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,
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are a few of the exciting things happening at UH Hilo as we work together to provide positive learning experiences and support to prepare students to thrive, compete, innovate and lead.
As UH Hilo heads toward the end of the spring 2018 semester and commencement, I’d like to share a few highlights with you.
Earlier in the semester, three UH Hilo students each received a 2018 UH President’s Green Initiative Award recognizing their initiative, innovation, creativity and civic engagement in campus and community sustainability with cash prizes. Kasey Buchanan received the Johnson Controls Green Leader Award for a campus waste reduction project. Kara Spaulding received the HEI Charitable Foundation Green Leader Award for developing sustainability curriculum in the arts and perpetuating natural and cultural resources. Zoe Whitney received an honorable mention for producing a UH Hilo Carbon and Nitrogen Report Card.
Three students from the Marine Options Program at UH Hilo came home in April with four awards from the statewide MOP Student Symposium held on O‘ahu. The annual event features oral and poster presentations by undergraduate students from around the state. This year’s UH Hilo winners: Wheatley Crawley for best poster presentation (conservation at Wai‘opae), Michelle Nason received the John P. Craven Child of the Sea award (project on a coral nursery), and Julia Stewart won best research project (coral research using bioinformatics) and the Ana Toy Ng MOP Memorial award (for contributions to MOP).
These accomplished students—and many others too many to name here in this column—are already contributing in positive ways to local and global communities. Their research, leadership, sustainability, conservation and community-based projects are making an impact. I look forward to seeing more of their academic accomplishments and their work in the world after graduation.
In April, UH Hilo received official designation as a Blue Zones approved workplace. The Blue Zones project is a worldwide initiative to promote healthy living and long lives. UH Hilo now joins a number of businesses and organizations working together to transform Hilo into a Blue Zones community by adopting healthy practices. As an institution of higher learning, we are already well-versed in developing healthy minds. We can now look forward to taking that next step to promoting overall physical well-being. Activities on campus include walking groups, healthy cooking demonstrations, and many other wellness pursuits.
The iconic Hawaiian double-hulled sailing canoe, Hōkūle‘a, visited Hilo in April as part of its statewide “Mahalo Hawaiʻi Sail” as the crew expresses mahalo to numerous communities for their support of the three-year Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage from 2014 to 2017. UH Hilo co-hosted an educational expo in April at Wailoa Pier where hundreds of schoolchildren and others from the East Hawai‘i community enjoyed tours of the Hōkūle‘a and hands-on educational activities to showcase ocean navigation’s connection to science, math, culture and conservation (photos). We’re proud of our very own Pwo Navigator and Captain Kālepa Baybayan and the many other people from the UH Hilo ‘ohana who participated in the worldwide voyage and the recent expo.
A panel discussion on incorporating Hawaiian cultural knowledge with modern western science to meet the sustainability challenges facing Hawai‘i today was held at UH Hilo in February. The discussion was part of the 6th Annual Hawai‘i Sustainability in Higher Education Summit held over the course of three days on Hawai‘i Island. Delegations from all 10 UH campuses gathered to learn from local practitioners, national experts, and each other, and to set the action agenda for upcoming campus initiatives.
On July 1st, the new College of Natural and Health Sciences will be established. It will house the current Division of Natural Sciences, School of Nursing, and Department of Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences. Jim Beets, professor of marine science and current chair of the Division of Natural Sciences, has agreed to serve as the interim dean of the new college. A national search for a permanent dean will soon be launched.
And we have a recent update from UH President David Lassner about the search for the next permanent UH Hilo chancellor, now expected to be completed by the end of 2018 with our new leader in place in spring 2019.
These are just a few of the exciting things happening at UH Hilo as we work together to provide positive learning experiences and support to prepare students to thrive, compete, innovate and lead. I wish you all a safe and wonderful summer.
UH Hilo is dedicated to giving Hawai‘i high school, transfer, and non-traditional students the options they need to earn baccalaureate and advanced degrees here on Hawai‘i Island.
By Marcia Sakai
The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo has a long history of engaging with the local community—in fact, it is because of the extraordinary support of our local community that UH Hilo has grown into a responsive source of higher education, at-the-ready to adapt and expand to meet the needs of our island and state.
In addition, several academic programs at UH Hilo are not offered anywhere else in the state, such as our doctoral and master programs in pharmacy and in Hawaiian language—students who graduate and become professionals in these fields have a great and positive impact on our local communities, and in the social and economic fabric of our island home.
Add to that, our business, management, and marketing programs that are teaching people how to build companies that not only raise the quality of life for their own families but also for their employees and patrons. I have seen in our College of Business and Economics—the college I helped found and where I taught for years—the entrepreneurial spirit grow in students who have then gone on to build the prosperous businesses of their dreams based on the education they received at UH Hilo.
And not surprisingly, a number of our students are looking to become professionals in the field of communication: writers, journalists, professionals in digital and mass media, public relations, ethnography—all trained to share information in the age of information—with a background in critical thinking skills taught as a foundational premise during their undergraduate studies.
In other words, UH Hilo is giving students—whether traditional student, transfer student, returning student, or someone wanting to change professions—the degree pathways that lead to professional careers that have great social and economic impact on our communities.
To support these future leaders while they are in school—to get them over the finish line—we are strengthening and expanding support services from recruitment to retention to graduation.
We are increasing enrollment of first-time students, especially on Hawai‘i Island, and increasing enrollment of transfer students, especially from UH community colleges.
We are refining our financial aid strategy, and have started a new micro-scholarship program where high school students, starting from their freshman year, can earn funds toward a scholarship redeemable only through enrolling at UH Hilo after graduation.
In new programs to assist with the retention of students in their first year at UH Hilo, transfer students are provided with access to better coordinated transfer services and first-year students are eligible to receive the support of a peer mentor.
Living Learning Communities continue to be a big success story at our residence halls where currently over 100 freshmen with a chosen a field of interest are enrolled in courses together and go off-campus together to experience cultural practices, community engagement, and service learning. These bonded groups of students are much more able to stick together as a cohort and reach graduation together as lifelong friends and peers.
UH Hilo is a university made possible by the dedication and support of the surrounding community. We are, in turn, dedicated to giving Hawai‘i high school, transfer, and non-traditional students the options they need to earn baccalaureate and advanced degrees here on Hawai‘i Island.