Unit: American Studies
Program: American Studies (BA)
Degree: Bachelor's
Date: Sun Oct 27, 2013 - 5:43:26 pm

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

·      Upon completion of an AMST BA, all students should have acquired:

o   Substantial knowledge of American history, society, and culture, as well as a basic appreciation of different scholarly approaches to American Studies

o   Critical thinking skills necessary to analyze a variety of cultural artifacts (literature, primary documents, film, music, etc.), as well as historical and present-day sociopolitical issues.

o   Competence in scholarly writing and oral communication

o   Basic research skills, including advanced research skills in one area of specialization (majors only).

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

Department Website URL: http://www.hawaii.edu/amst
Student Handbook. URL, if available online:
Information Sheet, Flyer, or Brochure URL, if available online: NA
UHM Catalog. Page Number:
Course Syllabi. URL, if available online: NA

3) Select one option:

Curriculum Map File(s) from 2013:

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, 2012 and September 30, 2013? (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, 2012 to September 30, 2013: State the assessment question(s) and/or assessment goals. Include the SLOs that were targeted, if applicable.

While the department did not undertake any formal assessment during AY 2012-2013, ongong assessment activities circulate around the following questions:

  • How well does the AMST undergraduate curriculum meet the goals stated in the departmental SLOs?
  • How well does the AMST major prepare students to meet their current educational goals?
  • What is the general preparedness of our majors for higher education and/or career goals beyond the BA degree?

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.

Ongoing evaluation activities include:

  • The evaluation of senior captsone projects in the required core sequence AMST 480/AMST 481, which reviews students' strength and preparation in critical thinking, research, and writing skills, as well as their competence in the methods and materials of the field;
  • the evaluation of majors and minors in the required core sequence AMST 381/AMST 382, which builds and assesses competence in American Studies materials and methods, alongside evaluation of oral communication, critical thinking, and writing skills; and
  • twice annual advising sessions with all majors and the majority of minors, which assess the success of our students in meeting their current educational goals, and the general preparedness of our majors for higher education and/or career goals beyond the BA degree.

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

4 total: instructors for AMST 381, 382, 480 , and 481; 2 undergraduate advisors over the course of AY 2012-2013.

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.

  • How well does the AMST undergraduate curriculum meet the goals stated in the departmental SLOs?

The AMST major continues to have strong success in meeting the departmental SLOs, as evidenced by the successful design and completion of strong senior capstone projects by the majority of our majors in the AMST 480/481 sequence. For our weaker students in particular, however, more time and attention paid to developing strong research and writing skills is needed to prepare them to successfully undertake and complete the capstone. This result was reflected and evaluated by the AMST 480/481 instructor in regards to a small minority of students who struggled to successfully complete capstone projects.

  • How well does the AMST major prepare students to meet their current educational goals?

AMST students continue to be very well prepared to meet their current educational goals, as reflected anecdotally in conversations with the undergraduate advisor, as well in the strong average GPA amongst our majors.

  • What is the general preparedness of our majors for higher education and/or career goals beyond the BA degree?

The informational assessment activities in regards to this question will be married to more formal survey results this spring.

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

The programs has implemented results through the following activities:

  • strengthening the emphasis on basic research and critical reading skills, in addition to writing skills, in AMST 480 this semester; and
  • inaugurating and sustaining a series of informational Coffee Talks on a variety of issues pertinent to education and career choices after graduation, including sessions focused around careers in education and law (which evidence gathered through previous assessments has suggested are dominant paths for our majors); and
  • planning a more robust and systematic surveying of our undergraduate alumni this spring, to evaluate how well and in what ways their AMST major has served them in pursuing their educational and career goals. It is anticipated that this survey will also help lay the foundation for a more robust alumni network, help to cultivate resources for our current students, and provide valuable information on the career paths of our majors, which will help us to serve our students better into the future.

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.

In addition to the stated activities, we are involved in the ongoing evaluation of the AMST Honors Track, now in its second year. Goals and activities in regards to this evaluation--which has included both a formal information gathering session with Honors Track students, in additional to regular advisee meetings--include efforts to strengthen and better coordinate the relationship between AMST and the Honors Program, to streamline communications with our Honors students around important deadlines, alternate curricular paths, upcoming events, and support services.

The curriculum committee, which includes the undergraduate chair, has also undertaken an assessment of our Outreach course offerings, working to bring these into line with student needs and interests, and to ensure the rigorous and consistent instruction of online teaching in particular.

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.