Unit: Cell & Molecular Biology
Program: Cell & Molecular Biology (MS)
Degree: Master's
Date: Fri Oct 02, 2009 - 8:36:07 am

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

1.Sufficient breadth and depth of knowledge to assume responsibility for teaching classes in Cell and Molecular Biology at least at the undergraduate level, and teaching experience in these and related topics; 

2.Knowledge of the process of research, including: familiarity with techniques for searching the literature; principles of measurement; and practical experience in the design and conduct of scientific experiments, collection of data, and interpretation of data sufficient to enable them to interpret current literature, and to embark upon the next (doctoral) level of development as researchers;

3.Familiarity with the mechanics of scientific reporting sufficient to enable them to prepare a publication for a scholarly journal; 

4.Experience with oral presentation of material sufficient to enable them to prepare and deliver reports on their work at seminars or meetings of scientific societies; 

5. A degree of understanding and scientific maturity sufficient to enable them to assess the work of others; 6.An understanding of the administrative procedures common to academic departments.

2) Where are your program's SLOs published?

Department Website URL: http://www.hawaii.edu/graduatestudies/fields/html/departments/cd/cmb/htm
Student Handbook. URL, if available online: NA
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online:
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: NA
Other: portions distributed to prospective applicants by e-mail

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

All 6 SLOs listed in question 1 were assessed.

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

The goal of the continuous assessment acitivty of the Cell and Molecular Biology Department is to intercept any student with deficiences and to remediate those deficiencies.

7) State the Type(s) of Evidence Gathered

        A. Written examinations include midterm and final exams in the Fall and Spring semesters for the core course, CMB 621-622, Cell Molecular Biology, that is required of all first year Ph.D. students, and written qualifying exams given in the fall of the second year to all Ph.D. students. Exam questions are written and graded by a cross-section of the CMB graduate faculty for both the CMB course and qualifying exam, and results tabulated by the graduate program administrator. Written exams are the main basis for grades in our courses.  These are constructed, as much as possible, using questions with which we have prior experience.  They are intended to define a minimal competence in the subject matter of each course.  Together with other behaviors defined by the instructor (class participation, reviewing a classic or recent paper, literature review paper, etc.) they form the basis for the course grade.                        
        B. Literature review papers are part of the evaluation scheme in some courses.  They are intended to exercise literature search techniques, critical thinking, and expository writing skills.  They are evaluated for these attributes by the faculty who teach the subject matter of the paper.                                                                                    
        C. The integrative course, Cell and Molecular Biology, uses essay exams to test students’ ability to explain interrelationships between organ systems in the context of a global stressor (exercise), or to explain why certain phenomena are important to homeostasis in this context.

        D. The Qualifying and Comprehensive Exams are essay exams, in which time limitations on the amount of knowledge one can demonstrate are minimal.  These are intended to test depth of knowledge in several areas of Cell and Molecular Biology and supporting biological sciences.  They are evaluated by the faculty who delivered the corresponding content and wrote the questions.

        E. Presentations at Scientific Meetings

        F. Peer-reviewed publications 

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

Faculty in the Cell and Molecular Biology Program assess student learning on a continuous basis.

All our programs have a "culminating experience". These are: For Plan A MS students, the masters degree thesis; for Plan B MS students, the plan B paper(which is either an indepth literature review, or the literature review, problem definition and experimental design for a research project).

These culminating experiences are the basis for judging the attainment of research expertise, and the acquisition of scientific maturity.  Each paper/thesis is reviewed by a faculty committee chosen for background in the relevant subject matter. To the extent that deficiencies are identified in the studnent's product, remediation of those deficiencies becomes an opportunity for further, focused, development of the student. 

9) State How Many Pieces of Evidence Were Collected

1. Course exams

2. Qualifying Exams

3. Comprehensive exams

4. Reports on laboratory work

5. Publications of work

6. Conferences and scientific meetings attended

7. Oral presentations in seminars, journal clubs and sceintific meetings  

8. Oral defense of Thesis

10) Summarize the Actual Results

All MS students are expected to pass the qualifying exam in their second year.  In the past three years, 95% of the students passed the exam.

All students must pass course exams with at least a "B" grade.  All have done so in the 2008-2009 period.

The results of other pieces of evidence listed in question #9 are evaluated on an individualized basis.  There have been no unacceptable performances from MS students in the 2008-2009 period.

The majority of MS students (98%)  meet all SLOs and graduate within 3 years of starting the program.

11) Briefly Describe the Distribution and Discussion of Results

The Cell and Molecular Biology Program assesses student progress regularly.  The committee also assesses student's learning relative to courses exams, publications and presentations.

When a problem is identified, the Cell and Molecular Biology Chair, the Cell and Molecular Biology Education Committee and student's academic advisor discuss the issue. A brief report generalizing the student performance is then presented at a faculty meeting.

Recommendations are made to the chair of the program and usually implemented.

12) Describe Conclusions and Discoveries

For the 2008-2009 period, there are no unaccceptable performances by students in the Cell and Moelcular Biology MS Program.

It was discovered in assessing SLO1, knowledge, and SLO3, research, that students need additional training in biostatastics.

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

To upgrade our curriculum, the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Curriculum Committee and the Student Advisory and Development Committee are working on creating a biostatistics course and also identifying other ways to integrate biostatistics training into the curriculum for all students.

14) Reflect on the Assessment Process

At least one assessment training meeting should be held at the John A. Burns School of Medicine in Kaka'ako.

Some additional financial compensation should be awarded to the program administrator and the chair due to the amount of time that must be committed to the assessment procedures required for our large interdisciplinary graduate program.

15) Other Important Information


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.