Unit: Sociology
Program: Sociology (PhD)
Degree: Doctorate
Date: Sat Nov 20, 2010 - 4:20:27 pm

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

1. Know basic theories in the discipline of sociology and theories relevant to particular subfields.  Be able to apply relevant theoretical concepts to frame a research problem and to interpret the theoretical implications of a research project.

2. Know basic quantitative and qualitative methods of conducting research in sociology and the ethical standards required to protect human subjects of research.  Be able to write a formal research proposal according to the conventions of the discipline, apply relevant quantitative or qualitative methods (including statistics) to a particular research problem, analyze the results, and report research findings appropriately using the conventions of these methods.

3 . Acquire a professional level of knowledge in selected subfields of sociology in order to be equipped to teach a course on the subject or to develop a research proposal that will advance the field in this particular area.

4. Be able to carry out a research project that will contribute new knowledge to the field, using appropriate methods to conduct the research and analyze the results. This includes the ability to write up a well-organized and persuasive account of the research project for a professional audience, using the conventions of the discipline to present the research problem in context, articulate the reasons for the methods chosen and how they were implemented, present relevant data and analyze it appropriately, and articulate the significance and implications of the research for the advancement of the field. 

5. Be able to present research findings both orally in a professional presentation and through writing academic journal articles, following the conventions of the discipline.

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

Department Website URL:
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) 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.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2010:

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.

A. How each doctoral student was progressing rhough the program and meeting each benchmark. The program benchmarks are linked to the SLOs as shown the in curriculum map. They are achieved through a combination of coursework and other writing requirements in the doctoral program that are supervised by faculty committees.

B. How doctoral students in general are moving through the program and whether there are any points at which they seem to get stuck. This is measured through our Annual Review of all gradute students, in which the faculty collectively reviews each student's progress through the benchmarks and any problems are discussed.

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

A. We use the actual products of student performance in the program to assess learning outcomes, including satisfactory performance in graduate courses and completion of all the various writing requirements through which committees guide and evaluate the students. Although course performance provides the foundation, mastery at the doctoral level is evaluated through the student's performance on the various benchmarks of the program. For the Qualifying Review, student submit two papers first to their own guidance committee for recommendations for revision and then approval, and then to the departmental Qualifying Review committee, constituted each semester from students who are not on the student's own guidance committee. The QR committee also receives confidential written evaluations of the student's two papers from each member of the student's guidance committee. It uses a scoring rubric to evaluate the two papers and render a committee decisiion. The comprehensive exam process is overseen by the student's doctoral committee. It includes the student's preparation of readings lists in two fields under committee guidance, a one-week take-home written exam on three or four questions prepared by the committee, followed by an oral examination by the committee. The student then prepares a formal dissertation prospectus which must be revised until it meets committee approval. Following the research phase, the student submits the dissertation draft and revises it to committee satisfaction before participating in an oral defense of the dissertation. Hence the "evidence gathered" comprises all of the materials submitted for the various benchmarks, and the evaluation is represented by the commmittee's decision to pass the student on that particular benchmark.

B. We track each student's progress through the PhD program in our graduate student database, which records when they have formed a guidance committee, completed coursework, passed the qualifying review, formed a doctoral committee, passed the comprehensive exams, had their dissertation prospectus approved, received human subjects approval for research projects (including for independent research prior to the dissertation, passed the oral defense of the dissertation, completed the research paper submission for publication requirement, and submitted the dissertation to receive the degree.The database forms the basis for the Annual Review of all graduate students. The entire faculty looks at the progress against standard times when each benchmark should be completed, hears a brief report from the student's chair or advisor, and then votes on which letter (A=satisfactory progress, B=warning of deficiency; C= warning of serious deficiency and dismissal if not corrected by the next reivew; D=drop from the program). There is a variation of the letter reflecting each program benchmark and what we expect the student to accomplish in the next year (i.e., the next benchmark). The information available at the Annual Review includes everything in the database, including the previous annual review letters and any notes that were incorporated in those letters so the faculty make decisions with full knowledge of the students progress. After the Annual Review the database is updated with the results of the most recent review, as part of the process of producing formal letters that go to the student, with copies to the chaiir and the student's file).

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.

During the 2009-2010 academic year there were 49 students in the doctoral program, all of whom submitted evidence through the program that was evaluated in the various ways described above. No sampling techniques were used.The evidence evaluated depended on the student's stage in the program.

10) Summarize the actual results.

Of the 49 student in the doctoral program in the 2009-2010 academic year, six students were newly admitted to the doctoral program in 2009-2010 and were completing coursework but had not reached any of the higher benchmark levels. Four students passed the Qualify Review and were admitted to candidacy. One student failed the Qualifying Review twice and was dropped from the program with a terminal Plan B MA.

Eight students passed their comprehensive exams in 2009-2010, some of whom also had their dissertation prospectus approved. In all, seven students had their dissertation prospectus approved in 2009-2010 and are curently conducting research and writing their dissertations. Nine other students were already at the dissertation research and writing stage, most of whom are completing the degree in the 2010-2011 academic year. Four students completed the degree during the year after submitting dissertations that were evaluated and defending them orally.

All 49 doctoral students were evaluated in the Annual Review. Precise scores for those taking the Qualifying Review in the spring semester were delayed pending results of the review. No Annual Review letter was sent to the one student who was dismissed from the program after failing the QR twice. Of the remaining 48, 36 were making satisfactory progress and received A letters at the appropriate benchmark level; 8 were judged to be somewhat deficient and received B letters, while 4 were seriously deficient after a previous warning and received C letters. Subsequently one of the persons with a C letter withdrew from the program; while one at the B level completed the dissertation and graduated, and a second person passed comprehensive exams on the second try and thus was no longer deficient. The status of the remaining 9 will be evaluated in the 2011 Annual Review along with everyone else.

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

We use the results regularly to monitor graduate student performance, and the results demonstrate both that we are maintaining standards and that the program is working well. The faculty remain committed to the Annual Review, in addition to their close involvement in evaluating student progress through all the various program requirements.

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.


13) Other important information: