University of Hawaii Community Colleges
Instructional Annual Report of Program Data (ARPD)

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Review Year: College: Program:

College: Honolulu Community College
Program: Liberal Arts

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The last comprehensive review for this program was on 2012, and can be viewed at:

Program Description

Honolulu Community College's Associate in Arts (AA) Degree is a two-year Liberal Arts degree designed to provide students with 1) skills and perspectives fundamental to undertaking higher education; and 2) a broad exposure to different domains of academic knowledge. The AA Degree requires sixty (60) semester credits of courses numbered at the 100- and 200-level, including a core of thirty-one (31) crdits in Foundation, Diversification and Focus areas as well as Speech.

The Divisions which comprise University College (the LIberal Arts unit of Honolulu Community College)--Humanities and Social Sciences, Language Arts, Math and Natural Sciences, and Hawaiian Programs--are committed to providing the first two years of a traditional baccalaureate education by offering high-quality general education in liberal arts and sciences.

In addition to the basic AA degree, students in Liberal Arts may choose to develop a pre-major concentration by working toward an Academic Subject Certificate (ASC.) Academic Subject Certificates are currently available in Asian Studies, Communication, and Psychology.

Liberal Arts at the College, in a broader sense, serves a dual purpose: 1) providing, as noted, the courses necessary for completion of the Associate in Arts (AA) degree in preparation for transfer to a four-year baccalaureate program; and 2) providing the courses necessary to fulfill the General Education requirements for the College's Career-Technical (CTE) programs.

The Mission of the Liberal Arts program is "to offer comprehensive educational programs that provide meaningful learning and excellent teaching. The diverse disciplines in Liberal Arts support an environment that fosters lifelong learning for the success of the individual as well as the community."

Part I. Quantitative Indicators

Overall Program Health: Cautionary

Majors Included: LBRT     Program CIP: 24.0101

Demand Indicators Program Year Demand Health Call
10-11 11-12 12-13
1 Number of Majors 964 904 891 Unhealthy
1a     Number of Majors Native Hawaiian 223 228 224
1b     Fall Full-Time 49% 46% 45%
1c     Fall Part-Time 51% 54% 55%
1d     Fall Part-Time who are Full-Time in System 5% 6% 5%
1e     Spring Full-Time 44% 42% 41%
1f     Spring Part-Time 56% 58% 59%
1g     Spring Part-Time who are Full-Time in System 6% 5% 6%
2 *Percent Change Majors from Prior Year -9.4% -6.2% -1.4%
3 SSH Program Majors in Program Classes 13,593 12,594 12,046
4 SSH Non-Majors in Program Classes 21,049 20,087 20,585
5 SSH in All Program Classes 34,642 32,681 32,631
6 FTE Enrollment in Program Classes 1,155 1,089 1,088
7 Total Number of Classes Taught 584 581 600

Efficiency Indicators Program Year Efficiency Health Call
10-11 11-12 12-13
8 Average Class Size 19.9 18.8 18.2 Healthy
9 *Fill Rate 79.2% 75.7% 74.9%
10 FTE BOR Appointed Faculty 50.9 50.5 46.5
11 *Majors to FTE BOR Appointed Faculty 18.9 17.8 19.1
12 Majors to Analytic FTE Faculty 15.1 14.2 13.6
12a Analytic FTE Faculty 63.7 63.5 65.5
13 Overall Program Budget Allocation Not Reported Not Reported $4,543,313
13a General Funded Budget Allocation Not Reported Not Reported $4,420,290
13b Special/Federal Budget Allocation Not Reported Not Reported $0
13c Tuition and Fees Not Reported Not Reported $123,023
14 Cost per SSH Not Reported Not Reported $139
15 Number of Low-Enrolled (<10) Classes 57 68 87
*Data element used in health call calculation Last Updated: January 27, 2014

Effectiveness Indicators Program Year Effectiveness Health Call
10-11 11-12 12-13
16 Successful Completion (Equivalent C or Higher) 66% 68% 68% Cautionary
17 Withdrawals (Grade = W) 883 788 859
18 *Persistence (Fall to Spring) 64.6% 61.4% 63.7%
18a Persistence Fall to Fall     37.7%
19 Unduplicated Degrees/Certificates Awarded Prior Fiscal Year 124 116 96
19a Associate Degrees Awarded 124 112 95
19b Academic Subject Certificates Awarded 0 5 1
19c Goal 108 111 114
19d *Difference Between Unduplicated Awarded and Goal 14.8% 0.9% -16.6%
20 Transfers to UH 4-yr 89 114 99
20a Transfers with degree from program 23 42 38
20b Transfers without degree from program 66 72 61
20c Increase by 3% Annual Transfers to UH 4-yr Goal 60 62 64
20d *Difference Between Transfers and Goal 49.1% 83.8% 54.6%

