Program: Political Science (PhD)
Date: Thu Nov 18, 2010 - 4:51:21 pm
1) Below are the program student learning outcomes submitted last year. Please add/delete/modify as needed.
We assume students who enter graduate level study have been given appropriate training in the fundamentals of the discipline and possess the qualities necessary to produce graduate-level work. From the admissions process on, students are assessed upon several important outcomes.
1. The ability to produce quality scholarship.
At the graduate level we anticipate that students will use their knowledge of the fundamentals of the discipline as well as the critical evolution of the discipline over time to help contribute to that field through their own research.
2. Mastery of one or more of the sub-fields offered in the major.
Our program offers subfields that form the specialization a graduate student will develop while enrolled in the program. We expect students graduating from the program to have mastered one or more of these subfields. Specifically, they should have an understanding of the traditional and critical literature of the subfield and be able to demonstrate a mastery of these fields.
3. Ability to think politically. Much like our expectations of the undergraduate majors, we require students to think politically about social phenomenon. 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. That no knowledge is innocent, but that all knowledge has consequences is key to this learning outcome.
2) As of last year, your program's SLOs were published as follows. Please update as needed.
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.
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.
Questions 5 through 15:
5. State the SLOs that was Assessed, Targeted, or Studied
Assessment of SLO #1 and #3 are ongoing during a graduate student’s tenure within the department. We begin this assessment at the admissions process. Unlike many programs who use the GRE as the method of screening students, the Political Science Department measures the possibility of success in graduate school through an evaluation of the writing sample required of all potential incoming students. These submissions are evaluated by the admissions committee based upon the ability the student demonstrates to do quality research, to pose a research question, to contribute to the discipline, to write clearly, and to illustrate an interest in the subject matter.
Upon entry into the program, each student is required to submit a progress report each academic year (see question 6). The faculty holds a series of department meetings where each student in the graduate program is discussed at length. Their progress and their strengths and weaknesses are subject to discussion.
SLO #2 is assessed either through the comprehensive exams, the dissertation process, and/or the master’s thesis. Those pursuing MA Plan B must participate in a culminating experience, often the publication of a paper in a peer-reviewed journal. All these are mechanisms for assessing student learning.
We have also developed a survey that will be administered to all graduate students in November of 2009. This survey will provide additional data for future assessment as well as insight into how the improve the program.
6. State the Assessment Question and/or Goal of Assessment Activity
We designed an alumni survey for general information regarding the program. One question was designed specifically to receive alumni feedback about their educational outcomes. The survey was sent to 80 alumni who graduted with a Ph.D. and 40 replied for a 50% response rate.
Specifically, we asked:
“The classes I took as a graduate student were helpful in preparing me for my current job.”
42% strongly agreed and another 27% agreed.
7. State the type(s) of evidence gathered
Assessment at the graduate level takes place regularly. There is an annual discussion among the faculty regarding the progress of each graduate student, her special needs, and her academic strengths. Graduate committees are the appropriate central organs of support, assessment, and mentoring of advanced graduate students. Nonetheless, the department has learned that a general discussion of student progress elicits a great deal of information about our graduate program, its strengths and weaknesses, and the general issues facing graduate students, especially in their earlier years in the program. It also offers an opportunity to address specific issues confronting some students and their committees, multiplying both the pedagogical ideas that can aid student progress.
We continue to require an annual self assessment by students. We have also developed an alumni survey as mentioned above.
8. State how the evidence was interpreted, evaluated, or analyized.
The department seeks to treat each student as a unique individual worth serious discussion. Thus, we engage in a highly qualitative approach that probes the strengths and weaknesses of a student based upon their classroom work across the department.
The survey data was reviewed based upon basic responses on a 5 point scale.
9. State how many pieces of evidence were collected.
Self-reports from graduate students.
Alumni survey results
10. Summarize the actual results
Our assessment process allows us to target students who seem to be falling behind in their program or students who have been struggling in certain areas. This process allows the graduate chair and the department chair to follow up with students. It also allows us to understand our student’s on an individualized basis instead as a number in a quantitative assessment report.
11. Briefly describe the distribution and discussion of results.
The department uses the results to think about the needs of each student involved.
12. Describe conclusions and discoveries
At this point, the department is seeking additional data about the program in the form of a survey and this data will help the department revise its curriculum accordingly.
13. Use of Results/Program Modifications: State how the program used the results or explain planned use of results.
At this time, the results of our last student assessment led us to believe that there are some problems in the comprehensive examination system, which is now under discussion for possible revision. Additionally, 9 other proposals to revise aspects of the graduate program are under review in the department.
14. Reflect on the Assessment Process
Our current assessment process gives us a detailed look at each of our graduate students. Furthermore, comprehensive examinations and culminating projects that are either dissertations, MA thesis, or culminating experiences also demonstrate that the students graduating from our program have met our SLOs.
15. Other important information
We have a new graduate chair who began in the Fall of 2009. She has begun revisions on the graduate student guide, has developed a survey for existing graduate students, is compiling contact information for alumni to distribute the first ever alumni survey, and is working on creating an exit interview procedure for current and future graduates of the program. These projects will help frame future assessment reports and provide a deeper level of understanding for the strengths and weaknesses of our students and the program.
6) State the type(s) of evidence gathered.
7) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected?
Ad hoc faculty group
Persons or organization outside the university
Advisors (in student support services)
Students (graduate or undergraduate)
8) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence?
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)