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Interim Chancellor’s Monthly Column: Update on Enrollment

The purpose of new activity in enrollment management is for Hawai‘i Island’s college bound students to have access to higher education options on our island and to be successful in their academic endeavors.

The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo community has been hard at work this past year with new programs in recruiting, retaining, and graduating our students. Along with the other UH System campuses, we’ve developed a five-year enrollment plan that captures the complete enrollment cycle of students: recruitment, initial enrollment, first year retention, graduation or transfer, and ultimately active alumni.

We’re taking an action oriented approach that recognizes the many factors that contribute to a higher education organization that functions well for student success, from enhanced fiscal management, human resources, student services, strategic planning, and technologies to policies, procedures, academic offerings, marketing, and alumni relations. The entire university community is all-in on this effort.

Recruitment

Snip of UH Hilo Facebook page with aerial photo of campus, UH Hilo logo, Facebook logo.
UH Hilo is communicating opportunities to students of the 21st century with tools of the 21st century, e.g. more focus on social media.

Our connection with prospective students focuses on communicating about our unique academic and cultural setting, the quality of our academic and research experiences, and our commitment to access to higher education and student success.

UH Hilo is communicating these opportunities to students of the 21st century with tools of the 21st century. There is more focus on social media and texting, reducing barriers that students face between application and registration, and helping students navigate the new online registration system.

Among the many new activities is outreach at high schools that includes workshops and Prep Days on Hawai‘i Island and O‘ahu where students can meet with advising counselors to receive personal attention with class registration. Workshops and Prep Days this past spring semester have the potential of yielding $600 thousand in tuition revenue. Hawai‘i Island’s next Prep Day is June 15.

Retention

Web snip with the words: Advising Center, Sta On Track
Advising to freshmen is mandatory, and students are required to declare a major after 60 credits.

We’ve also ramped up communication with current students.

We practice early outreach to students through the introductory course University 101 and the peer tutoring program in key first year courses. We extend outreach to all sophomores, juniors, and seniors with reminders about advising, registration, deadlines, and holds that would prevent registration. Individual students on academic warning and probation are advised to connect with support programs.

Student success online workshops are available starting June 1.

Financial Aid has increased its communication to students through weekly emails about requirements and deadlines, and notifications regarding their financial aid academic progress status.
Strengthening our advising programs across campus is a best practice that will make a great impact on retention. Advising to freshmen is mandatory, and students are required to declare a major after 60 credits. Select departments are conducting their own advising, some using peer mentors; we now have dedicated academic advisors and peer advisors in psychology, kinesiology, pre-nursing, and marine science. Last semester, 83 students spent a total of 427 hours with mentors. We are currently in the process of reviewing the matching of students and mentors for fall 2018 registration.

Graduation

Group of students sitting together watching poi pounding demonstration.
One of the most successful retention programs through graduation is the living-learning communities program. Above is a Hawaiian Language and Culture cohort from a previous semester.

To help our students persist to graduation, several of our colleges are streamlining curricula. One of our colleges is connecting students with career mentors from the local community. Another is allowing reasonable academic modifications to major requirements in order to graduate students in a timely manner. There are new tracks to accommodate students that provide alternatives to entry into selective baccalaureate programs.

We have a new curriculum and catalog coordinator who is working with faculty to work out glitches as everyone transitions to the new registration software.

One of the most successful programs is our living-learning communities program, where students are grouped in cohorts according to major and interests. Students are housed together, forming close friendships and a strong support system to get them to the finish line. Research shows that students in living-learning communities are more likely to stay in college, earn a higher grade point average, and experience a greater degree of satisfaction with their overall college experience. All six communities at UH Hilo are on schedule for fall: business entrepreneurship, creative arts, environmental sustainability, Hawaiian language and culture, health and wellness, and natural sciences.

It takes a community

The purpose of this activity in enrollment management is for Hawai‘i Island’s college bound students to have access to higher education options on our island and to be successful in their academic endeavors.

We must all work together—our university community and our local island community—to be successful at these new directions in improving recruitment, retention and graduation. Together, we can build a stronger, more accessible university for the people of our island, state, and region.

For more information, visit our Enrollment Management website.

Aloha,

Marcia Sakai

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