Unit: Sociology
Program: Sociology (PhD)
Degree: Doctorate
Date: Mon Nov 14, 2011 - 11:47:21 pm

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

1. Know basic theories in the discipline of sociology and theories relevant to particular subfields.  Be able to apply relevant theoretical concepts to frame a research problem and to interpret the theoretical implications of a research project.

2. Know basic quantitative and qualitative methods of conducting research in sociology and the ethical standards required to protect human subjects of research.  Be able to write a formal research proposal according to the conventions of the discipline, apply relevant quantitative or qualitative methods (including statistics) to a particular research problem, analyze the results, and report research findings appropriately using the conventions of these methods.

3 . Acquire a professional level of knowledge in selected subfields of sociology in order to be equipped to teach a course on the subject or to develop a research proposal that will advance the field in this particular area.

4. Be able to carry out a research project that will contribute new knowledge to the field, using appropriate methods to conduct the research and analyze the results. This includes the ability to write up a well-organized and persuasive account of the research project for a professional audience, using the conventions of the discipline to present the research problem in context, articulate the reasons for the methods chosen and how they were implemented, present relevant data and analyze it appropriately, and articulate the significance and implications of the research for the advancement of the field. 

5. Be able to present research findings both orally in a professional presentation and through writing academic journal articles, following the conventions of the discipline.

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

Department Website URL: website currently being revised and new one not up yet
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: students receive handbook during new student orientation
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: posted through 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.

Our SLOs are all assessed continually. Only the basic level is assessed through courses, with most of the assessment coming through completion of the various writing requirements of the program.

All graduate students are assessed annually on their progress through a closed, mandatory department meeting at which the advisor reports on each student's progress, problems are discussed, and the entire faculty agrees on whether the progress of the previous year is satisfactory or warrants a warning. or possible dismissal. Students receive the results of the annual review in a formal letter that also states what progess the department expects by the following year's annual review.

The direct assessment of individual progress is accomplsihed through committee evaluation of all of the writing requirements in the program.  The qualifying review requires submission of two papers, reworked until the student's own committee believes they meet the QR standard. They are then.evaluated by a separate QR committee of three faculty who are NOT on the student's own committee, and who evaluate the papers based on a rubric that closely matches the SLOs. After passing the Qualifying Review, students prepare for written and oral comprehensive exams, which are evaluated by their five member doctoral committee. They then produce a dissertation prospectus of about 25-50 pages, which also must be approved by the doctoral committee. The dissertation is also revised until it meets the standards of the doctoral committee and must be defended orally to the committee's satisfaction.

In short, we do not treat assessment of student learning objectives as a separate, quantified exercise, but rather have built it into the nature of the program and use its natural products to evaluate whether students have mastered the learning objectives, which they must do in order to pass to the next stage and ultimately, to complete the degree.

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.

See previous answer. All 46 doctoral students were assessed in the annual review in March 2011, except for four who had already completed and defended their dissertations..Thirty-two were judged to be progressing satisfactorily at their current level, while five received warning letters, four were warned that they were in iminent danger of dismissal, and one was dismissed for lack of progress.  Most of the light warnings were to students who were slow in completing the dissertation, while most of the initial warnings were to students who had delayed taking their comps.

All doctoral students were assessed based on their progress through the standard milestones of the program. Eight were first or second year doctoral students who were completing coursework. In Fall 2010 one passed the qualifying review and one had failed. The student who failed would normally have had to pass it in the spring semester, but because of the late notice of the fall decision, the faculty agreed to give the student an additional semester to pass it, but he subsequently left the program. Three more students passed the qualifying review in spring 2011. Seven students passed their comprehensive exams in the 2010-2011 academic year and one student failed.. Six students had their dissertation prospectus approved during this period. Six students passed their dissertation oral and received the PhD during this period, and one additional student pass his oral during the period and will receive the degree in  December 2011. Twelve students are currently doing dissertation fieldwork or writing their dissertations.

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

Evidence was submitted by and for all 46 doctoral students in the program, since they are all tracked regularly and assessed in the annual review in addition to meeting committee standards for passing each program writing milestone. The advisor reports on each student's progress in the annual review, and the reports of their passage of each program milestone are recorded in the department's graduate student database, which is also used to produce the reports for the annual review that are inspected by all faculty as they determine whether the student is making satisfactory progress.

We do not sample. We continuously work with all our students individually and through committees to ensure that their work meets our standards, and it is through this process that they achieve mastery of the SLOs.

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: ALL faculty participate in the annual review

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: rubric scoring of QR papers; all other evaluations are qualitative by the relevant committee

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

See previous question where number of students at each level were reported. The majority of students are making steady progress, and those who lag behind are warned and given more intensive attention to get them back on track or else are counseled to withdraw if they do not seem to be motivated to complete the program successfully. Results this past year were 80% making satisfactory progress, about 15 percent received a warning that got them back on track, and 5 percent were either dismissed or left the program to avoid dismissal.

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

We believe our continual assessments are very successful both in helping student achieve the standards we have set and in keeping them on track through the annual review. We are getting students through the program successfully despite their diverse backgrounds, and we are very satisfied with the level of their finished products. We are supportive of our students and do try to help them succeed, but we also are not afraid to make the tough decisions when they simply cannot perform at the required level.

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.

Our methods are successful both in helping most students succeed, and also in weeding out those who cannot meet the standards. Last year one student failed the initial milestone of the qualifying review and chose to leave the program rather than take one more chance to pass it. Another student failed the comps and is now seeking to leave the program rather than retake them. However, another student who failed her comps in 2009 passed them successfully the following year and now is doing an excellent dissertation.

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.