Unit: Interdisciplinary Studies
Program: Interdisciplinary Studies (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Fri Sep 24, 2010 - 3:25:03 pm

1) Below are the program student learning outcomes submitted last year. Please add/delete/modify as needed.

The Interdisciplinary Studies Program (IS) is primarily an advising unit: students work closely with IS academic advisers in designing a proposal, which is an admissions requirement. We believe that the strength of our program is the interdisciplinary nature of the major. By allowing students to design programs with an area or problem focus, we help students to think creatively and to learn how to look at issues and problems from interdisciplinary perspectives. They learn to compare, contrast or synthesize different perspectives as they undertake their course of study.


The educational objectives in terms of student learning outcomes for IS majors are the following:

  1. to acquire knowledge and understanding in students’ chosen interdisciplinary field of study
  2. to develop skills in exploring interdisciplinary relationships
  3. to be able to communicate clearly both orally and in writing
  4. to develop critical thinking skills
  5. to develop problem-solving skills for life-long learning
  6. to develop skills of comparing, contrasting, differentiating, and synthesizing a variety of perspectives
  7. to develop an ability to follow problems across disciplinary boundaries.

NOTE: Question 4 below is not applicable. The IS Program offers only two courses per semester as it is a primarily academic advising unit. These courses are explicitly interdisciplinary in their conception and application, and they aim at developing critical thinking skills and interdisciplinary perspectives in students.

2) As of last year, your program's SLOs were published as follows. Please update as needed.

Department Website URL: http://www.hawaii.edu/is
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:

3) Below is the link to your program's curriculum map (if submitted in 2009). If it has changed or if we do not have your program's curriculum map, please upload it as a PDF.

No map submitted.

4) The percentage of courses in 2009 that had course SLOs explicitly stated on the syllabus, a website, or other publicly available document is indicated below. Please update as needed.


5) State the assessment question(s) and/or goals of the assessment activity. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.

In this year’s assessment report, we have reviewed the results of our 2010 Exit Survey of Graduating Seniors. In addition, we have discussed the assessment of students’ IS proposals.

Some of the goals of the 2010 Exit Survey were to find out:

         How useful was the academic preparation for their present or future career goals?

         What was the IS students’ level of satisfaction with the learning experience?

6) State the type(s) of evidence gathered.

Evidence gathered 2010

1)      perceptions by current students using a questionnaire consisting of 12 Likert-scale questions and 12 short-answer questions  

Evidence gathered—Ongoing

Students’ IS proposals (each student must submit a detailed proposal containing a narrative statement and course plan)

7) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected?

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)

8) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence?

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)

9) State how many persons submitted evidence that was evaluated.
If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

Exit Surveys

37 graduating seniors completed the survey.

IS proposal review & monitoring  (ongoing assessment)

Each prospective IS major submits an IS proposal before he/she can officially declare IS as a major. IS has 217 declared majors (Fall 2010). Student progress is then monitored throughout their IS degree.

10) Summarize the actual results.

2010 Exit Survey results

·        Nearly 92% of graduating seniors agreed (7 and above on a 9-point Likert-scale) that the Interdisciplinary Studies Program developed problem-solving skills for life-long learning. 

·        Over 94 % of graduating seniors recorded a score of 7 or above on a 9-point Likert-scale indicating that they felt the IS Program effectively helped them to open personal perspectives and assisted them in learning to value new viewpoints. 

·        Over 94% of graduating seniors recorded a a score of 8 or above on a 9-point Likert-scale indicating that as IS majors they were able to explore different academic perspectives.

·        Over 89% of graduating seniors in their global appraisal rated IS Program as good or excellent

 Qualitative Results 

IS proposal review & monitoring (ongoing assessment)

IS advising is critical to help students learn strategies to see connections between disciplines that encompass their interest. They learn to create an academically coherent interdisciplinary major, to use effective strategies in creating, revising, and editing a final proposal, and to acquire the basics of interdisciplinary thinking by choosing courses from different departments that help them develop an integrated perspective.

11) How did your program use the results? --or-- Explain planned use of results.
Please be specific.

The response by students in the 2010 Exit Survey (January-August 2010) was valuable both as a monitor of what aspects of the program needed attention as well as an indication of the success of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. As in our previous major assessment study, students commented on the benefits of their interdisciplinary programs. It helped them get a broader knowledge of many disciplines and thus prepared them better for their desired career goals.

Many students indicated that they would like the inclusion of a capstone course while a few felt that it would not be useful because student interests are so varied. A mandatory capstone course or a methods course in interdisciplinary thinking is still on the books, but will require extra resources for its realization.

12) Beyond the results, were there additional conclusions or discoveries? This can include insights about assessment procedures, teaching and learning, program aspects and so on.

We continue to strengthen our advising process by making interdisciplinarity an important aspect of our advising process so students are exposed to a variety of perspectives. We will also make better efforts at advertising our program so more students know about it in their junior year.

With our two-person staff, we have not been capable of generating and teaching the necessary interdisciplinary courses, for example a methods course in Interdisciplinary Studies or a capstone seminar course. Currently, we are only offering two courses per semester that deal with interdisciplinary themes.

13) Other important information: