A major goal of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is to provide support to students to thrive, compete, innovate and lead in their professional and personal lives. This means we have a responsibility to develop best practices that enable students to pursue their own goals with purpose and confidence to see them through to graduation and then beyond to further education or a meaningful career.
One initiative to achieve this goal is a program that UH Hilo is implementing, along with several other UH campuses, to develop a new model of best-practice student advising tools. UH was selected by Complete College America as one of four state teams to participate in a 24-month initiative called Purpose First, where students are encouraged to explore career aspirations early in their college/university years.
This is the trend to success: make a career choice early. Gone are the days of recommending to students that they take general courses for the first two years and not worry about their major until later. Here’s why: An early career choice is then integrated into the student’s academic advising, with decisions made along the way based on real-time, region-specific labor market data currently available and reviewed by the students themselves.
The UH Purpose First initiative, funded by a $1 million grant from Strada Education Network, enables students to pursue their college goals more purposefully and with confidence that their majors match their academic and personal strengths. They are also given a clearer understanding of future career opportunities.
Examples of activity underway at UH Hilo toward Purpose First include annual career fairs for the entire campus designed to connect students with employers from across the state, development of a shared plan for Career Advising between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, and the inclusion of career topics in all classes.
In tandem, we’re transforming many traditional courses of study into interdisciplinary undergraduate curriculum that is more responsive to preparing graduates for further education or employment and leadership in the 21st century.
Evaluation of the effectiveness of these efforts will be implemented in fall 2019.
Enrollment Management Plan
The Purpose First program is part of our updated Enrollment Management Plan geared to preparing competent and transformational leaders of tomorrow through a data-driven enrollment management process from recruitment, to persistence, to graduation and beyond.
The plan calls for UH Hilo to increase its enrollment through strategic recruitment, well-rounded student support, and focused retention efforts. We’ve increased communication and access to financial aid information, adjusted awarding of institutional aid to support retention, expanded and enhanced digital outreach (email, web, and social media), increased UH community college transfer events and recruitment, and implemented texting communications for accepted students.
To coordinate and oversee many new and existing undergraduate retention strategies, we’ve launched the ʻOpihi Student Success program with new hires to do proactive inreach to current students focused on registration and student support, and outreach to potential returning students who stopped out of UH Hilo but were within 15 credits of graduation.
We’ve also increased participation in the peer mentoring program for new freshmen and transfer students. Mass communication has expanded to remind students about important deadlines, processes, and events.
Further, in collaboration with the College of Business and Economics and the College of Arts and Sciences, ʻOpihi conducted individual reviews of progress to degrees for all 2,529 students at sophomore, junior or senior standing, including exchange students. And in addition to the students who stopped out, outreach is underway to students who experienced registration errors, and others who were deemed prospective returning students.
The goal of our new Enrollment Management Plan is to make UH Hilo a viable and successful choice for students from Hawai‘i, the continental U.S., and abroad who are interested in making an impact in a rapidly changing and diverse society. For details about the activities I’ve discussed in this column and more, see the Hilo section of UH System Enrollment Management Report released last month.
Message from the University of Hawai‘i System Offices:
Aloha to all UH students, faculty and staff,
In light of recent federal efforts to revise regulations protecting students against sex discrimination, the University of Hawai‘i reaffirms its commitment to ensuring safe and respectful campus environments where everyone can strive toward their academic, career and personal goals. The issue of sex discrimination and gender-based violence is prevalent on college campuses nationwide, and UH is working to continue the progress already made toward addressing these issues on our campuses.
Students as well as our entire community have important roles to play by being aware of the issues, watching out for one another and reporting violations. Everyone is encouraged, if they have not already, to take the free, online Title IX training for students.
The interpersonal skill of accurate empathy is a learnable ability with over 60 years of scientific evidence for its value in improving client outcomes. Though sometimes regarded as a “nonspecific” factor in counseling and psychotherapy, it is in fact well-specified and reliably measurable. It is the most studied of Carl Rogers’s three “necessary and sufficient” therapeutic conditions for change.
Prof. Miller has been studying and teaching accurate empathy for over 40 years, and it is a foundational skill in his well-known clinical method of motivational interviewing. Empathic listening is shown to improve outcomes in cognitive-behavior therapy. More generally, it is a valuable skill in interpersonal relationships, and one that he has often taught to clients, paraprofessionals, and clergy. This six-hour workshop will use a “tell-show-try” approach, with explanation, demonstration, and ample experiential practice of component skills.
