Aloha and welcome to the new 2016-2017 academic year that is off to a great start as an exciting and eventful year!
Yes! The University of Hawai‘i - West O‘ahu is the place to be. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, UH West O‘ahu is the youngest baccalaureate campus of the University of Hawai‘i System. We have evolved in unique and creative ways over four decades with numerous exemplifications of how the university stimulates the mind, energizes the spirit, rekindles the soul, facilitates student success, and prepares students for careers. As a vibrant campus growing in unprecedented ways, we are at a pivotal time in UHWO‘s history.
The University of Hawai‘i is currently engaged in developing a systemwide Integrated Academic and Facilities Plan (IAFP). The goals of the IAFP process are to clearly define the roles and relationships among the ten UH campuses, avoid unnecessary overlap and duplication of degrees and curriculum, and convey to constituents and stakeholders that the UH System is a comprehensive and affordable higher education institution with coherent, uncomplicated pathways to student success. What is noteworthy is that the interconnections among the 10 UH campuses are being identified and the vital role of UHWO and its importance to the community as a dynamic and flourishing campus within the UH System are increasingly and respectfully acknowledged throughout — as well as external to — the University.
UHWO proudly contributes to the IAFP goals through our six degree programs, thirty-four concentrations, six certificate programs, educational pathways in more than sixty articulation agreements with community colleges, and preparation for career opportunities, most of which were not readily accessible to the community long underserved in higher education in past decades.
The IAFP is a breakthrough for UH West O‘ahu. It now permits proposals such as select master’s degree programs as well as bachelor degree programs in much-needed areas, such as mathematics and science. My intent was to assure UH West O‘ahu’s presence in the deliberations and to represent the aspirations of our faculty and staff. The tenacity in the deliberations was respected by other chancellors, as demonstrated by their agreement to the inclusion of two significant statements in the IAFP which will allow our campus to propose master’s degree programs and bachelor degree programs in very selective areas despite their existence on other UH campuses. These two statements are:
- UHWO avoids duplicating degrees offered by Mānoa and focuses on more applied and general degrees that are distinctive and serve its region, except for select disciplinary degrees offered by Mānoa that would strengthen and enhance its applied programs and address specific educational needs of the West Oʻahu region.
- UHWO provides baccalaureate and potentially limited applied master’s degree programs to students who live and work in West O‘ahu.
Our campus is already seeing positive results from the IAFP. Last month, UH President David Lassner approved our request to extend the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree from an upper division two-year program to a full four-year baccalaureate degree for our new program concentrations not currently offered at the community colleges: Facilities Management (FM), Information Security and Assurance (ISA), and Sustainable Community Food Systems (SCFS). The extension enables students who enter as freshmen or sophomores to choose the BAS program within the first two years of their admission. We plan to propose other initiatives. This fall, we will submit a request approval of: 1) conversion of the Bachelor of Applied Sciences (BAS) from its current provisional status to established status; 2) a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree; and 3) Authorization to Plan (ATP) for a bachelor degree in the Natural Sciences, which will enable concentrations in biology, mathematics, and other needed programs.
The IAFP emphasizes UHWO’s focus on applied and technical baccalaureate programs and refers to the possibility of relocating some historic highly applied programs from UH Mānoa to strengthen UHWO, serve the region, and enable UH Mānoa to focus more on its unique research university mission. The IAFP recognizes UHWO as the campus with the highest percentage of online and distance courses and programs and suggests opportunities to support students at UH University Centers and on all islands with baccalaureate programs, including technical and applied programs. The IAFP further sees the prospect of UHWO as a pioneer of new models such as competency-based and other flexible forms of education that will increase active targets to meet the educational needs of non-traditional students, including active duty military, that are not addressed by other UH baccalaureate campuses.
The IAFP will soon be disseminated throughout the UH System. Stay tuned for updates. Best wishes for a productive and rewarding new 2016-2017 academic year!