Unit: Pacific Islands Studies
Program: Pacific Islands Studies (MA)
Degree: Master's
Date: Tue Oct 18, 2011 - 2:38:58 pm

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

 Graduate student learning outcomes

A. MA in Pacific Islands Studies

1.1 Students can discuss Pacific Studies as an organized, interdisciplinary field of study that includes indigenous epistemologies and perspectives.

1.2 Students can demonstrate a wide range of historical, geographic, and cultural knowledge about Oceania

1.3 Students can analyze contemporary conceptual, political, cultural, and ethical issues confronting students of Oceanic societies.

1.4 Students can analyze a specialized aspect of the history, culture, politics, or international relations of one or more of the island societies of Oceania.

1.5 Students can engage in culturally sensitive research and collaboration with Pacific Islander communities. 

B. Certificate in Pacific Islands Studies

1.1 Students can demonstrate a wide range of historical, geographic, and cultural knowledge about Oceania

1.2 Students can demonstrate expertise in a Pacific-related specialty area relevant to the student’s research focus in another graduate program.

1.3 Students can analyze contemporary conceptual, political, cultural, and ethical issues confronting students of Oceanic societies.  

2) Your program's SLOs are 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: http://www.hawaii.edu/cpis/psi/index.html (some, not all courses)

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. Upon exiting the MA program are students able to ‘analyze contemporary conceptual, political, cultural, and ethical issues confronting students of Oceanic societies’? (SLO3)

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.

  1. Comprehensive exams, students’ theses and portfolio projects, and embedded questions in class assignments.

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

  1. Comprehensive exams, 100%:  8 taken in fall 2010; Theses and portfolios: 100%:  6 in spring and summer 2011; Embedded assignments, 20%: 5 of 25 in PACS 601.

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. Student analysis of contemporary issues is quite strong in the context of specific islands/peoples. The MA Written Examination (comprehensive exam) asks candidates to write one essay that specifically addresses these issues. Two of the 8 candidates wrote excellent responses in this part of the exam, two provided answers that were judged to be very good, and a further two responses were adequate. Two students did not perform so well and were asked to do a make-up exercise. All of the students that completed theses or portfolios in the review period displayed an adequate grasp of these issues, with two excelling in this respect.

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

MA students are proficient in analyzing contemporary issues in specific and regional contexts as evidenced in comprehensive exams and in theses and portfolio projects. We will continue to emphasize and analyze the conceptual, political, cultural, and ethical issues facing students of the region in our MA curriculum and assignments. These issues are addressed explicitly in the introductory graduate seminar, PACS 601, and students write an essay about them as one of the assignments for the course. The MA Written Examination (usually taken at the end of the second semester in residence) probes students’ grasp of the issues. Finally, MA committees insist that these aspects are adequately addressed in the thesis or portfolio project.

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.

As the “assessment coordinator” in a center with only 3.25 full time teaching faculty at the moment (one colleague has taken leave for 2 years), I have learned over the past year that assessment will only happen if one faculty person suggests a process of assessment, and actively encourages others to embed and archive assessment tasks and student work, and then meet at designated times to evaluate student work.

This is very challenging since each of us serves on scholarship, admissions, thesis, and other committees, is actively involved in Center publications and outreach, and pursues individual scholarship.

Adding assessment into the familiar and already busy routines is sometimes viewed as an imposition, and with suspicion, even among a small staff, perhaps, particularly among a small staff. We could use some help brainstorming ways to integrate and regularize these tasks into our hectic schedules.

Although we did not get the information posted to our website this year, we intend to publish the MA and BA SLOs through a link on our website. We also will post sample PACS syllabi.

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.

We had limited assessment activities in the past year for many reasons, one prominent reason being a joint focus on the MA AND newly approved BA (Dec. 2010). Additionally, unanticipated faculty leave resulted in a shuffling of responsibilities and the Center’s projects and goals for the academic year.

Our/My assessment goal for 2011-2012 is to draft a comprehensive assessment plan and a collective design a procedure for regular, ongoing assessment in conjunction with curriculum committee meetings. We will seek the input and direction of the UHM Assessment Office.