Unit: Sociology
Program: Sociology (MA)
Degree: Master's
Date: Mon Nov 14, 2011 - 10:32:15 pm

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

Student Learning Outcomes for the Plan MA Degree (draft): a. understanding of a broad range of sociological theories and methods, and commonly used statistical techniques b. ability to design a feasible research project to address a sociological problem or issue of theoretical interest c. understanding of principles of protection of human subjects and how to design sociological research that respects and protects human subjects. d. ability to carry out an independent research project to collect and analyze research data that addresses a sociological question e. ability to interpret research results in relation to sociological theory, to draw reasonable inferences, and to report research results and conclusions accurately and effectively.

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

Department Website URL:
Student Handbook. URL, if available online: There is a detailed handbook students receive, which will be posted on the new website.
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: will be when new department website is published
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: individual course syllabi are published in e-syllabi for CSS

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.

This is an advanced degree program, not a simple series of courses to be completed.to obtain a degree. We assess all MA students annually based on their progress through the program, which includes coursework, thesis proposal, thesis defense, and final thesis approval. The assessment goals are met through coursework and committee evaluation of each of the writing stages.  SLO A is measured by passing the required departmental core courses with a B or better;. SLO B is measured by successful approval of the MA thesis proposal. For SLO C, students receive Human Subjects certification in their graduate methods course and most also must obtain CHS approval for their thesis project. ; SLO D and E are evaluated through successful completion of the MA thesis and its defense...

Although the first SLO is initially evaluated through cooursework, it and all the remaining SLOs are evaluated at the mastery level through completion of the writing benchmarks of the program. In our MA program, students do not pass their graduate courses, do not have their thesis proposal accepted, and do not have the actual thesis successfully defended and approved for submission UNLESS their work meets the student learning objectives. The fact that students are passing their graduate courses, and are successfully producing very high quality MA theses (and that many are subsequently admitted to the doctoral program) is our evidence that they are meeting the SLOs.

We did not target any specific SLOs last year, because our purpose is to ensure that our graduate students have ALL the skills they need when they graduate and thus have met all the SLOs.

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.

Boht MA and PhD students are assessed annually at a closed faculty meeting that is mandatory for the full faculty. At that meeting we go through each student individually and see if they are meeting the program benchmarks satisfactorily. If there are any problems, they are discussed by the whole group, which then arrives at a decision about whether the student is progressing satisfactorily, needs a warning. or is likely to be dismissed if their performance does not improve. Students get a formal letter stating the results of the assessment and what the department expects the student will have achieved by the following year's assessment.

Completing our MA program depends on producing an MA thesis that meets the committee's expectations, which in turn measures whether the student has successfully formulated a research proposal to address a sociological question of interest with a feasible research plan, has obtained human subjects approval, has carried out, the research, and has been able to interpret the research results and write up the resaerch satisfactorily as a sociological anlaysis. Committees work closely with the students through this process, and the thesis generally requires substantial rewriting to meet standards that are as high as PhD standards in some other programs. The quality of the MA theses stands as the basic evidence that the students have met our student learning objectives.

Fourteen MA students were included in the annual review in March 2011.. Seven were at the initial coursework stage and six were judged as making satisfactory progress with one getting a warning. Seven were at the thesis stage, with five judged to be making satisfactory progress and two receiving warnings. Four of those students completed the MA thesis an graduated during the review period. Two more have completed the MA and will graduate in Fall 2011. Three of those studentgs were subsequently admitted into the sociology doctoral program with the full support of their MA committees. One student who received a warning completed his MA this fall, and two others are nearing completion. Two more students who were in their first year in 2010-2011 have since had their thesis propsoal approved, have obtained human subjects clearance. Both have completed their resaerch and are now writing their theses, and both hope to transfer into the doctoral program. as soon as they complete their MA theses. One of those who completed the MA last spring and returned home to Japan is now writing a book in Japanese based on her MA thesis and applying to a doctoral program in Japan.

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

ALL fourteen students in the MA program was evaluated in the annual review. Eight produced either a thesis proposal or an actual MA thesis that was evaluated by their commmittee and passed, and four of those had the thesis approved and completed the program before September 30, 2011, with two more finishing this fall. Five were not at the thesis proposal stage as they had only recently entered the program, and one had already had the thesis proposal and haman subjects approval prior to the 2011 review and was doing the thesis research. The final student is a doctoral student in another department getting a concurrent Plan B MA in Sociology (his thrid MA). He received a warning about slow progress and is completing his Plan B paper this fall.

We do not sample because all of our MA students are continually being evaluated through their academic products. We do not use surveys or other simplistic methods to evaluate our graduate students. Instead, we work closely with them on their own research projects until they achieve the desired mastery of all the necessary learning objectives.

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)
Other: approval of thesis and thesis defense after critique of earlier drafts

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

I've already coveered this in the previous questions.

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

We are pleased with the quality of work being produced by our MA students and we plan to continue working closely with our students to maintain that quality. We firmly believe that our annual review catches problems early and keeps students on track to meet program goals. Although our MA program was originally designed as a separate track that did NOT lead to the PhD, we have admitted four students from this group of 14 into our doctoral program, which is evidence of the high quality of work they have produced. We will continue to accepted some MA students into the PhD program if they have demonstrated that they can produce the level of work we expect of doctoral students. Succeeding in the heavy research demands of our MA program also raises the aspirations of some students who had not previously considered going on for a PhD.

Although students continue to apply directly to our doctoral program, we now regularly tell some of those students (usually two or three each year) that will will only accept them into the MA program, and if they do well there, they may be able to transfer into the PhD program upon completion of their MA thesis. This reduces the risk for us of admitting an unprepared student into the doctoral program.

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.

We admit a wide range of students to our MA program, and the majority are foreign students from Asia who are new to the American educational system. We believe in open access and then helping  each student reach his or her potential through hands on research under faculty supervision. We are constantly learning from our intensive work with graduate students, and it of course feeds back into our teaching and learning. We maintain this level of involvement with students because we see them grow, and draw our own satisfaction from their successes. New faculty are socialized into the department's hands-on methods through paricipation in the annual review and service on student committees. Students learn through their courses and their interactions with other graduate students which students they want to work with. Those faculty who do not provide a supportive and intellectually challenging environment for student learning are simply not asked by graduate students to be on their committees. This results in some unevenness, but most faculty are now fully engaged in graduate education in the department.

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.