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American Indian Studies Graduate Interdisciplinary Program

Overview: 

American Indian Studies seeks to develop a wider scope of understanding of the languages, cultures, traditions, and sovereignty of American Indians/Alaska Natives. American Indian Studies maintains vigorous and productive scholarship, teaching, research, community development and outreach to foster close, extensive interactions with American Indian nations and communities locally, statewide, and nationally. American Indian Studies provides a unique opportunity for students and scholars to explore historical and contemporary issues from American Indian perspectives through an exemplary University-based education. American Indian Studies promotes Indian self-determination and self-governance as defined by Indian nations, tribes, and communities and encourages the development of leaders to strengthen Native nations.

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

M.A.

Students graduating with an MA degree are expected to:

  • Understand and be able to articulate a broad comprehension of American Indian historic and contemporary issues, including the issue of sovereignty (Federal Indian Law and Policy and Nation Building), knowledge systems (American Indian Education), story (American Indian Literature), identity (Societies and Culture), and sustainability (Natural Resources).
  • Communicate orally and through written work
  • Identify a research problem and choose an appropriate research design
  • Conduct both archival and community based research
  • Analyze data and come to a reasoned conclusion or response to a research question
  • Complete a report or thesis that is centered in American Indian Studies, or obtain a passing grade on a final comprehensive exam. Note: Students who do not complete a report or a thesis are ineligible for admission to the Ph.D. program in the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Arizona.

J.D./M.A.

Students completing this degree have the same learning outcomes expectations as the MA degree, but with an emphasis on how these concepts and areas of knowledge can be applied in the field of law.

 

Ph.D.

Students graduating with a Ph.D. are expected to have the same learning outcomes as for the MA degree, but with greater sophistication, intensity, and focus in their chosen areas of study.  The dissertation is expected to be of publishable quality, or a work that with some revisions of format and organization can be turned into a publishable work.  It is expected to be centered within American Indian Studies and offer something of value to American Indian communities and to the greater body of human knowledge.

Assessment Activities: 

Until this academic year of 2012-2013, AIS did not have any specific assessment activities.  We relied upon graduation rates, time to degree, and student GPA as our measures.  However, we were notified by the Office of Educational Outcomes Assessment (need exact title) that we would be expected to institute more specific assessment tools.   An invited representative of the OEOA who visited with the Director of Graduate Studies, the Curriculum Committee and the full faculty provided materials that the Curriculum Committee then adapted to create tools for assessment.  These assessment activities will be put into place beginning with the upcoming 2013-14 academic year, with the data collected, analyzed and posted to the UA assessment website and updated annually.

AIS has created three Outcomes Assessment measures, which have been assessed by the OEOA as adequate in number and content in compliance with university standards.  The first assessment document, included below) is the assessment tool used for first year Ph.D. Students.

 

Assessment Rubric

Assessment Activity:  First Year Ph.D. Progress Evaluation

Student Name:_______________________________________________________________________

 Date: __________________________

Committee Member: ___________________________________

Directions: Evaluate this student’s progress using the following scoring criteria: 1 (Needs Improvement); 2 (Meets Expectations); 3 (Good); 4 (Excellent); and 5 (Outstanding) for each of the criteria described below. Turn in your completed rubric to the committee chair.

 

  1. This student understands and can explain the importance of the following core values of AIS:

___sovereignty (Federal Indian Law and Policy—includes self-governance)

___ knowledge systems (American Indian Education)

___ story (Literature)

­­­___ identity (Societies and Cultures—includes language revitalization, Nation Building, cultural and spiritual practice)

___ sustainability (Natural resources)

  1. ____ This student’s coursework choices to date matches with the student’s stated goals or chosen focus areas of study.
  2. ____  The grades achieved by this student meet the university guidelines for continuation in the Ph.D. program.
  3. ____ This student has filed all the requisite forms in consultation with the Graduate Program Coordinator and the student’s faculty adviser.
  4. ____ Demonstrates responsibility, collegiality and engagement within the program.