Distance Education:
Completely On-line Classes
Program Year  
10-11 11-12 12-13
21 Number of Distance Education Classes Taught 61 65 78


22 Enrollments Distance Education Classes 1,270 1,255 1,522
23 Fill Rate 84% 78% 78%
24 Successful Completion (Equivalent C or Higher) 52% 56% 50%
25 Withdrawals (Grade = W) 144 135 168
26 Persistence (Fall to Spring Not Limited to Distance Education) 43% 49% 40%

Performance Funding Program Year  
10-11 11-12 12-13
27 Number of Degrees and Certificates     95


28 Number of Degrees and Certificates Native Hawaiian     23
29 Number of Degrees and Certificates STEM     Not STEM
30 Number of Pell Recipients     451
31 Number of Transfers to UH 4-yr     99
*Data element used in health call calculation Last Updated: January 27, 2014

Glossary | Health Call Scoring Rubric

Part II. Analysis of the Program

While the quantitative indicators result in an overall "Cautionary" status for the College's Liberal Arts program, there can be no doubt that the program (the largest on the campus) continues to thrive. With respect to Demand (for which the most recent Health Call was "Unhealthy"), it should be noted that the number of majors declined only slightly (-1.4%), and the FTE enrollment in program classes remained virtually unchanged (1088 vs. 1089.) The number of Native Hawaiian majors has held steady, representating a slightly larger proportion of all majors. Further, there was a significant increase in the SSH non-majors in program classes, suggesting that the Liberal Arts program, in addition to serving those declared majors, continues to meet the General Education needs of the College's CTE programs (one of its two primary mandates.) Other relevant factors include 1) the greter mobility of students as they move between campuses to select courses and create their schedules; and 2) the continuing perception that the College is focused primarily on technical programs.

With respect to Efficiency, it can be noted that this is an area in which the program continues to receive a "Healthy" Health Call, with the indicators remaining relatively stable though trending downward. The College continues to monitor the number of low-enrolled classes, particularly given the fiscal constraints under which it is operating. One factor that continues to have an impact on this datum is that while low-enrolled classes assigned to lecturers are most often cancelled, those that are part of a full-time faculty member's workload are allowed to run if the faculty member cannot be reassigned.

With respect to Effectiveness, most recently assessed as "Cautionary," it should be noted that there have been modest increases in the rate of successful course completion, and the College continues to exceed its goal of transfers to the UH four-year institutions. The College will monitor the number of Associate Degrees awareded, as it is believed that understaffing in the Admissions and Records office may have resulted in a lack of timely recording of earned degrees. The College is also working proactively to ensure that reverse transfer and the automatic granting of degrees and certificates operate as smoothly as possible. 


Substantial work has been done in the last three years to assess the status of all courses to ensure, first of all, that all courses have appropriatedly stated Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) and means of assessment; that review is complete. Review of courses in the Foundations area (Written Communication, Symbolic Reasoning, and Global-Multicultural) was already complete, and review of courses intended to meet the Diversification requirements (the largest category of liberal arts courses) was completed in Spring 2013. Courses in the Focus areas designated by the College (Contemporary Ethical Issues, Hawaiian-Asian-Pacific, Writing-Intensive) as well as Speech are all required to be evaluated each time a course so designated is taught. Management of the LIberal Arts curriculum is primarily done through the General Education Board, which encompasses the above-named areas. Once courses are certified they are reviewed on a regular five-year cycle. For the past two years, LIberal Arts faculty have been working with their colleagues in the CTE programs to update the General Education requirements for CTE, resulting in a robust discussion of the significance of General Education in Associate Degree programs. As a reuslt, the General Education Board has been substantially restructured to ensure dialogue between Liberal Arts and CTE faculty.

In response to a requirement that General Education offerings for the CTE programs clearly be at the college level (most easily designated with numbering 100 and above), faculty members in Math and the Natural Sciences have worked to create new curriculum that will address that requirement. Faculty members in Math and English are also working to create accelerated pathways for curriculum at the developmental level, so that students can more easily and quickly move into college-level courses.

Assessment of SLOs at the program level has not been approached systematically but there is a clear understanding of the way in which individual course SLOs relate to the broader Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs), and of the fact that completion of the requirements for the Associate Degrees ensures that all PLOs have been addressed and met. A mapping of ACCJC General Education requirements to the Liberal Arts PLOs was completed in Spring 2013. In some areas of the LIberal Arts (e.g., Humanities and Social Sciences), items linked to PLOs have been embedded in general course evaluations completed by students at the end of each semester. This practice can be expanded to include other areas/disciplines of the Liberal Arts.  


The College has participated regularly for the last several biennia in the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), the most recent survey having been administered in Spring 2012. CCSSE does not disaggregate data by program, so it is not possible to draw definitive conclusions regarding the Liberal Arts program specifically, but by inference the CCSSE data are useful in identifying areas of both strength (e.g., Support for Learners) as well as challenge (e.g., Student Effort.)

University College/Liberal Arts faculty have also provided leadership in the regular use of surveys for the assessment of various components of the Liberal Arts program (e.g., Knowledge Surveys, end-of-semester surveys for the Focus areas and Distance Education.) Data and narrative comments from students on those surveys provide an essential tool in the continuing improvement of instruction in Liberal Arts.


Alignment with Mission: The Liberal Arts Program is closely aligned with the College's Mission, ensuring, first of all, that it is a comprehensive community college. More specifically, it contributes to the College's ability to "offer high quality courses and programs in the liberal arts," to "support the Native Hawaiian community and its language, history, and culture," and to "provide educational opportunities for personal enrichment."

Strengths and weaknesses based on analysis of data: As previously noted, the Liberal Arts Program has typically received mixed Health Calls on an annual basis, with a consistent "Cautionary" rating overall. (The problematic nature of the Health Indicators per se for this program is another issue that will not be addressed here.) As previously noted, it is clear from indicators such as SSH of Non-Majors in program classes that the Liberal Arts provide essential support for the CTE programs in helping them meet their General Education requirements (another point of alignment with the College's Mission.)

Strengths: Beyond the data, the Liberal Arts Program can point to the general excellence of its faculty (members of University College), which includes nine of the seventeen recipients of the annual Excellence in Teaching awards still actively teaching. University College (UC) faculty have provided leadership in the development of several Academic Subject Certificates (ASC) within the Associate of Arts degree program, allowing students to develop pre-major concentrations before transfer to baccalaureate programs. UC faculty members have also been instrumental in creating two associate-level programs. The AA in Hawaiian Studies will be documented with its first annual report this year based on ARPD; the Associate of Science in Natural Sciences (AS-NS) degree was approved by the Board of Regents in Spring 2013. Cultivating academic and campus leadership among newer members of the faculty will remain an important priority so that continuity of service can be ensured as senior faculty members retire.

Weaknesses of the Liberal Arts program are not those of the curriculum or the faculty, but rather reflect the challenges of an aging campus infrastructure that does not always meet the requirements of 21st century pedagogy, in which both faculty members and students expect to utilize technology to teach and learn and access resources. The building that houses a substantial portion of UC faculty and classrooms where Liberal Arts courses are taught is still undergoing major renovation; UC faculty hope that all classrooms will eventually be equipped with educational media that will support their needs.

Evidence of Quality: UC faculty members, as noted, are recognized for their professional excellence, and appreciated by their students for a strong, student-centered ethic as educators. UC faculty members provide leadership in various contexts, including campus governance and curricular initiatives such as a major updating of General Education. Another significant area where contributions have been made and continue to be made is in the area of Distance Education, which a number of UC faculty members have adopted as a mode of delivery with substantial success. This is of short-term importance, as the faculty have had to respond creatively to being displaced from their offices and conventional classrooms during the period of building renovation; it is also of longer-term significance as a potential means to expand enrollment and the tuition base of the College. In this, as in other endeavors, UC faculty members have been committed to a) appropriate preparation/training; b) maintaining a high level of quality in delivery; and c) establishing and utilizing effective means of assessment, so that quality can be sustained and improved. Data provided for Distance Education (items 21-26) reflect a growth in offerings but also a need to ensure better evidence of successful completion for students utilizing this modality. Major progress was made recently with the creation of a Distance Education Strategic Plan, a Handbook for faculty and staff, mandatory orientation for DE faculty, and some focused comparative assessment of DE vs. traditional classroom instruction. 

Evidence of Student Learning: Student learning is subject to various forms of assessment, from pre- and post-knowledge surveys, to end-of-semester exams, portfolios and performances. The challenge for the UC and for the College as a whole remains the development of a more systematic means of gather the information generated by these various forms of assesment, and the utilization of their analysis to sustain quality. 

Resource Efficiency: UC faculty members and the Liberal Arts program as a whole generally function very efficiently with only modest needs in the area of equipment and technical support; the one exception to this is instruction in the Natural Sciences, where classroom and laboratory requirements are most substantial. UC faculty members have had to adjust to the short-term dislocation associated with the major renovation of the campus facility in which most of their offices and classrooms are located. However, they should benefit significantly when that project is completed in 2014, and benefit as well from the the longer-term technology plan that will improve campus infrastructure and provide greater mobility and flexibility for faculty, staff and students alike.

