Unit: American Studies
Program: American Studies (MA)
Degree: Master's
Date: Thu Oct 13, 2011 - 3:43:35 pm

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

  1. ·        Broad knowledge of U.S. history, society, and culture.
  2. ·        Understanding of several key disciplinary methods to U.S. history, society, and culture.
  3. ·        Critical analysis and writing skills.
  4. ·        Independent research skills involving primary sources.

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

Department Website URL: http://www.hawaii.edu/amst/grad.htm
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: NA

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.

1. How well are we teaching students to write both short and longer essays?

2. How well are we preparing them to think critically in a variety of contexts?

3. How well are we mentoring student research and engagement with primary sources?

4. How well are we doing on student advising and mentoring through all stages of the program?

5. How efficiently are students moving through the program, what bottlenecks exist? 

6. Do students feel they are being properly prepared for each stage of the curriculum? 

In addtion to these assessment questions (from 2010 report), in AY 10-11 we also asked:

1. How can we restructure aid to maximize student progress?

2. How can we better prepare MA students to complete their theses or exams? (this adds specificity to questions 4 and 6 above, and incorporates our observation that the major bottleneck  [Q5] occurs at the thesis stage.) 

3. How can we improve job prospects for our MA's?

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.

We rely on the same sources of evidence listed in 2010 - i.e., Exit interviews, review of Syllabi, intake interviews with assigned faculty advisors and eCAFE evaluations. 

In addition, the Graduate chair met in fall 2011 with all incoming students, and faculty advisors submitted end of year reports based on their meetings and other communications with advisees. 

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

eCafe evaluations from all grad students (MA's and PhD's are not distinguished).

End of year reports (written and verbal) on MA students submitted by faculty advisors (9 advisors) 

Information provided by Jeff Tripp, Staff assistant to Grad Program.

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)
Other: Kathleen Sands (Grad Chair); Robert Perkinson (former Grad Chair), David Stannard (Dept. Chair), Jeff Tripp (Staff Assistant to Grad Program)

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.

As reported in Sept. 2010, we found in AY 09-10 that students want help conducting original research, and preparing for theses and exams.

In AY 10-11 we also addressed the need to expedite student progress toward the degree, provide better financial aid, and facilitate job placement post-degree.

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

To assist students in writing their thesis, In AY 10-11 we offered a workshop on thesis/dissertation writing.

To expedite completion of the MA program, we instituted yearly reports on student progress from faculty advisors. 

To assist students in preparing for exams and in learning to do original research, we  began to advise students to take two Directed Readings courses (AMST 699), one with each field advisor. (Our previous policy had limited the number of AMST 699's to one course - 3 credits). 

In addition, the ad hoc faculty committee is proposing the re-structuring of financial aid, so that the bulk of our allocated tuition waiver funds go to MA rather than to doctoral students. 

To facilitate post-degree job prospects, we are (a) creating, on an individual basis, a path to the MA that incorporates the Historic Preservation and Museum studies certificates, thus equipping graduates for jobs in these areas; (b) working with the College of Education and the DoE to ensure that AMST graduate courses can count toward the professional development of secondary educators who teach social studies in Hawaii public schools.

During AY 11-12, the ad hoc faculty committee (see  7 above) has formulated proposals that if accepted by the faculty, would make official the adjustments with which we experimented in AY 10-11: increasing the number of AMST 699's from one to two;  restructuring of financial aid to better support MA students, and the development of tracks or paths in the MA that are oriented toward secondary education, Historic Preservation, and Museum work. 

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.

In the spring of 2011, we observed that applicants for our graduate programs are becoming more concerned than ever before with the cost-benefit ratio of graduate work. This underscores for us the importance of our two central initiatives - increasing financial aid so that students incur less debt, and working with students to design their individual MA programs in ways that maximize their career opportunities. 

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.