If Applicable:

  1. ____ Demonstrates responsibility, competence, professionalism, and skill development as a Teaching Assistant

____ Overall assessment

Additional Comments:

 

The second document, included below) used for assessment is at the Ph.D. Comprehensive exams level.

 

Assessment Rubric

Assessment Activity:  Student Comprehensive Exams

Student Name:_______________________________________________________________________

 Date: __________________________

Committee Member: ___________________________________

Directions: Evaluate this student’s progress using scoring criteria: 1 (Needs Improvement); 2 (Meets Expectations); 3 (Good); 4 (Excellent); and 5 (Outstanding) for each of the criteria described below. Turn in your completed rubric to the committee chair.

 

  1.  This student understands and can explain the importance of the following core values of AIS:

___sovereignty

___ Federal Indian law and policy

___ story

­­­___ identity

___ sustainability

____ overall assessment for this question

  1. ____ The student has read, understands,  and can critically analyze the core texts in the student’s focus area(s).
  2. ____ This student understands theory as set out in the American Indian Studies Program.
  3. ____ This student has a clear understanding of methodologies that are pertinent to his/her research project for the dissertation and can successfully apply such methodologies to his/her research.
  4.   ____ This student has completed and submitted all required forms in consultation with the Graduate Program Coordinator and the student’s adviser or committee chair.
  5. _____This student has completed the language requirement as set out in the Handbook of AIS Policies and Procedures.
  6. _____ This student has no outstanding Incompletes and has a GPA that is within the standards required by the Graduate Office.

___ Overall Assessment for this student

Additional Comments:

The third level of assessment is at the M.A. thesis defense or the Ph.D. dissertation defense.  That document is included below:

 

 

Assessment Rubric

Assessment Activity: Thesis or Dissertation Defense

 

Student Name:_______________________________________________________________________

 

Date: __________________________

 

 

Thesis/Dissertation Committee Chair or Member: ___________________________________

 

Directions: Evaluate this student’s written dissertation and oral defense of the research progress using the following scoring criteria: 1 (Needs Improvement); 2 (Meets Expectations); 3 (Good); 4 (Excellent); and 5 (Outstanding) for each of the criteria described below. Turn in your completed rubric to the committee chair.

 

____ The thesis/dissertation is well written using Standard American English.

 

____ The problem is clearly described with adequate critical analysis of the related research literature.

 

____ The research design for studying the problem is appropriate.

 

____ The data are adequately analyzed.

 

____ The conclusions drawn from the analysis are well defended. The student adequately responds to challenges to his interpretations and conclusions.

 

____ The student demonstrates the ability to extrapolate his/her research to broader implications for the field.

These areas of testing along coupled with other data such as time to degree, graduation rates, and average student GPA’s should be sufficient to identify both successes and challenges within the AIS Program and opportunities for change.

 

In addition to instituting the above assessment documents, AIS will continue their informal, customary practice of reviewing all currently enrolled continuing students at the final faculty meeting of the spring semester.  At that meeting, each student’s adviser reports to the full faculty on the progress of that student throughout the academic year to include any problems with coursework, progress towards comps exams or completing a thesis or dissertation as well as any significant accomplishments such as presenting a paper at a conference; award of a fellowship, scholarship, or GTA position; or any other items of note.

Assessment Findings: 

Formal assessment procedures are in place this academic year, the results will be reported in future years.

Change in Response to Findings: 

AIS has no changes to report since we had no formal assessment procedures in place prior to this academic year.  Beginning with the academic year of 2013-2014, the Head, the Director of Graduate Studies, the Graduate Program Coordinator, and a committee of the faculty, will analyze, collate, update the UA assessment website, and distribute the results of the testing mechanisms to determine necessary changes in curriculum and programmatic policies and procedures to insure quality student learning outcomes.

Updated date: Wed, 10/07/2015 - 15:35