Unit: Geography and Environment
Program: Geography (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Fri Nov 20, 2020 - 1:38:57 pm

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

1. Develop a basic understanding of the discipline of geography as a whole, its relationship with cognate fields, and its contribution to knowledge. This entails a working knowledge of the general literature in geography, and familiarity with the structure of the discipline, including the principal sub-disciplines, the main philosophical approaches and unique geographical concepts.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 1c. Understand Hawaiian culture and history, 3b. Respect for people and cultures, in particular Hawaiian culture, 3c. Stewardship of the natural environment)

2. Develop a detailed understanding of at least one specialty within the discipline. This entails thorough knowledge of a particular literature, its major works, its historical development and its main theories and empirical findings.

(1a. General education, 2a. Think critically and creatively, 2b. Conduct research)

3. Develop an ability to do independent research of professional quality. This requires gaining theoretical and practical knowledge of specific research techniques and demonstrating this knowledge in the conduct of original research.

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

4. Develop an ability to communicate the results of research in both oral and written forms. This requires the demonstration of skills in oral presentations and formal papers within the context of graduate course work. The thesis ultimately provides evidence of the ability to write up research and, although a formal presentation and defense is not required, students are strongly encouraged to present their work orally to the department.

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

5. Develop a familiarity with, and respect for the codes of practice established for academic study, including academic honesty and research ethics (as outlined in the Appendix of the UHM General Graduate and Information Catalog [www.catalog.hawaii.edu/pdf] and the Student Conduct Code in the Schedule of Courses ). All students are expected to conform with these codes of conduct.

(1b. Specialized study in an academic field, 1c. Understand Hawaiian culture and history, 2c. Communicate and report, 3a. Continuous learning and personal growth, 3b. Respect for people and cultures, in particular Hawaiian culture)

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

Department Website URL: http://geography.manoa.hawaii.edu/student-learning-objectives/
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) Please review, add, replace, or delete the existing curriculum map.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2020:

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 November 1, 2018 and October 31, 2020?

No (skip to question 17)

7) What best describes the program-level learning assessment activities that took place for the period November 1, 2018 and October 31, 2020? (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 other pressing issue related to student learning achievement for the program (explain in question 8)

8) Briefly explain the assessment activities that took place since November 2018.

Students have been assessed and also conducted self assessment reports during our capstone undergraduate seminar course in Spring 2019 and Spring 2020. This anonymous assessment has been revamped and expanded over the last five years, and now provides increasingly comprehensive feedback from our majors.

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.

We survey our graduating majors enrolled in our mandatory GEO493 Capstone Undergraduate Seminar every semester. Enrollment is typically 15-25 students. The evaluated evidence used here is based on several years of data, and about 100 students. We use anonymous surveys implemented online (Qualtrics Survey Software) and continue to refine our assessment which currently consists of 50 questions.

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 from the evaluation, analysis, interpretation of evidence (checked in question 12). For example, report the percentage of students who achieved each SLO.

Our goal in the Department of Geography and Environment is to continue to graduate students with both a high level of educational knowledge as well as a high level skillset for entry into citizenship, the work force, and graduate-level education. Our continuing assessment of our students, particularly the insights we gained from our recent Five-Year Assessment, pointed to a series of success. In particular, our students self-report high confidence in the ability to integrate knowledge at the intersection of humans and the environment together with geospatial information (87% positive), and to communicate orally (84% positive) and in writing (74%) which speaks to the development of critical thinking skills. We use this information to reinforce our instructional and mentoring success on this front. For example, our faculty have in the past and are continuing to commit the extra effort needed for a large number of writing-intensive and oral-intensive classes we offer. This is paying off for our students.

Our assessment has also identified areas for improvement. While the majority of our students (58%) report proficiency in quantitative data methods for geographic inquiry, we have begun to implement changes to our program in response. For example, our quantitative methods class (GEO380) has been revamped since 2018 to increase competence and to also better fit the needs of our majors. Related to improving quantitative methods literacy, we have created since 2018 the Undergraduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Science (GIS Certificate). This has been requested by our students for a few years, and in 2020 we proudly awarded our first recipients and the Certificate enrollment has been growing faster than our expectations, owing in part to enthusiastic reception in other units across UH Manoa campus. Our five-year review also revealed that a minority of our graduates (24%) worked with faculty on research projects. While this number is certainly not terrible and reflects the most capable and ambitious students (and investment of spread-to-thin faculty of diminishing numbers) we plan to expand these research opportunities. For example, our faculty have a significant track record with mentoring students in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, and we have been expanding our activities with this program. In addition, the GIS Certificate has baked-in research opportunities in that it requires GEO492 Practicum in Geography where students apply there GIS skills, often with our faculty in application to research questions. Going forward, we hope to offer more opportunities with GEO490 Senior Thesis and GEO499 Directed Research.


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 its findings/results.

Creation of the new Undergraduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Science (GIS Certificate). This program is brand new but already successful and popular across campus.

Continued effort by faculty to offer W- and O-focus courses.

Expanding opportunities to gain proficiency in quantitative data methods including courses GEO380 Statistical Methods in Geography, and the GIS Certificate (see below).

Expanding research opportunities for GEO majors through the GIS Certificate and several classes including GEO492 Practicum in Geography, GEO490 Senior Thesis, and GEO499 Directed Research.

Continued excellence in human geography curriculum and research opportunities.

Celebrating  the success of our majors during our end-of-year Symposium and the presentation of their capstone projects, including the recipients of our GIS Certificate.

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.

None at this time. We will be continuing and expanding our assessment activities into 2021.

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