Unit: American Studies
Program: American Studies (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Thu Oct 18, 2018 - 12:59:06 pm

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

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, 1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 1c. Understand Hawaiian culture and history, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3b. Respect for people and cultures, in particular Hawaiian culture, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment, 3d. Civic participation)

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.

(1a. General education, 1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 1c. Understand Hawaiian culture and history, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2c. Communicate and report, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3b. Respect for people and cultures, in particular Hawaiian culture, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment, 3d. Civic participation)

3. Competence in scholarly writing and oral communication

(1a. General education, 1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research, 2c. Communicate and report, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3d. Civic participation)

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

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

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

Department Website URL: http://manoa.hawaii.edu/amst/undergraduate/
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: We require that the SLOs appear on all undergraduate syllabi

3) Please review, add, replace, or delete the existing curriculum map.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2018:

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) Does the program have learning achievement results for its program SLOs? (Example of achievement results: "80% of students met expectations on SLO 1.")(check one):

Yes, on some(1-50%) of the program SLOs
Yes, on most(51-99%) of the program SLOs
Yes, on all(100%) of the program SLOs

6) Did your program engage in any program learning assessment activities between June 1, 2015 and October 31, 2018?

No (skip to question 17)

7) What best describes the program-level learning assessment activities that took place for the period June 1, 2015 to October 31, 2018? (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)
No (skip to question 17)
Investigate other pressing issue related to student learning achievement for the program (explain in question 7)

8) Briefly explain the assessment activities that took place.

Between June 1, 2015 and October 31, 2018., the department continued with assessment activities as outlined in the previous assessment report. These are as follows:

  • In Spring 2017 we changed the degree requirements for the major and minor in American Studies. We merged the two required Junior Seminar courses into one course (AMST 383) called “Approached to American Studies.” This course is designed to investigate the methods and materials used in the field and to prepare majors to undertake the required Senior capstone project courses (AMST 483 and 484). For these courses we created an alternative option for students to complete the requirement via an internship or creative project that also incorporates a substantial amount of writing and research.   
  • Through these new requirements we are continuing to assess the quality of student capstone projects as an indicator of the success of the required core course sequence, whether via the traditional 20-page thesis or internship/creative project. The evaluation of previous theses led to the changes in the core requirements. We focused on incorporating increased exposure to research methods in the field, opportunities to apply research and other skills via an internship to explore possible career options, and opportunities to produce creative projects related to students’ interest in the field. These are explored in AMST 383 and students undertake their projects in AMST 484 and 484.   
  • We instituted an exit poll (anonymous via the Survey Monkey platform) for our outgoing majors as a means to collect and analyze data regarding our students’ experience in the program. We are also 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 sessions 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.
  • Continuing with our Assessment Committee to brainstorm about new departmental strategies to implement assessment activities going forward.

9) What types of evidence did the program use as part of the assessment activities checked in question 7? (Check all that apply.)

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
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
Assessment-related such as assessment plan, SLOs, curriculum map, etc.
Program or course materials (syllabi, assignments, requirements, etc.)
Other 1:
Other 2:

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

Senior capstones: 37 students (one faculty member; professional judgment/qualitative measure)

AMST 382/383 students: 40 students (two faculty members; professional judgment/qualitative measure)

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

11) 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)

12) 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)

13) Summarize the results of the assessment activities checked in question 7. For example, report the percentage of students who achieved each SLO.

  • 10% students enrolled in AMST 484 during the assessment period struggled to complete a successful capstone project. Based on this data, we continue to revise assignments and approaches within our core major sequence (AMST 383 and AMST 483/484) to focus more attention on foundational skill building across the core.
  • According to our exit poll survey results, students on the whole feel well served by the major and reflect positively on the success of AMST courses in meeting departmental SLOs.

14) 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)

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

Evaluation of the capstone projects in AMST 480 and 481, combined with the evaluation of student coursework in AMST 381/382, and information gathered through individual advising sessions, led to the following changes:

  • Revised core requirements by eliminating 2-course requirement (AMST 381/382) for 3rdyear majors and implementing a 1-course requirement (AMST 383). 
  • Revised core requirements and reevaluated course content and goals for the capstone projects for AMST 480/481 by allowing for senior capstone projects such as internships or creative projects. Renumbered and renamed core courses (AMST 483/484)

In response to our goal to track with how well our SLOs serve our majors, we implemented a Survey Monkey exit poll for graduating seniors. We have used this information to assess how best to improve instruction in the department’s elective and core courses. The modifications made to our core requirements was one outcome of this assessment.

16) 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 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.One outcome of these discussions was the change to our core requirements.

17) If the program did not engage in assessment activities, please justify.