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Message from the Chancellor to New and Returning Students about impact of lava event

Operations are normal at UH Hilo and the university is busy preparing to welcome students to campus in August for the start of classes.

Aloha New and Returning Students,

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.I hope you are enjoying your summer so far. As you may be aware, the volcanic eruption on Hawai ‘i Island that started on May 3, 2018, has received widespread media coverage. I want to reassure everyone that operations are normal at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. The closest area affected by the eruption is 20 miles from Hilo, and the volcanic activity has had no direct impact on the town of Hilo and most of Hawai‘i Island. That includes our airports, harbors and the majority of roads. It is  absolutely safe to travel to and around Hawai‘i Island.

Many members of our island community, including some of your peers have been impacted, and they remain in our minds, hearts, and prayers. We remain committed to the success of all our students and continue to work with those in need during this difficult time, whether that is through issuance of incomplete grades to allow extra time for course completion or emergency housing due to evacuation. We encourage all students who are impacted, directly or indirectly, to keep reaching out to us.

Our UH Hilo mission states that the purpose of our university ‘ohana (family) is to challenge students to reach their highest level of academic achievement by inspiring learning, discovery and creativity inside and outside the classroom. Our kuleana (responsibility) is to improve the quality of life of the people of Hawai‘i, the Pacific region and the world. To this end I am very proud of our faculty, staff and students who have shared their expertise and resources to help others in this situation.

At UH Hilo, we believe that one learns from many sources. For us, the eruption puts us in the unique position of being able to observe and study geology first-hand and in real time. Before our eyes, we are seeing and experiencing science and culture unfold in ways that are not available anywhere else in the world.

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Farrah-Marie Gomes. Announcements and regular updates on the volcano eruption are posted on our webpage Joint UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi CC Information on the 2018 Puna Lava Flow.

As you enjoy your summer, please know that your university is busy preparing for the fall semester, and we are excited to welcome you to campus in August for the start of classes. I promise that you will coming to a place dedicated to creating an environment where you can focus on your higher education and thrive

Mahalo nui loa,

Marcia Sakai
Interim Chancellor

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

Message from Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai: Mahalo for pulling together, caring for our students

Aloha UH Hilo ‘Ohana,

aerial view of campusI want to thank everyone for pulling together to support our students and one another over the last two weeks.

The Kilauea eruption has made what is already a busy time of year very challenging, and we are mindful of those in our UH Hilo ‘ohana and larger Hawai‘i Island community who are directly
affected.

Through this difficult time, all of you stepped up and proved once again that the foundation of this campus is truly driven by the spirit of caring for one another.

Now that we’ve made it through finals, we can look forward to tomorrow’s Commencement exercises to celebrate our graduates’ achievements.

Again, mahalo for all that you do, and I wish everyone the best for a safe and restful summer. I look forward to seeing you in the fall.

Marcia Sakai

UH Hilo announces 2018-2019 Chancellor Scholarship recipients

UH Hilo seal, red lettering University of Hawaii and the state motto.The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo announced today 13 students from public and private high schools in Hawai‘i will be the incoming cohort of Chancellor Scholars this fall.

The 2018-2019 Chancellor Scholarship recipients

  • Michelle Biete, Leilehua High School.
  • Rod Neil Burbano, Honoka‘a High School.
  • Maria dePillis-Shintaku, Waiakea High School.
  • Caleb Kow, Kealakehe High School.
  • Amanda Kurano, University Laboratory School.
  • Christian Lopez, Kapolei High School.
  • Nevan Lowe, Waialua High School.
  • Alyssa Mathews, Waiakea High School.
  • Tara Marie Takafuji, Waiakea High School.
  • Trayden Tamiya, Waiakea High School.
  • Emily Travis, Mililani High School.
  • Chloe Waters, Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i Campus.
  • Megan Woolsey, James Campbell High School.

The scholarship

Each scholarship is valued in excess of $29,000 and covers four years tuition for students graduating from a Hawai‘i high school who have earned either a grade point average of at least 3.5, a combined 1800 SAT (reading, writing, math), or a composite score of 27 on the ACT, while demonstrating leadership and/or community service.

All Chancellor Scholars are required to enroll as full-time students, and earn a minimum of 24 credits each academic year. Each scholar must also maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 and participate in leadership activities and/or community service with other Chancellor Scholars.

 

Media release.

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