Unit: American Studies
Program: American Studies (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Thu Oct 21, 2010 - 9:12:30 am

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

·      Upon completion of an AMST BA, all students should have acquired:

o   Substantial knowledge of American history, society, and culture, as well as a basic appreciation of different scholarly approaches to American Studies

o   Critical thinking skills necessary to analyze a variety of cultural artifacts (literature, primary documents, film, music, etc.), as well as historical and present-day sociopolitical issues.

o   Competence in scholarly writing and oral communication

o   Basic research skills, including advanced research skills in one area of specialization (majors only).

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

Department Website URL: NA
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: NA

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 2009:

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.

·      How well is the department designing student learning to help build student skills toward the senior capstone project?

o   Has the implementation of the new AMST 480 methods course improved the quality of student capstones and the rate of successful completions of student capstones?

o   Do the 100 and 200 level courses (which often serve as a pipeline into the major), and the 381-382 junior seminar series provide scaffolding for research and critical analysis skills needed for the 480-481 senior capstone series?

·      Are our courses aligned with program SLOs and outcomes? (continued study from 2009 assessment)

·      How well is the department preparing students for careers and schooling past the BA? (continued study from 2009 assessment)

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

q Senior capstone projects (every graduating student in AMST 481 works intensively with the instructor and one outside advisor in crafting their capstone projects. This course concentrates all of our SLOs (save content mastery covered by previous courses), and thus allows us to carefully evaluate the writing, research, and critical thinking abilities of each student as she or he exits the program)—70% sample pool for Spring 2010

q Syllabi of 100 and 200 level, 381 and 382 courses.

q Student interviews during advising appointments with Undergraduate Chair (anecdotal, but often recorded on STAR advisor notes)

q Course evaluations (department has standardized questions for all courses in CAFÉ)

q The undergraduate chair also conducts entry and exit interviews with every student, in which the department’s expectations and offerings, as well as the student’s experiences, are discussed.

q Final assessment/grades of select courses (150, 200-level, 381/382, 481)

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.

5 faculty, 4 GAs and 10 graduating seniors submitted evidence to be evaluated.

·      10 capstone projects for Spring 2010

·      10 exit questionnaires for Spring 2010, supplemented by 10 exit interviews conducted for Spring 2010

·      syllabi from some 200-, 300- and 400-level courses

·      summaries of Café course evaluations for required and upper-division courses

10) Summarize the actual results.

q How well is the department designing student learning to help build student skills toward the senior capstone project? 

o   Has the implementation of the new AMST 480 methods course improved the quality of student capstones and the rate of successful completions of student capstones? 

                q  87.5% of our students have successfully completed the capstone project as of the beginning of Fall 2010.

                q  The last time the course was taught, in Spring of 2008, 1 student failed the course and had to repeat (he has since graduated), and 6 out of 14 students (42.9% completed their projects on time).

                q  Of the 16 students who took the 481 course in Spring 2010, 12 completed the project on time (75%), 2 have since completed the project (raising the completion rate to 87.5%), and 2 more have indicated that they will complete the project before the Incomplete deadline.

                q  From the course evaluations of the 480 and 481 courses, it was clear that the implementation of the 480 methods course was good preparation for the 481 capstone course.

o   Do the 100 and 200 level courses (which often serve as a pipeline into the major), and the 381-382 junior seminar series provide scaffolding for research and critical analysis skills needed for the 480-481 senior capstone series?

                q  In reviewing the syllabi for these courses, it was not clear that they designed assignments that consistently and consciously introduced and reinforced the all the skills needed for successful completion of the 480-481 series.

                q  Critical reading, analysis and writing skills were emphasized, as well as attention to content in American history, politics, society and culture.

                q  Needed more articulation in terms of introducing original research skills and methods as part of assignments in these early courses.

q Are students prepared when they enter our 300 and 400 level courses?

o   Course evaluations indicated students feel they are able to handle the content and analysis of our courses

o   Evaluation of grade distributions in our 300 and 400 level courses show that at least 80% of students receive a C or better in these courses. Most are in the B range, with percentages differing in each class.

q Are our courses aligned with program SLOs and outcomes?

o   A majority of our upper division courses include W/O foci to work on oral/written communication

o   A majority of our upper-division courses include focus on content/scaffolding for more advanced courses

o   More guidance could be given to students to deliberately build a course plan that helps them with depth and breadth in preparation for capstone project.

q How well is the department preparing students for careers and schooling past the BA?

o   AMST 499 courses are being encouraged to allow students to acquire appropriate internship experience (e.g.: media, non-profit work in environment NGOs, political internships) by designing their own course in consultation with the major advisor.

o   In AMST 481, the instructor has been encouraging students to conduct an independent, original research project in an area related to a possible career choice.

                q  One of our current graduates who is now in law school did his project on HB 444

                q  One of our current graduates who is preparing for a career in education did his project on Hawai‘i history curriculum.

o   There has only been 1 year of exit interviews available for examination, so this is difficult to assess: exit interviews suggest that the department could do more to introduce students to possible career paths, as well as follow up on them in the short-term to assess how their undergraduate preparation helped them in their career paths.

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

Assessment Coordinator for undergraduate program (who is also the Undergraduate Chair and the Curriculum Committee Chair) reviewed the data and called a meeting of Curriculum Committee to review concerns about articulation of courses, support for 480-481 series, and career preparation. Curriculum committee is also undergoing a review of 200 level courses in order to determine mentorship of graduate student instructors. 

q Students have responded very well to the addition of the 480 course (methods) to prepare them for the 481 (capstone/thesis). There has been a marked improvement in completion rates and quality of work turned in. The department will continue to track this over the next few years.

q From the AMST 480 course: it looks like students entering the 480 course are not consistently prepared in terms of thinking in advance about their research project, and strategically taking courses to prepare them both methodologically and content-wise for this project. The department needs a more regular check with undergrads to determine how they are designing their learning journey.

q Insufficient data to determine course articulation from 100 to 300 level. 200-level courses taught by the department’s GAs are a particular concern and will be reviewed more rigorously by the department’s curriculum committee during AY 2010-2011.

q Insufficient data this year regarding career mentorship and support. Need to track and continue to collect anecdotal and statistical data (both difficult because of lack of current contact information as well as no administrative assistance for this task).

q Second year of 480-481 series being taught by the same instructor. After this year, will be able to assess the success of implementing the 480 methods course, but short-term data (including anecdotal) suggests that this was a positive step.

q The department now practices mandatory advising for all its majors, which will ensure at least a once-a-semester check on all its students.

q The curriculum committee will be meeting this Fall to review course articulation to assure a more consistent training in terms of research skills introduction in lower-level courses (e.g.: for 200 level courses, a certain type of research assignment must be part of the course requirements, etc.). More support and review for GAs teaching the 200 level courses will also be considered and likely implemented.

q The undergraduate program will be launching a coffee-hour/career brown-bag series this fall to encourage undergraduates to think about their careers and to learn where/how to access information that will help support their career search.

q Exit interviews will continue to be collected.

q A Facebook site for our current students and alumni has been launched, and our department website is currently being revised to make it more friendly for alumni connection.

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.

*These remain the same from 2009 assessment process.

q Faculty need to know prior to the start of the semester which assignments will be collected for program assessment. That way, they can add that to their syllabus or assignment guidelines so students are appropriately informed.

q Need to address same questions more consistently over time to fine-tune the department’s offerings, ability to serve student needs

q Department needs to institute rubrics for assessing student work in a more standardized way and to assess the potential of student portfolios as a way to track student progress over time. 

13) Other important information: