Unit: American Studies
Program: American Studies: Museum Studies (Graduate Certificate)
Degree: Certificate, Graduate
Date: Fri Sep 25, 2009 - 5:31:46 am

1) List your program's student learning outcomes (SLOs).

1.  Broad knowledge of the field of Museum Studies in the U.S. and internationally.

2.  Understanding of key disciplinary methods used in Museum Studies to analyze important issues in the field.

3.  Understanding of current issues in Museum Studies.

4.  Broad knowledge of the work and responsibilities of museums and related institutions.

5.  Specific knowledge of a specialized area in museum work through practical experience.

6.  Critical analysis and writing skills to analyze pertinent issues and competently write about them.

7. Advanced research skills necessary to develop Museum Studies projects or competently evaluate them.

2) Where are your program's SLOs published?

Department Website URL: http://www.hawaii.edu/amst/MS_graduatecert.htm
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.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2009:

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

SLO #3, Understanding of current issues in Museum Studies.

6) State the Assessment Question(s) and/or Goal(s) of Assessment Activity

What did the program want to find out?

Was SLO #3 being met in the three core classes (AMST 683, 684, and 685)?  Was the course material specific to this SLO adequately covered?  If no, how should the content of the classes be revised?  Should course content be added, eliminated, or moved to another course?

7) State the Type(s) of Evidence Gathered

7.  State the Type(s) of Evidence Gathered

To assess the outcome or answer the assessment question, what evidence was gathered?

The two instructors in the program reviewed course evaluations (CAFE) and student comments in and outside of classes.

8) State How the Evidence was Interpreted, Evaluated, or Analyzed

What process was used to interpret, evaluate, or analyze the evidence?  Who was involved?

After reviewing the evidence for the course content for the three core classes, the director of the certificate program and the instructor of AMST/EDCS 685 determined that the assigned content in AMST 685/EDSC 685, “Museums and Communities,” was too wide ranging and could not be adequately covered.  Hence, the director and instructor decided to:  1) emphasize the course content that highlighted educational theory and learning in museums, 2) remove the course content that did not speak to this focus by shifting the identified contents to another core class or deleting it from the core classes entirely.  Hence, the course content on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was removed from AMST 685/EDCS 685 and shifted to AMST 683.  The course content on cultural tourism, and marketing and public relations was eliminated from the core classes.  (The latter information could be obtained by students through elective courses.  The director had evidence that this was possible from her supervision of students who had taken elective courses that covered cultural tourism and marketing and public relations.)

The course title and course description for AMST/EDCS 685 was changed to more accurately reflect the revised focus of the course.  The title was changed from “Museums and Communities” to “Museums and Education.”  FYI, under the old title the course content addressed educational projects in museums and their relationship to a range of diverse communities (e.g., ethnic, gender, region).  Under the new course title the relationship between educational projects and diverse communities will be covered but not emphasized.  As a consequence of the deletion or removal of course content, more time in AMST/EDCS 685 will be adequately spent on covering educational theory and programs.

The course contents for AMST 683 and AMST 684 were assessed as meeting SLO #3.  However, with the shift of the NAGPRA material into AMST 683 (per above), a few essays had to be eliminated from the Fall 2009 course reader to accommodate this new information.


9) State How Many Pieces of Evidence Were Collected

The primary evidence was obtained by reviewing the CAFE course evaluations for AMST/EDCS 685 for two semesters (Spring 2008 and Spring 2007).  Several students pointed out that the course covered too much information and the instructor was not able to cover everything adequately.  Students also mentioned this problem during class discussions and in conversations with the instructor of the course and the director of the Museum Studies program.

10) Summarize the Actual Results

As a result of the assessment of the SLO “Understanding of current issues in Museums Studies” for the three core classes in the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program, it was determined that the course content for AMST/EDCS 685 should be changed because the instructor could not adequately cover some of the most important current issues in museum education.  After reviewing class evaluations and reflecting on student comments, the instructor of the course and the director of the Museum Studies program decided to delete some of the course content from AMST/EDCS 685, shift the content on NAGPRA to another course (AMST 683), delete the course content on cultural tourism and marketing/public relations from the core classes, and change the title and course description of AMST/EDCS 685 to reflect the content changes and the shift in content focus.  

11) Briefly Describe the Distribution and Discussion of Results

Who received the results?  How did the discussion of the results take place?

The director of the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program and the instructor of AMST/EDCS 685 received the results and discussed it together.  These two individuals are the sole instructors of the core classes in the certificate program.

12) Describe Conclusions and Discoveries

One of the discoveries we found from our assessment of SLO #3 is that students expect the title of a course to match its contents closely.  Of course this seems self-evident.  However, as instructors experiment with new course content in an effort to address the suggestions made by students in course evaluations or through comments made in classes, the course material is expected to change.  In the particular case mentioned here concerning AMST/EDCS 685, the instructor’s efforts to address student comments to spend more time on some educational topics, resulted in the instructor’s inability to cover other course topics adequately.  Consequently, although students appreciated the newer course information on educational programs and theory, they also wondered why more topics under the title of “communities” were not being covered.  Hence, by assessing SLO #3, the director of the certificate program in consultation with the instructor of AMST/EDCS 685 decided to formally support the shift in content by changing the course title and catalog description.

13) Use of Results/Program Modifications: State How the Program Used the Results --or-- Explain Planned Use of Results

State how the program used the results.

As a result of this evaluative process, a UHM-2 was submitted in Fall 2009 to 1)  request a title change for the course from “Museums and Communities” to “Museums and Education” and 2) request a change in the course description in the UHM catalog.

New course description:  “Overview of museum education including museum learning theories, informal learning programs, audience research, national and international policies and reports, and community projects.”

14) Reflect on the Assessment Process

Is there anything related to assessment procedures your program would do differently next time?  What went well?

When the Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program curriculum was first developed, the director of the program in consultation with an advisory team of museum professionals, mapped out a range of “current issues” to be covered in each of the three core classes.  Since then, as a result of assessing SLO #3, the director who teaches two of the core classes (AMST 683 and 684), and the instructor of AMST 685/EDCS 685, have determined that it is better to cover fewer topics but in more depth than originally planned.

Because of time constraints, the director of the certificate program could only initiate the review of one SLO during the past year.  The only thing that might change in the near future would be to assess more than one SLO for the next year at one time (e.g., #6 and #7). 

Working with the instructor of AMST/EDCS 685 to discuss the change in course title and catalog description went well. 

15) Other Important Information

None at this time.

16) FOR DISTANCE PROGRAMS ONLY: Explain how your program/department has adapted its assessment of student learning in the on-campus program to assess student learning in the distance education program.

17) FOR DISTANCE PROGRAMS ONLY: Summarize the actual student learning assessment results that compare the achievement of students in the on-campus program to students in the distance education program.