increased somewhat since Fall 2007, when the ratio was 38% A Plan and 62% B Plan.  Starting in Fall 2007, we were able to secure full funding for 8 graduate students, doubling the available support for graduate students in the Department.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that the increased financial support has allowed more students to select the Thesis Plan, which tends to require more time.
•    In the past five years, 28% of graduates entered Ph.D. programs.  An additional 10% entered other graduate or professional degree programs.
•    Of those entering Ph.D. programs, 63% completed Plan A and 37% completed Plan B.  This ratio has remained steady since Fall 2007.
•    In the past 5 years, 21% are now teaching at the university level*; an additional 10% hold other types of university positions.
•    In sum, 70% of our graduates have secured placement in degree programs or university positions (including teaching).

* This includes only individuals who secured teaching jobs based on the MA received at UHM in Religion, and not those who taught/are teaching as part of doctoral programs.

10) Summarize the Actual Results

•   Having reviewed recent Plan B public defenses, we found the overall quality uneven and therefore unsatisfactory.

11) Briefly Describe the Distribution and Discussion of Results

We met several times as a faculty to discuss Plan B -- most specifically in special meetings Spring 2008 and Fall 2009. We discussed results as a collective.

12) Describe Conclusions and Discoveries

•    In Spring 2009, faculty developed a revised Plan B intended to raise the overall level of performance.

13) Use of Results/Program Modifications: State How the Program Used the Results --or-- Explain Planned Use of Results

•    In Fall 2009, the Department prepared and submitted UHM 1 and UHM 2 forms to revise the Plan B.  This effectively closes the loop for the assessment cycle.

14) Reflect on the Assessment Process

No. This seemed to go very well. We eagerly await feedback on our UHM1 and UHM2 forms.

15) Other Important Information

16) FOR DISTANCE PROGRAMS ONLY: Explain how your program/department has adapted its assessment of student learning in the on-campus program to assess student learning in the distance education program.

17) FOR DISTANCE PROGRAMS ONLY: Summarize the actual student learning assessment results that compare the achievement of students in the on-campus program to students in the distance education program.