Recommendations for Improving Outcomes: The Liberal Arts Program is, as noted, subject to assessment of various kinds, from individual courses and faculty members to the program as a whole, with the intent of continuous improvement that is responsive to both the changing landscape of post-secondary education, and to the changing needs of students and the community. Systematic assessment that is carefully analyzed and that results in meaningful change should be the most signiificant tool in improving outcomes. It has been noted that in a number of areas , University College depends heavily on part-time faculty (lecturers.) While the College cultivates high-quality lecturers, a number of disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences remain without full-time faculty. In addition, then, it is recommended that longer-term planning for the Liberal Arts program should strive to secure at least one full-time faculty member in each discipline.

Part III. Action Plan

University College faculty members have increasingly experienced the constraints of working in an environment that has reached or surpassed the capacity of current technology and infrastructure to adequately support instruction. It is understood that the renovation of Building 7 currently underway should address a number of needs that relate to improved infrastructure and classroom architecture and resources. It is also understood, longer-term, that the construction of the Advanced Center for Technology Training (ACTT), for which funding has now been secured, will further rectify the less-than-ideal classroom, laboratory, and office conditions in which the Natural Sciences faculty housed in Building 5 must currently work and teach.

The Action Plan for Liberal Arts faculty must, of necessity, focus on maintaining productivity during a period of continuing instability, and on continuing to provide the excellent instruction for which the program is known. Faculty members are already working to develop innovative alternatives to classroom instruction, including offering more courses or sections through distance education (both cable and online), and utilizing hybrid models (including the "flipped classroom" configuration, and lecture-capture technology.) The successful implementation of these options will require multiple forms of support for faculty, from IT support to professional development. Assessment measures are already in place to evaluate the efficacy and quality of instruction, regardless of modality. 

The Liberal Arts Program will continue to seek additional faculty positions, as discussed in detail in Part IV.

Part IV. Resource Implications


With the implementation of the new College policy in 2011 regarding mandatory placement testing, and the requirement that students must complete remedial/developmental course work in English and/or Math beginning in their first semester, as required, the need for qualified faculty in those areas has increased substantially. In addition, the creation of a new Division of Hawaiian Programs, in support of major strategic goals for the College and the UH System and in support of a newly-created Associate of Arts Degree in Hawaiian Studies, requires additional full-time faculty for an expanding program in Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies offerings. Currently, Language Arts and Hawaiian Programs employ a substantial number of lecturers. The Liberal Arts Action Plan therefore also continues to call for new positions, as follows, in order to convert some lectureship into full-time faculty:

1 Instructional Faculty position in English (see Annual Reports for Remedial/Developmental Reading and Writing for fuller justification)

1 Instructional Faculty position in Hawaiian Language/Hawaiian Studies (see Annual Report for Hawaiian Studies for fuller justification)

It should be noted that the second position (HAW/HWST) was approved as a high-priority item in the 2012 budget and planning cycle. However, due to current and continuing fiscal constraints, the College cannot commit to filling personnel needs. This request will remain a high-priority item for the Program, and will be resubmitted as needed for annual review.


As noted above, Liberal Arts faculty members' primary needs (Natural Sciences faculty, also as noted, have some additional needs) are quite straight-forward: adequate educational media in their classrooms, and adequate technology for accessing internet resources and class preparation/teaching in their offices. Mobility (i.e., laptops/tablets rather than desktops) is increasingly desireable. Full implementation of a new IT plan that will move the campus to cloud-computing will not take place until after major renovation is complete, so faculty are faced with having to find interim solutions, or use their own equipment rather than what the campus can provide. In this context, faculty continue to seek clarification as to what the College will provide as part of the basic new IT infrastructure, and what must be acquired through individual Division budgets.

Program Student Learning Outcomes

For the 2012-2013 program year, some or all of the following P-SLOs were reviewed by the program:

this year?
Program Student Learning Outcomes


1. Communicate effectively by means of listening, speaking, reading and writing in varied situations, understanding basic quantitative information (mathematical skills), and writing in varied situations.


2. Apply symbolic reasoning skills to solve problems, evaluate arguments and chains of reasoning, and interpret information.


3. Demonstrate an understanding of life processes, individual development, thinking process, and behavior as well as an understanding of the natural environment of the planet and the universe in which we are situated and learn to utilize natural resources without damaging the environment.


