Unit: Political Science
Program: Political Science (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Thu Nov 18, 2010 - 1:57:19 pm

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

1.Learn to think politically. Comprehending that all social, economic, and cultural processes are also political is a crucial learning outcome. That comprehension creates knowledgeable citizenry capable of acting on policy decisions and conduct. Students learn that the disciplinary boundaries that inform our comprehension of societal phenomena, while useful in engendering and accumulating knowledge, can also obscure the systemic connections at work across the societal networks and process. How these connections are structured as well as preserved is a function of politics. Politics organizes and condition life possibilities and choices for citizens. That no knowledge is innocent, but that all knowledge has consequences is key to the cognition of this learning outcome.
2. Make a good argument. Both political phenomena and scholarship generally require the capacity to reason well. To make a good political argument students need to learn to identify an argument, to distinguish strong and weak ways of making arguments, to analyze the arguments of others and to offer their own. Through the careful reading of important texts, scrutiny of available evidence, and teaching methods that exemplify good arguments and that engage students in the creation and testing of their own knowledge, the department emphasizes forms of expression key to academic excellence, participation in the public sphere, and lifelong learning.
3. Become critical of power. The study of power is a common interest across the discipline of political science. It is critical to the development of active citizens and lifelong learners. We expect our students to learn to identify the workings of power in various forms, including power in language, in institutions, and in daily life. The ability to analyze power effectively, to ask critical questions about authority and legitimacy, are central to a robust understanding of politics.
4. Communicate effectively in public settings. Learning to make a good argument and to think critically about power are key resources for effective public communication. Effective communication encompasses many types of media, including oral or written forms, electronic forms, visual or musical forms of expression. Our students will learn to speak and write clearly and effectively in a variety of social settings, including classrooms, informal groups, formal public presentations, published essays, fiction, letters to the editor, electronic discussions, and others.
5. Develop knowledge of fundamentals in political science. For the aforementioned SLOs to be cultivated and achieved, our students are systematically exposed to a range of seminal knowledge fundamental to political science. While all subfields, such as political theory and International relations, have their historically accumulated core knowledge base, they also rely on and transmit literatures common to their endeavor. UH Political Science Department’s “critical” disposition” acquires it depth and breath along with or in the company of, such seminal or fundamental knowledges. Its contributions to political science flows from a commitment to equipping undergraduate students with the knowledge regarding the discipline across history and geography.

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

Department Website URL: http://www.politicalscience.hawaii.edu/undergraduate-program.html
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.

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.

We are a critical political science faculty that treat the “field” of political science, hence the Canon, as always evolving. Because we see the political in numerous phenomena, many of which have not been developed by political science (viz., indigenous politics, food politics, queer politics, politics of migration, and aesthetic politics) we have established a unique but small set of learning outcomes that are extended across our curriculum

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

Questions 6 through 12. Political Science SLOs are assessed as part of capstone experience, class performance, student evaluation of instructional activities as well as periodic surveys of undergraduate students. At the undergraduate levels, our assessment programs are written into our disciplinary major. Each major is expected to complete a capstone experience, and we have several from which students choose. While this diversity does not permit a simple comparison of outcomes (i.e., some students write a thesis, some take a senior seminar, while others teach an undergraduate course), it does provide us with some interesting data on how students see their own work progressing and it does provide several groups of similarly situated seniors whose work can be analyzed for familiarity with the discipline. Since political science is never or only infrequently taught prior to the university, we asume little or no theoretical knowledge for beginning majors. The few students who have completed a thesis in our department often reveal remarkable facility with theoretical models and empirical work, but this is not surprising as this is an option that our best students seem to choose. Senior seminars provide a more directly comparative subset of students, and for the most part these students still reveal some difficulties with writing that has encouraged us to sponsor more writing intensive courses in political science.

