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West Winds

October 2016

’Tis a season of harvest!  Across America, communities are reaping and celebrating fruits of their labor after months of planting, sowing, toiling the fields. 

UH West O‘ahu is also celebrating outcomes of months of diligent work that keep our campus moving forward, addressing students’ needs, and doing all we can to help students succeed in a campus environment that inspires learning and growth. Each of the following campus developments represents the fruits of many months of detailed planning, processing, and perseverance by our dedicated faculty and staff. I extend heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for months of hard work and earnest efforts of everyone who facilitated the following developments. 

Enrollment Growth. Our 9.2 percent enrollment increase this fall brings our total to 2,939 students! This is a credit to our faculty/staff for the meaningful curricula, welcoming campus, and well-maintained buildings and grounds that inspire quality teaching and learning. Mahalo and kudos to the student recruitment and enrollment management teams for their efforts (and sweat); the communications staff and creative media students and faculty for the catchy, irresistible commercials; and the buildings, grounds, and security crews for supporting academics and campus life! 

Financial aid. Scholarships and aid are critical to college attendance for many students. After a lengthy search process, we are pleased to have a new Director of Financial Aid. A modified outreach effort is launched to provide better service to students on financial aid matters, including transfer credit evaluations, stepped-up reminders and announcements to complete applications, assistance in veteran certifications, and follow-up phone calls to check on all students’ progress.

ADA Accessibility. Our administrative services and architect staffs have spent a great deal of time on a project to enhance accessibility on campus, including the installation of automatic door openers to a main entrance door to the Library and to the men's and women's ground floor restrooms in Classroom Building D, which were not provided by the original installation of the doors. The plans are now being finalized and prepared for the bid process. Future, long-range plans will include improvements to the entrance to the campus dining room. 

Student Retention. The most recent data on UHWO student retention from the freshman to sophomore years show an improvement over previous years at 70%+ which is above the norm of our peer institutions. Thank you, everyone, for your hard work that enabled the positive outcomes. We look forward to even higher success rates next year!

Pueo (Hawaiian owl) Concerns. Over the past months, we have engaged in discussions and meetings with community groups on the pueo—our UHWO mascot and an endangered species in Hawai‘i. In UHWO’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for our property and avifaunal/feral mammal field survey, no native land birds were recorded. However, sightings of the pueo have been reported in the region. We are monitoring the pueo around our campus and will report to state Department of Land and Natural Resources and Department of Fish and Wildlife officials any sighting of pueo ground nesting. We are preparing informational material that will be placed throughout the campus to enhance awareness of UHWO’s pueo protocol.

Emergency operations. We are working to improve our emergency operations and communications to ensure that our campus is aware and prepared in the event of an actual emergency. Thank you for your participation in the evacuation/fire drill last week. I’ve been told that everyone evacuated the building within one minute, 20 seconds! This is commendable! Congratulations, everyone!

UHWO – HTIC Collaborations. Our UHWO faculty, staff, and administrators are engaged in productive dialog and exchange with the HawaiĘ»i Tokai International College officials to develop a meaningful and mutually beneficial agreement for collaboration in curriculum, course enrollment, intramural sports and other campus activities, technology use, food services, health services, library use, and other arrangements. We are excited about the planning of the UHWO student study abroad at Tokai-Sapporo next summer!

Groundbreaking and other discussions. While some initiatives receive the bulk of publicity on the campus, such as the anticipated Allied Health/Administration building groundbreaking, there are numerous other discussions and actions going on behind the scenes that address the needs of the campus. Your administration strives to address your concerns and welcomes your expressions and thoughts. Your insights help us understand how we can improve and continue our path to a successful institution.