Program: Public Administration (MPA)
Date: Tue Oct 27, 2009 - 8:38:47 am
1) List your program's student learning outcomes (SLOs).
PLEASE NOTE: for more information, please see #15.
The overarching question is, "What do people in public service need to know to be effective in their work?
This question is addressed Capstone, the culminating experience where the learning outcomes include:
- Students can work effectively in teams
- They can make use of what they learned in the program
- They can make a contribution to the issue they are addressing
- Students can communicate effectively
- Students can think critically
- Students understand the political, legislative, and budgetary processes
- Students understand administrative law
2) Where are your program's SLOs published?
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.
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
All outcomes stated in Q1.
6) State the Assessment Question(s) and/or Goal(s) of Assessment Activity
Are our students prepared to work effectively in public service?
7) State the Type(s) of Evidence Gathered
- Capstone work
- Written narratives
8) State How the Evidence was Interpreted, Evaluated, or Analyzed
Capstone projects are evaluated through peer evaluations of team members, the community their issues deals with, and faculty.
Written narratives are evaluated.
9) State How Many Pieces of Evidence Were Collected
10) Summarize the Actual Results
11) Briefly Describe the Distribution and Discussion of Results
12) Describe Conclusions and Discoveries
Overall we are quite satisfied with the way things fit together, and how the parts lead toward a manageable assessment via the Capstone.
13) Use of Results/Program Modifications: State How the Program Used the Results --or-- Explain Planned Use of Results
We can do better in communicating to our students how the four parts of the program interconnect and point together toward the capstone experience. We are in the process of inserting into our website a chart or diagram that depicts movement through the program and makes these inter-connections more evident.
14) Reflect on the Assessment Process
15) Other Important Information
I am using this space to respond to what I believe is the spirit and substance of your questions. I am doing this because the questions do not map well onto how we assess and how we make use of what we learn. In this statement I will summarize our approach to assessment while paying attention to what I think you are trying to learn about how we do things.
The mission of this program is enhance public institutions and to increase the capacities of those who work in them through a designed learning environment. Our organizing question is this: “What do people in public service need to know to be effective in their work?” You can see from that question that ours is a program that applies learning to practice, and infer from that answering the question well requires an interdisciplinary process.
To answer our question we have adopted an integrated design that begins with our 14-credit Core Year and ends with the year-long Capstone experience. The other components are a 9-credit Individuated Concentration and a practicum.
The Core Year is critical to what we do and how we assess what we do. Modules of varying lengths organize it. Throughout the year there are approximately twelve (“approximately” because we make changes). Each of the modules is a response to the question of what someone needs to know to be effective. The modules include effective communication, critical thinking, political processes, legislative processes, administrative law, budgetary processes, etc. Each module has its objectives. Each is evaluated using student feedback, and there is an overall evaluation at the end of the first and second semester. Students are evaluated at the end of each semester via written narratives that address different aspects of their performance during the previous semester. (The assessment part of the process is addressed below.)
The Individuated Concentration is made up of courses, directed readings, and so forth, selected by the student in consultation with an adviser. The endeavors selected must reflect an agreed upon theme, such as “organizational change” or “leadership”. Courses can be taken outside of our program, but we know those taken inside will have learning objectives stated.
The practicum places the student in an organizational setting. The setting selected is determined by the learning goals agreed upon with an adviser.
In our design each of these sub-parts – the Core Year, the Concentration and the Practicum – leads toward the Capstone, which is the culminating experience, and which we insist be undertaken last. The Capstone is a team-based project in which members address a public issue, and it is where the serious program assessment occurs. The goals of the Capstone are to show that (1) students can work effectively in teams, (2) they can make use of what they learned in the program and (3) they can make a contribution to the issue they are addressing. The goals of the Capstone are detailed in handouts at the beginning of the Capstone Planning process. The goals also are announced early in the program, during the Core Year. The capstone’s work is evaluated through peer evaluations of team members, distribution of what they produce to individuals and groups in the community that deal with their issue, and faculty reviews.
Areas of improvement: Overall we are quite satisfied with the way things fit together, and with how the parts lead toward a manageable assessment via the Capstone.
We can do better in communicating to our students how the four parts of the program interconnect and point together toward the Capstone experience. We are in the process of inserting into our website a chart or diagram that depicts movement through the program and makes these inter-connections more evident.