In-class assessment takes place through examinations, class reports, presentations, and written work. Faculty performs assessment tasks while keeping in mind the SLOs. Student evolutions are mandatory and results examined by the department chair in consultation with the faculty. Following the consultation process, specific instructional development programs are designed and implemented as necessary. Last, we run surveys among undergraduate students with questions that aim to measure both objective and qualitative data. The qualitative data strive to capture if and how political and critical thinking are or not facilitated in the classes. Whether students feel they were given opportunities to develop skills for making a good argument and communicating it effectively. At the quantitative side, the survey is designed to assess class availability and expected and actual graduation timelines. We are administering a survey in November 2009.

The table below summarizes our experiences with the capstone.

Spring 2004
401 Teaching 402 Legislative Interns: 18 students, All excelled
403 Community Interns: 12 students, Grades from A+ to B+
406- Senior Seminar: 14 students, Two students failed to complete. All others excelled.

Fall 2004
401 Teaching 402 Legislative Interns: 5 students All excelled,
403 Community Interns: 21 students. Grades from A+ to B+; one student failed
406 Senior Seminar: 15 students, B average among students

Spring 2005
401 Teaching 402 Legislative Interns: 7 students; All excelled
403 Community Interns: 12 students Most excelled; one C
406 Senior Seminar: 14 students; A’s and B’s

Fall 2005
401 Teaching 402 Legislative Interns: 10 students; All excelled
403 Community Interns: 13 students; most excelled, one B-
406 Senior Seminar: 14 students; A’s and B’s

Spring 2006
401 Teaching 402 Legislative Interns: 15 students; All excelled
403 Community Interns: 13 students; Grades A to b-
406 Senior Seminar: 20 students; most excelled; 21 students, B average

Fall 2006
401 Teaching 402 Legislative Interns: 16 students; All excelled
403 Community Interns: 23 Students; most excelled, 2 failed to complete
406 Senior Seminar: 19 students; B average

Spring 2007
401 Teaching 402 Legislative Interns: 5 students; Grades A to B
403 Community Interns: 11 students; Grades from A to B and two students failed
406-Senior Seminar: 18 Students; B average

Fall 2007
401 Teaching 402 Legislative Interns:9 Students, All excelled
Community Interns: 11 students; grades from A to B
406-Senior Seminar: 15 students; B average

Spring 2008
401 Teaching 402 Legislative Interns:6 students; all excelled
403Community Interns: 6 students; Grades a to b+
406-Senior Seminar: 13 students; grades from A to B-22 students, B average

Fall 2008
401 Teaching 402 Legislative Interns: 9 Students, All excelled
403 Community Interns: 19 students; All but one excelled
406 Senior Seminar: 12 students; B + average

Spring 2008

401 Teaching Political Science, 3 All excelled

402 Legislative Interns: 15 Students, All excelled
403 Community Interns: 16 students; 15 Excelled, one student failed to complete
406 Senior Seminar: 23 students; Most excelled, 6 B, one student failed to complet

Fall 2009
402 Legislative Interns: 15 Students, All excelled
403 Community Interns: 16 students; 15 Excelled, one student failed to complete

406 Senior Seminar: 25 stduenst; 13 excelled

Spring 2010

401, Teaching Political Science, 8 All excelled

402 Legislative Interns: 15 Students, All excelled

403 Community Interns: 22 students; All excelled

406 Senior Seminar: 22 students; Most excelled, 8 B

We remain committed to assessment. This can be seen in our renewed efforts to administer comprehensive surveys at both undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, as teachers, we assess all the time; it is part of our professional knowledge and training and it is embodied in our collective practices as a faculty. The political science faculty meets regularly to talk about curriculum, to discuss student outcomes and to plan for future developments. These discussions provide the basis for curriculum updates. We undertook a comprehensive undergarduate survey in December 2009. 105 students responded to the survey designed to assess overall staisfcation with the program as well as specific areas of learing oputcomes. Overall, the student reposens indicated high degree of satisfcation with teh program.

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.

10) Summarize the actual results.

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

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: