Unit: Natural Resources & Environmental Management
Program: Natural Resources & Environmental Mgt (MS)
Degree: Master's
Date: Fri Oct 09, 2015 - 2:31:10 pm

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

1. Students demonstrate knowledge of social and ecological principles, and interdisciplinary aspects of natural resource and environmental management issues

2. Students can analyze and address natural resource and environmental management problems by using appropriate methods from social and/or natural science disciplines

3. Students communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, to diverse audiences including professionals, resource managers, local communities and policy makers

4. Students can

a. Conduct scientific research of professional quality in their specialization area (M.S. Plan A)

b. Conduct a capstone project of professional quality to acquire practical experience by applying NREM knowledge (M.S. Plan B)

5. Students can function as professionals in their specialization area by demonstrating responsible and ethical conduct, effective collaboration, informed decision making, and life-long learning

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

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

Department Website URL: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/nrem/students/grad-assess.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) 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.

In recent years, the NREM curriculum committee worked to develop a new, required MS core course that meets departmental SLOs, including the possibility of requiring the same core course to Ph.D. In this assessment period, follow up activities have taken steps to finalize the course concepts and transfer the responsibility for implementation to the instructors.  A pilot course will be taught in Spring 2016.

A final workshop was held as part of the NREM Departmental retreat on August 21, 2014.  The goal of this workshop was to prioritize topics within each reorganized focal area.  This goal emerged from past feedback raising the concern that trying to cover too much in the core course would compromise depth and student’s ability to learn from the class.  Honed topics for each focal area emerging from a prior workshop (May 8, 2014) were printed in large font, and taped to poster papers posted around the meeting.  Each faculty member and department staff were given sticker dots and asked to vote for the most important 3-5 topics (varied depending on the number of choices) within each focal area.  Cross cutting themes also received prioritization votes.  Participants were not allowed to use all of their dots on one focal area or on one topic, in order to minimize voting for their personal area of research or specialty.  Rather, the desired outcome was to have participants make decisions about what they felt were important disciplines outside their own.  Votes were recorded and topics within each focal area were ranked.

The workshop ended with a short exercise in which faculty members and staff formed teams to work on an assigned course them applied to a project of their choice.  They were asked to brainstorm project sites, potential stakeholders and partners, project outcomes, and final products while also considering which topics could be covered with different focal areas through the projects.

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.

Student input was sought primarily on the prioritized topics developed at the August 21, 2014 NREM faculty retreat (see #7 above).  The goal of this exercise was to prioritize topics within each reorganized focal area from the students’ perspective.  With student leadership, the same exercise as described above for faculty was conducted with currently enrolled graduate students.

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)
Other: The curriculum committee reported to faculty at the October 10, 2014 NREM faculty meeting: (i) summary of the process to date, and (ii) course goals (including integration of disciplines, common knowledge base, and key skills important for early graduate career). A road map was also proposed by the curriculum committee to transfer responsibility to the core course instructors. To do so, instructors must be identified. The outcomes of the review included identification of outstanding concerns, e.g., whether MS and PhD students can be combined, how to deal with course deficiencies for incoming students, what to do about students who have taken some but not all of the subunit courses. The curriculum committee was further tasked with creating preliminary course SLOs, after which the curriculum committee would pass on responsibility to finalize course SLOs and content to the instructors, once identified. A consensus (reached by faculty vote) to move ahead at the MS-level, pilot the class under the current course structure i.e., NREM 600/601/605 was reached.

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

The curriculum committee drafted core course SLOs and presented them at the December 12, 2014 departmental meeting

Proposed Core Course Student Learning Objectives (SLOs):

1. Demonstrate knowledge of principles and interdisciplinary aspects of NREM

-Demonstrate broad knowledge and understanding of critical topics and theories that span    

  natural and socio-economic disciplines.-

-Build a foundation of interdisciplinary scholarship to prepare students for advanced learning   

  and research.

-Understand what interdisciplinary science is and how it can be used to solve NREM problems.

2. Employ appropriate methods for sound, integrated solutions to local, regional, or global problems.

-Develop processes, tools and technologies to provide recommendations and support

  improvements in NREM management.

-Apply interdisciplinary approaches to real-world problems in NREM in ways that  increase skill

  and capacity to manage natural resources.

3. Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, to diverse audiences including professionals, resource managers, scientists, local communities, policy makers, and the general public.

-Effectively use language across all NREM disciplines.

-Communicate scientific research to non-technical audiences.

4. Develop professional skills needed to be a productive, collegial member of a global society.

-Think independently and work collaboratively to analyze NREM issues from a systems


-Build skills for effective collaboration and co-learning.


Outcome of the departmental meeting: (1) Faculty approved course SLOs; instructors can refine, (2) Instructors can change core course objective but SLOs remain the same, (3) NREM course SLOs should be consistent with core course SLOs.  

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.

In late July, 2015, Dr. Kirsten Oleson, one of the two selected instructors for the newly designed core course, attended a week-long short course “Teaching socio-environmental synthesis with case studies” (https://www.sesync.org/project/short-courses/teaching-socio-environmental-synthesis-with-case-studies).  She is developing a case study based on the content of the course, which covered many topics relevant to socio-environmental systems, case study development, and pedagogy (e.g., setting learning goals, assessment techniques, etc.).  The case will be available for public use on the SESYNC website, and she and Dr. Susan Crow, the other selected instructor for the course, plan to adapt it as the backbone of the new core. The proposed case revolves around resource governance of watersheds in Hawaii.  Starting in August, 2015, Drs. Crow and Oleson have weekly meetings to make progress in meeting these goals.

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.

Planning and progress will be made to determine how to assess SLOs in the future.  Ideas include developing a rubric for assessing the departmental-level SLOs for each program to be filled out by advisor following defense of capstone/thesis in order to provide assessment of student learning outcomes.  Further, Drs. Oleson and Crow will need to develop a rubric for the revamped course to provide assessment in the intermediate term.

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