Unit: American Studies
Program: American Studies (PhD)
Degree: Doctorate
Date: Thu Oct 13, 2011 - 3:41:10 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 advanced writing skills.
  4. ·        Mastery of two fields of the student’s specialization, plus broad knowledge of the history of American Studies as a field.
  5. ·        Pedagogical skills and experience for college-level teaching.
  6. ·        Advanced research skills necessary to complete a book-length project of original scholarship.

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
Other: Annual assessment reports, departmental reviews.

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.

Expediting student progress toward the degree by identifying and resolving bottlenecks.

Improving financial aid to doctoral students

Reducing the number while raising the caliber of our doctoral students.

Continuing to improve teacher training for doctoral students.

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.

Year-end advisor reports.

Student records (indicating progress or bottleneck).

Completed exams and dissertations.

Interviews of student applicants and incoming students by Grad Chair. 

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

All faculty advisors (9).

Records of all active doctoral students (42)

Self-report by doctoral students to faculty advisors and Grad Chair (number varies)

Staff assistant to Grad Program (1) 

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 (Graduate Chair); Robert Perkinson (former Grad. Chair); David Stannard (Dept. chair); Jeff Tripp (Staff Assistant to Graduate 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)
Other: Quantified doctoral students at different phases (coursework; preparing for qualifying exams and/or comprehensive exams, writing the dissertation.) Also reviewed cases of students at or approaching 7 year limit.

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

Upon review of student records and advisor reports, we discerned that the chief bottleneck occurs when students are preparing the prospectus or writing the dissertation.

Based on a survey of our doctoral students, we learned that students want closer advisement as they prepare for exams. They also want specific training in how to write the prospectus, and support/ feedback (both from faculty and from peers) during the writing process. 

Based on interviews of applicants by the Grad Chair, we learned that the inadequacy of our financial aid package dissuades many of the best applicants from accepting an offer of admission from us. 

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

Upon reviewing the situation of each doctoral student, the Graduate Chair worked directly with the student and his/her advisor to resolve bottlenecks.

The faculty offered a workshop on how to create a dissertation proposal.

Graduate Chair surveyed student interest in setting up writing groups for students at the ABD phase with affirmative response. Staff assistant (Jeff Tripp) assisted doctoral students in forming writing groups that are now in progress.

The ad hoc committee (see 7 above) developed a proposal for improving financial aid by providing doctoral students with four semesters of GAship beginning with their first semester.  We believe this plan will allow us immediately to improve the caliber of our doctoral students, while also meeting our goal of reducing the number of our doctoral students.  In the fall of 2011, this proposal will be presented to the entire AMST faculty and if approved will be implemented in AY 12-13.

To improve teacher training, we will continue to offer pertinent workshops and training sessions, in addition to the regular review of syllabi and supervision of teaching by the departmental curriculum committee. In fall of 2011 we already have offered a training session on the use of "Smartboards" and a separate workshop about teaching online courses.

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.

The changes under consideration for our doctoral program are meant to articulate with related changes under consideration for our MA program. (See MA assessment report). For the doctoral program, the goal is to reduce the number of doctoral students while increasing the caliber of the students and the funding we provide for them. For the MA program, the overall goal is to broaden the career opportunities generated by the degree and increase financial support relative to what we now provide. By providing GAships to doctoral students during their coursework, we free up the tuition waiver funds that previously were given to doctoral students and make more of these monies available to MA students.

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.