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Column by the Chancellor in Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce Newsletter: April 2012

Message from UH Hilo Chancellor Donald O. Straney
Chamber Connection Newsletter
Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce

April 2012

Partnering with UH community colleges to strengthen Hawai‘i’s future

Last fall in this column I wrote about a report by Complete College America stating that by 2020, 68% of jobs in Hawai‘i will require a career certificate or college degree, but currently only 41% of adults have a college degree. The gap: 27%. For a strong economy, the report states, the skills gap must be closed. We simply will not have enough skilled workers to meet the needs of our economy unless many more college and university students graduate.

One way the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is addressing this challenge is by collaborating with the UH community colleges to facilitate seamless transfers into UH Hilo—for example, by giving students “road maps” to use when they begin their college education at Hawai‘i Community College (HawCC) so they will have a plan on how to transfer and achieve baccalaureate degrees at UH Hilo.

Two UH Hilo degrees offered in the HawCC-UH Hilo “pathways” program are Administration of Justice and Business Administration. Currently in discussion for the Pathway Program are HawCC’s Digital Media Arts degree, which would lead into UH Hilo’s BA in Art, and HawCC’s Tropical Forest Ecosystem and Agroforestry Management program leading into UH Hilo agricultural degrees.

HawCC’s Ola Hāloa Hawai‘i Life Styles Program is a part of a proposed initiative by all seven UH community colleges to establish an Associate of Arts in Hawaiian Studies (AAHS) on each campus. The program will provide a smooth transition for students who wish to study indigenous Hawaiian culture and language at the community colleges, earn an associate of arts degree, then transfer to one of UH’s four-year universities. Pending UH Board of Regents approval, the new AAHS program will start in the fall of this year. HawCC and UH Hilo’s Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language are already working together to support students taking classes on both campuses to earn their degrees.

HawCC is proposing an Associate of Science in Natural Science (ASNS) degree to address the needs of students interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Students can use the ASNS degree in natural science to better prepare their science backgrounds or in preparation for transfer to a bachelor of science program at a four-year institution. The proposed degree will provide focused advising and appropriate course sequencing for successful transfer of our students. Collaboration with UH Hilo will be the main focus of this HawCC degree.

I’m also happy to report that UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management is finalizing a state-wide articulation agreement with the UH community colleges that includes 30+ agriculture courses. Credit from Hawai‘i, Kauai, Leeward, and Windward community colleges and Maui College courses can be transferred or substituted in lieu of courses at UH Hilo. This is great news as interest in the community college agriculture programs has increased due to promotion of “local first” advocacy in the culinary programs. Those students will now be able to articulate to UH Hilo to earn degrees.

The UH Hilo Marine Science program is working with Maui College so students can earn UH Hilo Marine Science degrees while mostly staying on Maui. They are taking some courses via Polycom delivery with an ability to interact both ways. For the signature experience of our Marine Science program, where students learn how to design and conduct scientific research in the ocean, Maui students join Hilo students so they can learn directly from the highly research-active faculty of UH Hilo. A framework is being built so that online delivery of marine science classes could be possible in the future to other parts of the island and state.

To address the future needs of our economy, UH Hilo views our partnerships and collaborations with UH community colleges as an important component in being able to successfully provide higher education to the people of the island and state.

For more news about UH Hilo, visit my blog.

Don Straney

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