Unit: Public Health Studies
Program: Epidemiology (PhD)
Degree: Doctorate
Date: Thu Sep 24, 2015 - 11:04:51 am

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

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

Descriptive Epidemiology
1. Apply appropriate epidemiologic techniques and data sources to quantitatively assess patterns and changes in disease occurrence.
1. Discuss how emerging technology in molecular biology and genomics are applied in the study of diseases and conditions.
Basic knowledge of the leading public health problems and the history of the discipline
1. Explain the central role of causation in epidemiology, including knowledge of various definitions and concepts of causation.
2. Apply the principles of screening and of surveillance systems, the concepts of validity and reliability of screening tests, and identify the types of surveillance systems and approaches used in disease surveillance.
3. Explain how global, cultural, and social contexts of health problems influence the conduct, interpretation, and dissemination of epidemiologic research and intervention studies
Problem Conceptualization
1. Effectively (a) search, review, critically
evaluate, and synthesize the scientific literature, (b) identify meaningful gaps in knowledge, and (c) formulate original and key hypotheses or research questions that may lead to new discoveries in epidemiology.
Study Design
1. Select and apply epidemiology study designs that are appropriate to address specific research questions or hypotheses.
2. Explain how consideration of causal inference, sources of bias, and of sampling, statistical, and other methods can improve the validity of epidemiologic studies.
3. Design research projects that address important population health or clinical questions, using appropriate epidemiologic methods under constraints confronted in practice.
4. Develop and constructively critique epidemiologic research proposals and papers.
Data Collection and Monitoring
1. Apply the principles and methods of data-collection and data–processing procedures in the design and conduct of epidemiologic research, with sound knowledge of measurement validity and reliability, data quality control, data management, documentation, and security.
Data Management
1. Design, implement, and assess data collection, quality control, and data management procedures for epidemiologic studies.
Data Analysis
1. Apply state-of-the-art statistical and other quantitative methods in the analysis of epidemiologic data from a variety of sources, including data from large national- and state-level datasets.
1. Interpret epidemiologic study results, make appropriate inferences based on results, and recognize the implications of the research results.
1. Communicate clearly and effectively in writing and orally ideas, epidemiologic concepts, methods, results, and implications to scientists, students, policy makers, and the public, including diverse audiences at professional meetings, readers of research journals, grant reviewers, and laypersons.
2. Teach epidemiologic concepts to students at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
1. Apply ethical principles to (a) behave with integrity and high ethical standards in teaching, research, service, and practice, and (b) protect the welfare and interests of study participants and others contacted by study personnel.
Substantive area
1. Demonstrate mastery of a substantive area of epidemiology, and in this area (a) apply relevant epidemiologic theory and methods, and (b) integrate the biological, behavioral, and social mechanisms that operate at multiple levels of causation in conducting original research related to a specific topic.
1. Participate effectively (a) in multidisciplinary research projects involving epidemiologists, other academic- and community-affiliated public health researchers, basic scientists, and clinicians, and (b) on investigative teams of both scientists and non-scientists (e.g., community members).


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

Department Website URL: http://www.hawaii.edu/publichealth/
Student Handbook. URL, if available online: http://www.hawaii.edu/publichealth/download/students/1011_Handbook.pdf
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: NA
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online:

3) Please review, add, replace, or delete the existing curriculum map.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2015:

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 learning assessment activities between June 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015?

No (skip to question 16)

6) What best describes the program-level learning assessment activities that took place for the period June 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015? (Check all that apply.)

Create/modify/discuss program learning assessment procedures (e.g., SLOs, curriculum map, mechanism to collect student work, rubric, survey)
Collect/evaluate student work/performance to determine SLO achievement
Collect/analyze student self-reports of SLO achievement via surveys, interviews, or focus groups
Use assessment results to make programmatic decisions (e.g., change course content or pedagogy, design new course, hiring)
Investigate curriculum coherence. This includes investigating how well courses address the SLOs, course sequencing and adequacy, the effect of pre-requisites on learning achievement.
Investigate other pressing issue related to student learning achievement for the program (explain in question 7)

7) Briefly explain the assessment activities that took place in the last 18 months.

The Epidemiology PhD committee met to discuss revisions to the SLOs and curriculum map.  The revised SLOs and curriculum map were informed by data from (a) a national epidemiology doctoral education workshop, (b) epidemiology programs from other schools, and (c) OPHS epidemiology faculty, doctoral candidates, and recent graduates.

