Unit: Natural Resources & Environmental Management
Program: Natural Resources & Environmental Mgt (MS)
Degree: Master's
Date: Tue Oct 20, 2009 - 6:05:34 am

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

1. acquire skills to solve Natural Resource and Environmental Management problems

2. acquire quantitative reasoning and critical thinking

3. communicate effectively both orally and in writing

4. acquire practical experience to be job ready

2) Where are your program's SLOs published?

Department Website URL: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/nrem
Student Handbook. URL, if available online: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/nrem/academics/downloads/Grad_Stud_Guide_Augut_15_09_Version.pdf
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/nrem/academics/master.html
UHM Catalog. Page Number: 349-350
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online:

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

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2009:

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


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

a. Thesis proposal and defense. Find out the ability of students to identify research problems, state reasonable objectives, identify appropriate research methods, analyze data, explain results, derive policy implications, accept feedback and conclude research projects.

b. Seminar presentation. Find out the competency of organizing a presentation, logical presentation of a technical paper, professionally present research to peers and ability to answer questions and further development.

c. Critical thinking skills. All courses include learning how to think and communicate critically to solve natural resource and environmental management and policy issues.

7) State the Type(s) of Evidence Gathered

total applications

student admitted


average time to graduate (years)

degree in 4 years (%)

dropout rate (%)

number of graduates

refereed presentations at national meetings

refereed presentations at local and regional meetings

articles published in peer reviewed journals

student awards at local, regional and national meetings

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

During the period of November 5- 10, 2006, a CSREES sponsored external comprehensive review of the department was conducted. The main recommendations of the review for the graduate program are as follows:

  1. Encourage the department to clearly define the terms natural resource and environmental management and policy and to adopt them as the fundamental core of the graduate program.
  2. Develop and enforce minimum management and policy competencies (including quantitative and qualitative analytical methods)
  3. Consider the standards for NREM degrees and develop benchmarks to be used as indicators of quality for graduates.

To address the recommendations above, the department had a strategic planning retreat in August 2009  to  strengthen NREM’s  policy and management focus  and develop additional competencies from the courses currently being taught (although some courses such as NREM 601 and 611 already have substantial management and policy themes). NREM’s practical experience opportunities for students are ample through research and practical training with resident faculty and external agencies. The students have demonstrated success through the acceptance of their presentations and publications in state, regional, national and international competitive forums.  The department will continue to build on current success and strengths by hiring faculty who have training in qualitative and quantitative analytical methods and practical experiences working on interdisciplinary ecosystem management and policy of natural resources and the environment. NREM has been successful in hiring 4 new faculty in the past 3 years. They have extensive working experience in ecosystem management of managed and natural terrestrial ecosystems, and training in analytical methods for analysis

9) State How Many Pieces of Evidence Were Collected

Oral presentations are required in most of NREM graduate courses.  Students have frequently presented papers at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) Student Research Symposium, the annual East-West Center Graduate Student Research Conference and other state, national and international conferences. Graduate student contributions to NREM disciplines include: (i) Intra-UH Forums—Presentations at the Annual CTAHR Research Symposium which is held every spring semester; 17 students participated in oral and poster presentations in the Spring 2009 symposium. CTAHR and NREM provide awards to encourage excellence in these presentations. NREM students received 6 awards. Two students received scholarships for academic year 2009 – 2010. One student participated in the 2009 East-West Center Graduate Student Symposium. (ii) State, National and International Conferences and Workshops—Student participation in these events is primarily dependent on their academic supervisors, the projects within which their research is carried out, and the extent of available financial support, some of which is available through the Graduate Student Organization (GSO) of the University of Hawaii. NREM had 13 graduate students attend state, national or international conferences and workshops last year. One student’s poster was award the best poster presentation at the 2009 Hawaii Conservation Conference. One student attended the European Conference on Agricultural and Rural Development in China in  Leeds, UK. One student attended the Human-Wildlife conflict collaboration workshop in Washington DC, (iii) Published work from research projects, theses and dissertations—Students often take the initiative to publish their work with the strong encouragement and guidance from their faculty supervisors. NREM graduate students published 13 abstracts, 4 posters, 11 refereed journal articles, and 1 book chapter.  One of the articles was the finalist for the Best Paper Award at the IAMA conference.

10) Summarize the Actual Results

1. average time to graduate - 2.5 years

2. degree in 4 years - 90%

3. drop out rate - 7-8%

4. number of graduates - 18 (2007 - 2009)

5. attend regional and national conference - 13

6. receive scholarships - 2 

7. present papers and posters at local venue - 17

8. best poster award - 1

9. attend international conference - 1

10. publish abstracts - 13

11. publish refereed articles - 11

12. publish book chapters - 1

13. finalist for best paper award in international conference - 1

14. total students enrolled in 2008 - 17 (out of over 60 applied)

15. total students enrolled in 2009 - 28 (out of over 70 applied)

11) Briefly Describe the Distribution and Discussion of Results

The NREM graduate program committee summarizes assessment results, which are submitted to the department chair and circulated to NREM faculty.  The findings are discussed in department meetings, strategic planning retreat and individual consultations with instructors.


12) Describe Conclusions and Discoveries

In general, the SLOs are met.

To enhance more effective and varied communication styles and critical thinking, the seminar course NREM 701 was revamped in 2009 to expose students to external scholars, their research findings or programs.

To enhance careers in management, MS Plan B has been reoriented more toward a professional degree to include sub-discipline tracks that achieve deeper knowledge and understanding of a specific area of specialty in natural resource and environmental management.

Core required courses are currently being revisited.

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

The graduate committee is investigating opportunities for a student organization, annual award and networking with communities, NGOs and agencies to enhance student's job readiness, leadership skills and communications.

14) Reflect on the Assessment Process

Information on the types of employment that our graduates obtain after graduation from our department was collected in October 2006. The data, based on a 67% response rate, clearly demonstrate that our graduate students are successful in obtaining employment in natural resource management.  These jobs include:

Endangered Species Act Coordinator

Professor in Tibet and Manager, Environmental Department, Canadian Mining Company

Environmental Education/Restoration Intern

PhD Candidate

Fishery Economic Specialist

Natural Resource Specialist

Stream Curriculum and Film Coordinator

Watershed Protection Support Technician

Environmental Planner


The annual salary ranged from a minimum of a living stipend to a maximum of $50,000, with most graduates making around $30,000 per year.

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.