UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College ink historic partnershipUniversity of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College (HawCC ushered in a new era of cooperation with the signing of a memorandum of understanding that will enable the schools to promote a new system of coordinating undergraduate classes for students attending both institutions.
The agreement establishes a Degree Pathways Partnership Program, which allows students beginning their college education at HawCC to complete it easily at UH Hilo. The agreement was signed by UH Hilo Chancellor Rose Tseng and HawCC Chancellor Rockne Freitas during a ceremony on the HawCC campus.
"This is a historic day for both institutions," said Tseng. "Through this partnership, we can make educational opportunities available to more students and encourage them to strive for an even higher level of achievement."
The program will increase student access, success and four-year degree completion through improved academic program articulation, admission to and advising from the four-year program to students currently attending HawCC, and better alignment between the learning goals at each institution. Freitas said the program is an idea whose time has come.
"It's about time," Freitas said. "Our students will now have the confidence that the credits they completed and degree they earned will count. We want to thank everyone involved for their efforts in making this happen."
Once an individual program articulation is completed, students in the selected HawCC program will be eligible for future dated admission to the corresponding UH Hilo program following completion of the A.A. or A.S. degree and meeting the admitting program‘s G.P.A. requirement.
"We enroll a lot of students who know they want to attend college but aren‘t necessarily thinking about earning a baccalaureate degree," said Noreen Yamane, HawCC interim assistant dean for academic affairs. "Our hope is that this program will change that dynamic, because we believe there is no reason they wouldn‘t thrive in a four-year institution."
Under the program, representatives from the Offices of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UH Hilo and HawCC will identify programs on each campus that would benefit from an articulation agreement and work with faculty to develop curricular pathways and advising materials to facilitate transfer between the two institutions.
The first of what is expected to be several agreements was signed today between HawCC‘s AA Degree Program and UH Hilo‘s College of Business and Economics (CoBE). The agreement, which commences with fall registration, spells out the courses which will enable students earning their A.A. degree with a business emphasis to make a seamless transition to CoBE.
Although the first to be signed, it is not the first cooperative initiative between the two institutions. The Administration of Justice programs at the two schools have already established an effective linkage whereby students take HawCC courses as electives for the UH Hilo major. That informal agreement is now being expanded to include additional HawCC courses that will apply to the UH Hilo program.
"This really is the model for what we are doing," said Dr. Kenith Simmons, UH Hilo assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs. "The Administration of Justice partnership has shown how well a coordinated approach can work for both schools."
Donette Heyano, a junior pursuing a B.A. in administration of justice, said the UH Hilo — HawCC partnership made all the difference in her life. A non-traditional student, Heyano enrolled at HawCC in 2004 and transferred to UH Hilo in Fall 2007.
"As a first-time college student and single parent, with a full-time job, I questioned whether I was up to the challenge of enrolling directly in a four-year college," Heyano said. "The time I spent at HawCC with the guidance, support, and encouragement I received helped me gain confidence that I could succeed at the next level, and made my education more affordable because of the lower tuition."
While at HawCC, Heyano became a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and was named Distinguished Chapter President of the Pacific Region in 2006- 2007. Upon graduation, she looks forward to a career working in the areas dealing with domestic violence, child abuse, or juvenile justice.
Meanwhile, a future articulation agreement between Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikolani College of Hawaiian Language and the Hawaiian Studies faculty at HawCC is under discussion. The Hawaiian Language faculty from both campuses will be meeting to discuss common learning outcomes expectations for the first- and second-year language courses with the intention of easing transition into junior-level coursework.
Another agreement in the works would establish a partnership between UH Hilo‘s College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM) and HawCC‘s Forestry program. CAFNRM is currently working to create a B.S. with a specialization in forestry, which will form the basis for the partnership.
A key benefit for HawCC transfers and students registering concurrently at the two institutions is a new priority registration. Students admitted under the Degree Pathways Partnership will be afforded access to the faculty member coordinating the joint program at UH Hilo. They will also be able to register via the UHPortal for UH Hilo courses during the school‘s Early Registration period prior to the student‘s first semester.
"UH Hilo and HawCC have enjoyed a long, productive partnership in providing opportunities in higher education," Tseng said. "By making an already transfer-friendly process even more user-friendly, we hope that more students will utilize both institutions in meeting their educational goals."