Unit: Political Science
Program: Political Science (MA)
Degree: Master's
Date: Mon Nov 16, 2015 - 3:59:36 pm

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.

Please note that the information provided in the Ph.D. assessment form applies to the MA as well.  Thus, refer specifically to the Ph.D. program assessment.

We assume students who enter graduate level study have been given appropriate training in the fundamentals of the discipline and possess the qualities necessary to produce graduate-level work. From the admissions process on, students are assessed upon several important outcomes.

1. The ability to produce quality scholarship.

At the graduate level we anticipate that students will use their knowledge of the fundamentals of the discipline as well as the critical evolution of the discipline over time to help contribute to that field through their own research.

2. Mastery of one or more of the sub-fields offered in the major.

Our program offers subfields that form the specialization a graduate student will develop while enrolled in the program. We expect students graduating from the program to have mastered one or more of these subfields. Specifically, they should have an understanding of the traditional and critical literature of the subfield and be able to demonstrate a mastery of these fields.

3. Ability to think politically. Much like our expectations of the undergraduate majors, we require students to think politically about social phenomenon. Comprehending that all social, economic, and cultural processes are also political is a crucial learning outcome. That comprehension creates knowledgeable citizenry capable of acting on policy decisions and conduct. That no knowledge is innocent, but that all knowledge has consequences is key to this learning outcome.

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

Department Website URL: http://www.politicalscience.hawaii.edu/graduate-program.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 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 learning assessment activities between June 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015?


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.)


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


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


10) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected? (Check all that apply.)


11) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence? (Check all that apply.)


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


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


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


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.

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

The main change we have instituted at the Masters level is that each new incoming MA student is paired with a faculty adviser whose job it is to see the student through the program. This system has worked very well since its institution three years ago.

Our Plan A students have to complete 30 credits (10 courses) distributed fairly straightforwardly between the 600- level and the 700-level, as well as graduate courses outside the department. Students typically find this a straightforward option and graduate in 3-4 semesters' time.

Plan B students write an MA thesis that involves 3 graduate faculty members on their thesis committee. These students are typically interested in purusing doctoral studies and work closely with their faculty committee, and they too typically take 3-4 semesters to finish. 

Its difficult to conceive of a graduate program that does *not* engage in assessment activities. Every graduate student receives comments on their papers; their papers and assignments are graded; they are evaluated every time they participate in class or in departmental events. When a Masters student applies to a PhD program here or elsewhere, faculty are required to write reference letters for them - that is a part of student assessment. I could go on for pages - but assessing student performance is as integral to the life of a department as breathing. So, unless you want me to construct a Borgesian map that details every living moment of our day and night, I suggest you take my word that yes, we do engage in assessment of our student scholarship and progress. How that meshes - or not - with Student Learning Outcomes and rubrics and all the rest of that is something I choose not to explore at this point.