Unit: Second Language Studies
Program: Second Language Studies (PhD)
Degree: Doctorate
Date: Tue Sep 11, 2012 - 12:38:57 pm

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

SLS knowledge base - SLS PHD graduates will develop advanced understanding in three of the four broad areas of SLS:

(a) Pedagogy

(b) Use

(c) Learning

(d) Analysis

Mastery and application of appropriate research methods in SLS

SLS PHD graduates will develop mastery of research methods appropriate to their specific area of expertise in SLS.

SLS PHD graduates will demonstrate a commitment to professional engagement and will be recognized for excellence in their selected areas of SLS:

(a) Presenting at conferences

(b) Publishing research           

(c) Teaching in area of expertise        

(d) Assuming a leadership role in an area of expertise

SLS PHD graduates should be prepared for a variety of academic and professional career paths, and in particular for tenure-track college positions.

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

Department Website URL: http://www.hawaii.edu/sls/sls/?page_id=1215
Student Handbook. URL, if available online: http://www.hawaii.edu/sls/sls/?page_id=1215
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: http://www.hawaii.edu/sls/sls/?page_id=1215
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online:

3) Select one option:

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2012:

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) Did your program engage in any program assessment activities between June 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012? (e.g., establishing/revising outcomes, aligning the curriculum to outcomes, collecting evidence, interpreting evidence, using results, revising the assessment plan, creating surveys or tests, etc.)

No (skip to question 14)

6) For the period June 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012: State the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goals. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.

As usual (see previous reports), we wanted to monitor our PhD students' progress and satisfaction with the program as well as their academic accomplishments of all kinds.

7) State the type(s) of evidence gathered to answer the assessment question and/or meet the assessment goals that were given in Question #6.

As usual (see previous reports), we monitored students' progress while in the program using course evaluation procedures based on quizzes, examinations, class presentations, and final projects. 

Major assessments related to student learning outcomes (and the educational factors that contribute to them) include:

1. Dissertation: For the PhD program there is a scholarly work requirement which is intended to reflect each individual student’s ability to: (a) engage in thorough-going research that is relevant to the field of SLS; (b) persist in long-term scholarly projects, from inception to dissemination; and (c) produce high-quality publishable writing. These assessments offer valuable insights into the extent to which students have achieved primary learning outcomes, such as familiarity with the broad content that describes particular domains of SLS, skill with research methods, and professional-level abilities to communicate about their work.The Dissertation assessment includes multiple public presentation and defense components, including a formal comprehensive exam and proposal process.

2. Graduating student survey: We participate in the College of LLL survey of all graduating students in the college. Because only a small number of doctoral students graduate each year, findings are held back and accumulated until a sufficient number is available that respondent anonymity will not be threatened. 

3. Alumni survey and review: The SLS Department maintains contact with graduates in order to monitor post-graduate activities. Doctoral graduates are particularly closely tracked; the Departmental website lists names and institution of current employment (http://www.hawaii.edu/sls/sls/?page_id=2299).

4. Annual doctoral student progress report: In addition, we recently developed two reporting forms set up so as to structure an annual meeting between doctoral student and advisor. This covers academic performance in courses, course planning, calls for detailing of academic performances (most obviously conference presentations, or other "professional activities") and also inquires into the student's perceptions of financial and physical (e.g., office space etc) support. In particular, professional activities provide one key indicator of the extent to which our students in the three graduate programs are developing and maintaining professional profiles that are of recognized value by the second language studies disciplines. Publication and presentation venue are periodically reviewed for quality, and suggestions are made for ways of enhancing/encouraging improvements. 

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

9) 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)

10) 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)

11) For the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goal(s) stated in Question #6:
Summarize the actual results.

Overall, the results of our assessment efforts in the PhD program are positive, indicating that the program is functioning well. Where we find areas that need improvement, we always make efforts to change. The doctoral program continues to undergo periodic review and adjustment, along with associated elements such as resource allocation.

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

Within the SLS Department, diverse users interpret diverse assessment-based information about student learning for diverse purposes. Following is a brief summary of the primary intended users of assessments:

1. Individual Students: Students interpret class-based and project-based assessment (including feedback and grades) as an indication of the extent to which their work is approximating the academic and professional norms of the SLS discipline and the high expectations of the SLS department. Via assessment, students come to realize their accomplishments as well as gaps in their on-going development.

2. Individual Faculty: Individual faculty members of SLS interpret class-based and project-based assessment data as an indication of the extent to which their courses are effectively fostering student learning towards specific targeted outcomes. Additionally, faculty interpret mid-semester and end-of-semester course evaluation data as an important indicator of the aspects of course design and delivery which are functioning as intended and those which may be in need of adjustment. Interpretations of assessment data here are about course and instructor contribution to learning outcomes, rather than merely about student achievement of learning outcomes.

3. Staff and Administration of SLS: The Department Chair, the Graduate Chair, and the Graduate Advisor interpret course grades, dissertation outcomes, and other requirement completion data for adjudicating final graduation decisions about individual students.

4. Dissertation Committees: These committees of five (occasionall more) faculty utilize major scholarly work requirements as a means for: (a) promoting a professional-grade research, writing, feedback, and final product cycle; and (b) ensuring that SLS doctoral students graduate with professional capabilities sufficient to their individualized needs and reflective of the high standards of the department. The committees work in unison to interpret the extent to which students’ research and writing reflect professional disciplinary standards for publishable and worthwhile scholarly research on topics of importance to second language studies.

5. The entire Graduate Faculty: The graduate faculty of SLS meets on a regular basis (once a semester) to review doctoral student progress. As a group, the faculty reviews the key sources of assessment data (focusing on students’ progress towards degree completion, scholarly productivity, and attitudes towards courses and requirements) with an eye towards: (a) identifying individual students who may not be meeting expectations, with the intent of providing feedback to those students; and (b) any apparent patterns of progress or lack of progress towards key learning outcomes, such that needed larger-scale program and course changes may be identified. .

6. The Departmental Assessment Committee: The two-member assessment committee reviews and interprets all forms of assessment activities for three basic purposes: (a) to make recommendations on revisions/additions to existing assessment practices, where needed for acquiring more valid and/or useful data; (b) to make recommendations regarding areas in need of attention in program/curriculum/course design to the Departmental Personnel and Policy Committee; and (c) to construct annual reports about assessment activities for audiences outside of the SLS Department (e.g., the Associate Dean and Dean of the College of LLL, the VCAA).

7. The Departmental Personnel and Policy Committee: As the primary decision-making body of the Department of SLS, the DPPC regularly receives reports on priority assessment findings and adjudicates needed responses. Generally speaking, the DPPC interprets assessment data in terms of their purview, including: (a) potential areas of expertise in need of enhancement (e.g., through the hiring of new faculty or instructors); (b) structural changes that might enhance student learning and outcomes achievement (e.g., adaptations to degree-program requirements or course offerings); and (c) recommendations for new assessment data to be collected as needed (e.g., the collection of students’ professional publication and presentation data, for tracking of scholarly productivity).

13) 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 most recent development for the doctoral program has been the institution of the formal student-advisor review meeting with accompanying data collection. As this is newly begun, we are not yet able to say what may emerge from it but we will review this review process itself on an annual basis and fine-tune as necessary. Preliminary indications suggest a need for greater use of cross-departmental coordination, probably leading to an increased number of formally cross-listed courses, as opposed to the present practice of informal coordination of certain courses through instructor-to-instructor contact.

14) If the program did not engage in assessment activities, please explain.
Or, if the program did engage in assessment activities, please add any other important information here.