Unit: Economics
Program: Economics (MA)
Degree: Master's
Date: Thu Oct 13, 2011 - 4:45:57 pm

1) Below are your program student learning outcomes (SLOs). Please update as needed.

1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of economic theory and analytical and quantitative tools appropriate for applied analysis.  These quantitative tools include but are not limited to experience with programming in Stata and/or SAS as well as experience analyzing and interpreting programmed output.

2. Students will be able to understand, use, and analyze economic data.  

3. Students will demonstrate the ability to ask a well-formulated question, analyze the problem and draw reasoned policy conclusions.

4. Students will demonstrate the ability to write a professional report and present the results orally.

5. Students will be well prepared for a position in their field that directly uses their MA training or for admission to a professional program or Ph.D. program in their field.

2) Your program's SLOs are published as follows. Please update as needed.

Department Website URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/graduate/graduate.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:
Other: On the Dept's intranet website accessible to our faculty only

3) Below is the link(s) to your program's curriculum map(s). If we do not have your curriculum map, please upload it as a PDF.

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2011:

4) For your program, the percentage of courses that have course SLOs explicitly stated on the syllabus, a website, or other publicly available document is as follows. Please update as needed.


5) For the period June 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011: State the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goals. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.

SLOs 1-5 as listed in Question 1 above were assessed. Our entire faculty meets at least once every semester to discuss issues regarding our graduate program and consider proposals for improvements. The Graduate committee is constantly working on these issues. Specific questions for assessment include:  

A. Curriculum assessment: 

A1. Is the program effective in attracting perspective  MA students of high quality?

A2. Adequacy  of program offerings in view of the changes in the discipline of Economics, to meet SLO's 1-5 more effectively. Do courses and program offerings adjust to reflect new knowledge and/or changes in the needs of society? 

B Assessment of student performance and program success 

B1. Success in student performance in core and other courses

B2. Research output by MA students and graduates, such as participation in research projects with faculty, conference participation  and publications in scholarly outlets.  

B3. Placement of graduates.

6) State the type(s) of evidence gathered to answer the assessment question and/or meet the assessment goals that were given in Question #5.

The graduate committee and the entire faculty regularly consider the following evidence (using data from the STAR system, and internal department data collection):

1. The size of MA program and the number of graduates per year.

2. Application and rates to MA program in Economics,  and quality of applicants.

3. For current MA students, how many of them meet performance standards in core courses and beyond?

4. MA student involvement in research activities.

5. Placement of the  MA graduates.

6. Evidence on how the program offerings and course contents reflect the changes in the field of economics, through consideration of courses offered and course syllabi

7) State how many persons submitted evidence that was evaluated. If applicable, please include the sampling technique used.

The performance of each MA student is evaluated -- 100% of all MA students.

8) Who interpreted or analyzed the evidence that was collected? (Check all that apply.)

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)

9) How did they evaluate, analyze, or interpret the evidence? (Check all that apply.)

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)

10) For the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goal(s) stated in Question #5:
Summarize the actual results.

1. The graduate program continues to produce highly qualified MA recipients. The applications and enrollments have decreased in previous years, due in part to the decline in real dollar value of UHM graduate assistantships which have been frozen in nominal terms for more than five years, and to the decrease in the value of the East-West Center Awards. The Department has been taking steps to offer more competitive awards to the most qualified applicants and to increase our marketing efforts. Due to these efforts, In 2011, we observe an increase in the number of MA degrees awarded.

MA Degrees Awarded: Calendar Years 2004-2011
  Spring Summer Fall TOTAL
2004 2 0 6 8
2005 3 3 5 11
2006 3 2 3 8
2007 6 0 1 7
2008 3 2 2 7
2009 3 1 1 5
2010 3 0 1 4
2011 9 0 n/a 9


 2. Our department is very satisfied with the quality of the graduate students who are in the top tier of our applicant pool but we strongly desire to be more competitive in attracting these students to enroll here.  We often lose the best applicants because our Graduate Assistantship (GA) awards have not kept pace with the costs of living in Hawaii and mainland universities offer more generous funding. The East-West Center fellowships also have been substantially reduced in recent years in terms of stipends so these awards are less attractive to top applicants.  The students who do enroll in our graduate program generally are well-qualified in terms of their economics backgrounds and most are well-qualified in terms of their mathematics background.  We strongly encourage those who have weaker backgrounds to take coursework over the summer and to arrive on campus early to take a “mathematics for economists” review course that we offer to incoming students in August of each year during the pre-semester weeks.

3. In terms of curriculum assessment, to reflect the changes in the economics discipline in our MA curriculum, we have prompted changes in our core courses and in our field courses.  The content of the core coursework is evolving to cover the new empirical and theoretical methods. In the field courses, instructors typically add new readings every year to reflect the newest topics and methods in the field. 

4. Our Department has developed initiatives to get our graduate students involved in conducting research at an earlier stage in the program (i.e., in the field courses in their 2nd year) and in completing publishable-quality research. We also maintain an active Department seminar series with weekly seminars that include many visitors and have prompted the graduate students to run their own “brown bag seminar” series to encourage more research presentations by students. University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization employs several graduate students each year for their research projects in health economics, environmental economics and Hawaii economic forecasting. 

5. Placement of our MA graduates include: continuation into PhD program at UH and other academic institutions, government and private sector economics jobs. The job placement archive is available at the Economics web site.

11) State how the program used the results or plans to use the results. Please be specific.

The Economics MA program is maintaining it high quality MA program though continuous update of its curriculum, high research orientation and involvement of graduate students in research and outreach activities. 

The graduate economics programs need to improve their effort in effective recruiting of the most promising graduate students.

The following steps are being undertaken and are currently continuing to meet this objective:  

The Department’s Graduate Committee continues to update the new graduate program brochure and a colorful poster to use in our marketing efforts.  A copy of each was sent in the recruitment season for AY 2010-2011 with a cover letter to the chairs of major economics departments and abroad, mainly in the Asia-Pacific Rim.  Several of our faculty who traveled to conferences this fall took along multiple copies of the brochure to hand out during their trips.  In addition, the Graduate Chair annually encourages all Department faculty to join in the marketing effort by emailing colleagues at other universities to let them know of our active recruitment efforts, our program’s strengths and our funding opportunities for prospective graduate students.  Our Department’s website is also been extensively improved and updated so that prospective students can obtain a lot of relevant information—details on our program, funding opportunities for students, life in Honolulu, research interests of our faculty and the job placements of our recent graduates.

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.

Overall, the MA program is doing well and continues to produce high quality MA students and place them well.  Efforts should be taken to advertise the program better to increase student enrollment.

13) Other important information.
Please note: If the program did not engage in assessment, please explain. If the program created an assessment plan for next year, please give an overview.