Unit: Physics & Astronomy
Program: Physics (PhD)
Degree: Doctorate
Date: Wed Nov 14, 2018 - 4:55:11 pm

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

1. Developed skills or gained experience as a physics or science educator

(1. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in one or more general subject areas related to, but not confined to, a specific area of interest., 2. Demonstrate understanding of research methodology and techniques specific to one’s field of study., 4. Critically analyze, synthesize, and utilize information and data related to one’s field of study., 5. Proficiently communicate and disseminate information in a manner relevant to the field and intended audience., 7. Interact professionally with others.)

2. Engage in advanced theoretical and experimental physics studies of core principles of physics, including Classical Mechanics (at the level of Goldstein), Electrodynamics (at the level of Jackson or Panofsky), Quantum Mechanics (at the level of Landau, Sakurai or Shankar) and Statisitical Mechanics (undergraduate level)

(1. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in one or more general subject areas related to, but not confined to, a specific area of interest., 2. Demonstrate understanding of research methodology and techniques specific to one’s field of study., 4. Critically analyze, synthesize, and utilize information and data related to one’s field of study.)

3. Establish expertise in focused areas of physical theory and experiment

(1. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in one or more general subject areas related to, but not confined to, a specific area of interest., 2. Demonstrate understanding of research methodology and techniques specific to one’s field of study., 3. Apply research methodology and/or scholarly inquiry techniques specific to one’s field of study., 4. Critically analyze, synthesize, and utilize information and data related to one’s field of study.)

4. Produced directed study or original research in theoretical or experimental physics in a specific discipline

(1. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in one or more general subject areas related to, but not confined to, a specific area of interest., 2. Demonstrate understanding of research methodology and techniques specific to one’s field of study., 3. Apply research methodology and/or scholarly inquiry techniques specific to one’s field of study., 4. Critically analyze, synthesize, and utilize information and data related to one’s field of study., 5. Proficiently communicate and disseminate information in a manner relevant to the field and intended audience., 6. Conduct research or projects as a responsible and ethical professional, including consideration of and respect for other cultural perspectives., 7. Interact professionally with others.)

5. Gained exposure in current topics in theoretical and experimental physics in specific areas of physics research

(1. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge in one or more general subject areas related to, but not confined to, a specific area of interest., 2. Demonstrate understanding of research methodology and techniques specific to one’s field of study., 4. Critically analyze, synthesize, and utilize information and data related to one’s field of study.)

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

Department Website URL: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/
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: http://www.phys.hawaii.edu/
Other:
Other:

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.

0%
1-50%
51-80%
81-99%
100%

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):

No
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?

Yes
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)
Other:

8) Briefly explain the assessment activities that took place.

In August 2016, the Assessment Committee conducted surveys of members of the doctoral program.  These surveys are used to assess the level of achievement all Learning Objectives.

Students in the doctoral program gain experience as physics educators by teaching assistanceships.  The Assessment Committee used undergraduate student evaluations of their TAs to gauge the level of achievement of Learning Outcome 1.

In the fall of 2018, grades of doctoral students in the core graduate courses were collected and analyzed. These couses are Phy 610 (Analytical Mechanics), Phys 650 (Electrodynamics I), Phys 651 (Electrodynamics II), Phys 670 (Quantum Mechanics) and Phys 671 (Quantum Mechanics). These grades are used to assess the level of achievement of Learning Objectve 2.

In November 2015, November 2016 and February 2018, a Qualifying Exam was administered to graduate students.  Performance on this exam is used to assess the level of achievement of Learning Objective 2.  Moreover, satisfactory performance on the Qualifying Exam (a grade of P*) is required in order to remain in good standing in the doctoral program.

Several dissertation defenses were conducted during this time frame. The dissertation consists of original research conducted by the doctoral student, and the defense is used to assess the level of achievement of Learning Objective 4. Moreover, passing dissertation defense is required in order to successfully complete the doctoral program.

This material was used to make changes to the program and to assessment procedures.

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.

Core course grades were evaluated from the 28 students enrolled in the doctoral program in Fall 2018 who had recorded grades for at least one core course.  This excludes, for example, first year students.
 
Qualifying Exam grades were evaluated from 23 students currently enrolled in the doctoral program who have already taken the Exam at least once.  
 
Assessment Committee surveys were filled out by 29 students. The surveys were administered using Survey Monkey.

 

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)
Dean/Director
Other:

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)
Other:

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

585 undergraduate students completed mid-semester surveys of physics laboratory courses for which the TA was in the doctoral program. In response to the statement "Overall, the TA does a good job," 32% of the students agreed, and 42% strongly agreed. These results seem to indicate satisfactory performance in achieving Learning Outcome 1.

The core graduate courses are the courses which cover the material determined by the department to constitute "core principles of physics," and gaining competency in this material constitutes Learning Outcome 2. The student grade averages of students currently enrolled in the doctoral program are as follows:

Phys 610: 3.9 +- 0.4

Phys 650: 3.6 +- 0.6

Phys 651: 3.6 +- 0.7

Phys 670: 3.4 +- 0.6

Phys 671: 3.6 +- 0.5

These averages largely lie in the B-A range.  Overall, this result seems to indicate satisfactory performance in achieving SLO 2.

 

Of the 24 students currently in the doctoral program who had taken the qualifying exam at least once, 18 have received a grade of P*, which is the grade necessary to advance in the doctoral program.  Four have recieved a grade of P (necessary to qualify for a Master's degree, in the absence of a Master's thesis, but not to advance to candidacy), and two have received a highest grade of F.  Overall, this result seems to indicate satisfactory performance in achieving SLO 2, consistent with performance on core courses.

Between July 2015 and the present, 13 students successfully defended their dissertation (demonstrating achievement of Learning Outcome 4) and received doctoral degrees.  No students have failed their dissertation defense.

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)
Other:

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

Until last year, the Qualifying Exam was administered at the end of November.  Based partly on results of assessment activities, the timing of the exam was changed.  In the the 2018-2019 academic year, for the first time, the exam was administered in the spring semester, at the end of February.  Based on this experience, it is anticipated that the exam will be administered at roughly the same time in future years.

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.

We have found that the assessment of success in achieving SLO 2, as measured by performance on the core courses, is consistent with assessment of success based on the Qualifying Exam.

The sample of recent students who left the doctoral program due to inadequate performance on the Qualifying Exam is too small to yield meaningful conclusions.

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