The PhD curriculum map was completely overhauled with revised SLOs and with primary (P) and reinforcing (R) additions.

The Chair of the PhD program convened a focus group with faculty and current PhD students on January 29, 2015 to gather information on the program's strengths, weaknesses, and programmatic issues such as revision and creation of new courses.

The PhD graduate faculty in epidemiology created its fourth written qualifying examination and administered it to doctoral candidates on April 17, 2015.

Several PhD candidates wrote and presented their dissertation proposals, took comprehensive examinations, and defended their dissertations over the past 18 months.

8) What types of evidence did the program use as part of the assessment activities checked in question 6? (Check all that apply.)

Direct evidence of student learning (student work products)

Artistic exhibition/performance
Assignment/exam/paper completed as part of regular coursework and used for program-level assessment
Capstone work product (e.g., written project or non-thesis paper)
Exam created by an external organization (e.g., professional association for licensure)
Exit exam created by the program
IRB approval of research
Oral performance (oral defense, oral presentation, conference presentation)
Portfolio of student work
Publication or grant proposal
Qualifying exam or comprehensive exam for program-level assessment in addition to individual student evaluation (graduate level only)
Supervisor or employer evaluation of student performance outside the classroom (internship, clinical, practicum)
Thesis or dissertation used for program-level assessment in addition to individual student evaluation
Other 1:
Other 2:

Indirect evidence of student learning

Alumni survey that contains self-reports of SLO achievement
Employer meetings/discussions/survey/interview of student SLO achievement
Interviews or focus groups that contain self-reports of SLO achievement
Student reflective writing assignment (essay, journal entry, self-assessment) on their SLO achievement.
Student surveys that contain self-reports of SLO achievement
Other 1:
Other 2:

Program evidence related to learning and assessment
(more applicable when the program focused on the use of results or assessment procedure/tools in this reporting period instead of data collection)

Assessment-related such as assessment plan, SLOs, curriculum map, etc.
Program or course materials (syllabi, assignments, requirements, etc.)
Other 1:
Other 2:

9) State the number of students (or persons) who submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

6 (all PhD candidates who took qualifying or comprehensive examinations or defended their dissertation (final defense)).

10) 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)

11) 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)

12) Summarize the results of the assessment activities checked in question 6. For example, report the percent of students who achieved each SLO.

Qualifying examination: Two candidates took the exam; 1 passed unconditionally and 1 received a conditional pass meaning that there was a deficiency in at least one area. Faculty advisors prescribed additional assignments in the student's area of weakness. The student successfully completed their assignments and was issued a passing score on the qualifying examination.
Comprehensive examination: Three candidates took the exam; 2 passed and 1 will need to retake the exam at a later date.
Final defense: 3 candidates successfully defended their PhD dissertations in oral defenses open to the public.

13) What best describes how the program used the results? (Check all that apply.)

Assessment procedure changes (SLOs, curriculum map, rubrics, evidence collected, sampling, communications with faculty, etc.)
Course changes (course content, pedagogy, courses offered, new course, pre-requisites, requirements)
Personnel or resource allocation changes
Program policy changes (e.g., admissions requirements, student probation policies, common course evaluation form)
Students' out-of-course experience changes (advising, co-curricular experiences, program website, program handbook, brown-bag lunches, workshops)
Celebration of student success!
Results indicated no action needed because students met expectations
Use is pending (typical reasons: insufficient number of students in population, evidence not evaluated or interpreted yet, faculty discussions continue)

14) Please briefly describe how the program used the results.

The PhD Committee uses the exam results to assess students' areas of weaknesss and to prescibe student-specific interventions such as increased mentoring, directed readings, and additional coursework.  We also used the results to inform our new SLOs and to consider modifications to the PhD curriculum.

Advisors meet regularly with their students to formulate plans to achieve competencies and to make sure they’re on track toward achieving expected competencies. The qualifying and comprehensive examinations, and the dissertation and final defense all serve to assure that competencies are attained during the candidate’s tenure as a doctoral student.

15) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries? This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, and great achievements regarding program assessment in this reporting period.

Our January focus group with the PhD students was very well attended and helped the PhD committee in its efforts to modify the SLOs and consider the addition of a new required PhD seminar to the curriculum.

16) If the program did not engage in assessment activities, please explain.