Unit: American Studies
Program: American Studies (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Thu Nov 19, 2015 - 10:54:49 pm

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

1. Substantial knowledge of American history, society, and culture, as well as a basic appreciation of different scholarly approaches to American Studies

(1a. General education, 3b. Respect for people and cultures, in particular Hawaiian culture)

2. Critical thinking skills necessary to analyze a variety of cultural artifacts (literature, primary documents, film, music, etc.), as well as historical and present-day sociopolitical issues.

(2a. Think critically and creatively, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3b. Respect for people and cultures, in particular Hawaiian culture)

3. Competence in scholarly writing and oral communication

(2c. Communicate and report)

4. Basic research skills, including advanced research skills in one area of specialization (majors only).

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2b. Conduct research, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth)

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

Department Website URL: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/amst/undergraduate-program/program-overview/
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: NA
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: NA

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.

Over the last 18 months, the department has continued with assessment activities as outlined in the Fall 2014 assessment report. These activities have included:

  • Continuing to assess the quality of student capstone projects as an indicator of the success of the required core course sequence in preparing and supporting students in their completion of a rigorous capstone project. In response to this evaluation, we have continued to make changes to assignments within these core courses. New assignments have focused on incorporating increased exposure to primary resources and working in more specific ways to develop research skills and familiarize students with library resources in AMST 480; and devoting more attention to close reading as well as writing in AMST 381 and 382.
  • Continuing to poll our students on the success of our courses in meeting departmental SLOs through at least two mandatory advising meetings per year with each of our majors and most of our minors. These session also provide valuable feedback on the ability of our students to meet their educational goals, their preparedness to complete capstone projects, as well as their general preparedness for higher education and/or career goals after graduation. Though these are qualitative rather than quantitative measures, they provide a valuable source of feedback on our undergraduate program and help to indicate areas in which we need to innovate or shift our approach to better meet our departmental SLOs, and other departmental priorities in regards to our undergraduate program.
  • Meeting with the newly formed Assessment Committee to brainstorm about new departmental strategies to implement assessment activities going forward.
  • Continuing research into the best strategies for establishing and maintaining an active alumni database, which would form the basis for a planned survey assessing how well students feel they have been served by the major, and if and how well the skills they developed in the major have served their evolving educational and career goals.

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.

Senior capstones: 15 students (one faculty member; professional judgment/qualitative measure)

AMST 382 students: 25 students (one faculty member; professional judgment/qualitative measure)

Major/minor individual and focus group meetings: approximately 50 students (undergraduate advisor; professional judgment/qualitative measure)

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.

  • Approximately 20% of students enrolled in AMST 481 in Spring 2015 struggled to complete a successful capstone project. Based on this data, we continue to revise assignments and approaches within our core major sequence (AMST 381/382 and AMST 480/481) to focus more attention on foundational skill building across the core.
  • Students on the whole feel well served by the major and reflect positively on the success of AMST courses in meeting departmental SLOs.
  • Some students in the Junior Seminar (AMST 381/382)--which includes AMST minors as well as majors-- lack sufficient competence in close reading and critical writing skills (exact percentage unavailable).

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.

Evaluation of the capstone projects, combined with the evaluation of student coursework in AMST 381/382, and information gathered through individual advising sessions, led to the following changes:

  • greater attention to assignments building close reading as well as writing skills in AMST 381/382;
  • more attention to developing research skills in AMST 480, including more hands-on experience with primary materials and library resources.

In response to our goal to track with how well our SLOs serve our majors after graduation, we continue to explore how best to gather data toward the establishment of an up-to-date and functional alumni database, for the purpose of surveying alumni on their current education and career activities, and their feelings about how well skills built in the major have served their educational and career goals after graduation.

Other results of assessment activities include the clarification of our major requirements as stated in the UH catalog, program sheets, and on the departmental website.

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.

The newly formed Assessment Committee continues to discuss how best to refine our assessment activities in line with our qualitative rather than quantitative approach to evaluating the success of our curriculum in meeting our departmental SLOs.

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