William Miller is emeritus distinguished professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of New Mexico where he served as director of clinical training and co-founder of the Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Addictions. He specializes in the development, testing, and dissemination of behavioral treatments for addictions.
With 45 years of experience in research and treatment, he has served as principal investigator for numerous research grants and contracts, founded a private practice group, directed a large public treatment program, and served as a consultant to many organizations including the United States Senate, the World Health Organization, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Institutes of Health. He maintains an active interest in the interface of spirituality and psychology.
Miller’s publications include over 50 books and 400 articles and chapters, and the Institute for Scientific Information has listed him as one of the world’s most cited scientists.
We at UH Hilo take seriously our kuleana to help provide the workforce for new growth sectors in our economy, the scientific experts to help conserve the precious environment of our island and state, and the technological resources necessary for our communities to meet unexpected crises.
I look forward to the coming year as progress and growth continues at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. I’d like to focus this month’s column on a major goal of the university: to strengthen UH Hilo’s impact on the community, island, and state through responsive higher education, community partnerships, and knowledge and technology transfer.
Responsive higher education
The new building to house the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy is well on its way to completion in July. The modern classrooms, offices, student services, and laboratories will answer the great need for state-of-the-art facilities to train the pharmacists who will serve communities in our state and region.
Last month, our new bachelor of science in aeronautical sciences program was approved by the UH Board of Regents. There are two tracks: one in commercial professional pilot training and the other in commercial aerial information technology (drones)—both are projected workforce needs in the state. The pilot training track is cost effective compared to mainland programs. The drone track trains students for growing career opportunities in agriculture, natural resource management, search and rescue, security services, and expected air transport services.
UH Hilo launched its long-planned data science program this past fall by offering a certificate in the fast-growing field. The program is filling a need in the state because almost every branch of science collects massive amounts of data, but there are not a lot of trained people able to analyze that data and make conclusions—for example, here on our island, there is a great need in conservation efforts, water resource management, and climate change research.
Partnerships are key to conducting effective scientific inquiry into 21st century challenges. Here is an example in the field of conservation biology, specifically research to save the endangered ‘alalā (Hawaiian crow) from extinction.
In collaboration with a Silicon Valley company that provides sophisticated genomic analysis systems, geneticists at UH Hilo and San Diego Zoo Global have fully sequenced the genome of the endangered ‘alalā. Once reduced to a population of about 20 birds, the sequencing of the species’ genome will be important to track any genetic challenges that may occur due to the reduced genetic diversity now seen in the species. This is an extremely important contribution to conservation genetics. The genome assembly is now publicly available.
Another research team, this one from the UH Hilo Bioacoustics Lab, recently received a $50,000 award from the Disney Conservation Fund to work in collaboration with the ʻAlalā Project, a partnership between the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, San Diego Zoo Global, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to find out if captively reared ‘alalā are developing new vocalizations as they adapt to new situations encountered in the wild. This information will greatly assist in the conservation efforts of ʻalalā.
Knowledge and technology transfer
UH Hilo’s response to the recent lava flow in Puna is a good example of the university sharing its expert knowledge and technology resources for the benefit of our local communities.
Another research team from UH Hilo conducted real-time chemistry analysis of lava samples that helped determine how the lava would behave and how fast it would move. The data provided critical information to the U.S. Geological Survey scientists responding to the natural disaster. The samples were collected daily from the flows, bagged and dated, and brought back to the Hilo campus for analysis. It was the first time scientists looked at the chemistry at the same time the volcano was erupting.
Yet another research team provided precise leveling of the ground around the Puna power plant to detect whether the surface was rising due to the flow of magma beneath the surface. The monitoring would alert officials if the facility was about to be compromised.
The longer-term scientific value of the data collected by these research teams helps government officials better understand these types of eruptions so that responders can do an even better job of predicting in the future.
We at UH Hilo take seriously our kuleana to help provide the workforce for new growth sectors in our economy, the scientific experts to help conserve the precious environment of our island and state, and the technological resources necessary for our communities to meet unexpected crises. By working together with our local communities and in collaboration with myriad partners, we help improve the quality of life for everyone.