4. Demonstrate a comprehension and skill with research methods and scientific inquiry.


5. Display knowledge of different groups and organizations in societies and respect for varied cultural values.


6. Demonstrate a greater ethical understanding and reasoning ability about contemporary ethical issues.


7. Identify and articulate in a reasoned manner the roots and causal basis of contemporary issues.


8. Demonstrate a knowledge of one or more art forms and the role that the Arts play in history and culture.

A) Expected Level Achievement

An examination of the Effectiveness Indicators (items 16-20d) suggests that the Liberal Arts Program, viewed holistically, is in some ways surpassing its expected level of achievement. While Successful Completion (item 16) has remained steady at 66-68%, the number of withdrawals has dropped, and the number of transfers to UH 4-year campuses (item 20a-d) has surpassed the benchmarks set. We believe that the drop in degrees awarded (item 19a-c) is an artifact of understaffing in the Records office (resulting in not recording degrees in a timely manner) that will be corrected. As noted elsewhere, reverse transfer and automatic awarding of degrees and certificates should also help the program's profile.

The indication above of Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) having been assessed should be understood as having been done on a more global or indirect level; Liberal Arts faculty are working on a more systematic and cyclical method of assessing PLOs; see further discussion below.

Expected levels of achievement are perhaps best assessed at the course level; in several cases students must pass with a "C" or higher in order to earn credit for the course (e.g., the College has maintained this requirement for Writing-Intensive courses, unlike most other campuses in the system.) Academic Subject Certificates also require "C" or higher in all courses for those programs. 

Assessment of PLOs has not been approached systematically but there is a clear understanding of the way in which individual course SLOs relate to the broader program PLOs, and the fact that completion of requirements for the Associate of Arts Degree ensures that all PLOs have been addressed and met, as evidenced by the recent mapping project described elsewhere. In some areas of the Liberal Arts (e.g., Humanities and Social Sciences) items linked to PLOs have been embedded in general course evaluations completed by students at the end of each semester. This practice will be expanded to include other areas of the Liberal Arts.

Substantial work, now complete, has been also been done at the course level to ensure that all courses have appropriately stated SLOs and means of assessment. Faculty are in the process of gathering data by means of those assessment methods and will be able to utilize their analysis to make further refinements to their courses, which will in turn support continued program improvement. 

B) Courses Assessed

University College (Liberal Arts) faculty members operate under the assumption that all courses will be assessed in some form each time they are taught (see section below.) Since student evaluations are an expected part of faculty review for lecturers as well as probationary faculty and those below Range C-5, faculty members understand the need to conduct these evaluations on a regular basis. In addition, full-time faculty must show evidence of how they have managed course assessment in each dossier prepared for some personnel action.

C) Assessment Strategy/Instrument

University College faculty members utilize a variety of assessment strategies and instruments to evaluate student satisfaction and student performance, including knowledge surveys, embedded assessment (e.g., writing samples form writing-intensive courses), general end-of-semester evaluations (which may include PLOs) and specialized survey instruments for Focus-area courses as well as Distance Education. Their analysis of the information and data provided by these forms of assessment is reflected both in their self-assessment (e.g., in  dossiers) as well as in applications for recertification of courses, where evidence of assessment and course refinement is required.

D) Results of Program Assessment

University College faculty are very conversant with with has been termed "the culture of assessment" and understand the need to utilize the insights and information provided by various forms of assessment they use to work for the continuous improvement of quality expected by accreditation standards. Program improvement is thus an ongoing process rather than an episodic event.

E) Other Comments

The College has developed a comprehensive assessment planning calendar, in which Annual Reports for programs and 5-year Program Reviews constitute an important strand. This should help the campus community to engage more fully in effective program management.

F) Next Steps

During the next academic year (2013-2014) a significant number of Liberal Arts faculty members will be displaced from their offices and clasrooms as one of the College's major facilities undergoes extensive renovation. For this reason, a number of faculty have worked to develop alternative or modifed means of delivery of curriculum, including the development of additional online courses, lecture-capture, and hybrid instruction (e.g., combining classroom and online instruction.) The primary concern is to maintain the quality of instruction regardless of modality or means of delivery. As noted in the 2012 Action Plan, the Liberal Arts Program is operating under a number of logistical and fiscal constraints that are not going to be resolved immediately nor by the program alone.

What the Liberal Arts Program can do, however, is to undertake a focused discussion about program-level assessment, as well as continue with the systematic collection of course-level data. In some cases, where there are multiple sections of courses with common SLOs, this can also be done in the aggregate. Furthermore, the new though perhaps temporary arrangements for instruction, most notably the hybrid model, offers a unique opportunity to monitor and assess their effectiveness.