Unit: Anthropology
Program: Anthropology (PhD)
Degree: Doctorate
Date: Fri Nov 19, 2010 - 2:56:40 pm

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

1. Gain in-depth knowledge of anthropological theory in major areas of literature pertinent to research interests
2. Acquire competence in advanced methods in a selected subfield of anthropological research
3. Gain an understanding of the ethical dimensions of community-based research
4. Acquire knowledge of research through the design and conduct of an original research project
5. Develop the skills to present and publish original research

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.

As in our MA program (see our 2010 MA report) the SLOs for the PhD program map onto a variety of central requirements, such as the comprehensive exams and the dissertation research and defense, rather than onto specific graduate courses.  In this way the graduate curriculum maps differ from the BA map.  One important requirement that presents problematic aspects of assessment identified by the department's graduate chair and the graduate faculty was the research proposal.  Of course, each research proposal is evaluated by the student's graduate committee on an individual basis, but we wanted to look at research proposal evaluation systematically to see if the procedures that govern the practice across individual cases might be producing a bias toward slippage between the requirement and the SLOs.

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

The department graduate chair initiated discussions with graduate faculty to explore the collective experience of the faculty with the research proposal defense and evaluation procedures.

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.

The information gathering and evaluation of collective experience included faculty who chaired and served on PhD committees and participated in proposal defenses on a routine basis.

10) Summarize the actual results.

The inquiry revealed two weaknesses in the research proposal production and defense procedures.  Because there is no specified time separation of the comprehensive exam and research proposal requirements, students are allowed to pursue both simultaneously, and research proposal and  comprehensive exam oral defenses can be scheduled to take place in the same two-hour session.  This kind of defense schedule has the effect of weakening importance given to the proposal and degrading the connection to the SLOs.  The other problem, not so frequent as the first  but one that continues to arise, is that students are allowed to schedule comprehensive exam and proposal defenses too close to departure dates for overseas field research. The fact of an imminent departure date and serious consequences of delay puts pressure on the student and the committee to give short shrift to correcting problems that are discovered in the proposal. 

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

The results of the inquiry have been used to support a reconsideration of the scheduling rules to protect the research proposal from lack of proper scrutiny that results from rushed evaluation or eliding reappraisal after deficiencies have been addressed.  Proposed rule changes include requiring that research proposals be defended in separately scheduled meetings, not combined with comprehensive exam defenses and requiring students to schedule defenses with adequate time for revisions to be made and evaluated before departure for field research. 

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.

Anthropological field research can never be precisely planned out in every detail, and almost invariably important changes are made to adapt to the reality of the field.  As anthropologists listen to and learn from the people they work with, they at times make radical changes in the goals and methods of the research. Nevertheless, a well designed and carefully detailed research plan and schedule, detailing research questions and methods of data collection and analysis is essential to the PhD student's success in the field.  The proposal provides a strong starting point and encourages swift engagement with the research situation.  For this reason the requirement and the SLOs associated with it need to be strongly supported by appropriate procedures.

13) Other important information:

Assessment activity can take the form of program review that identifies and corrects potential slippage between requirements and SLOs.