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The University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UH Mānoa) is part of the University of Hawai‘i System which is composed of nine campuses total.  UH Mānoa is the only Research I institution in the System and the only public Research I institution in the State. The bulk of Hawaiians participating in higher education does so in the University of Hawai‘i System and, as expected, the majority of those students are in the community colleges.  In the State of Hawai‘i, Hawaiians composed about 23% of the State’s total population.  At UH Mānoa, Hawaiians make up approximately 12% of the undergraduate population (about 2,000) and about 10% of the graduate and professional school population (about 633).  And although the UH Mānoa student body is predominantly of color, Caucasian faculty constitute 65.5% of the tenure-track faculty.   Hawaiians compose only 4% of the tenure-track faculty.  Both Hawaiian faculty and students are concentrated in the following disciplines: Hawaiian Language, Hawaiian Studies, Education, and, just recently, Political Science.  Although there is a significant number of Hawaiians on the Mānoa campus, our presence continues to pale in comparison to other populations (like Japanese Americans and Chinese Americans) and in relation to the larger Mānoa population – Hawaiians also persist at lower rates than other populations as well.  As such, programs which help Hawaiian students make connections across campus plays a very important role in their successful higher education matriculation.

As illustrated above, Native Hawaiian students at UH-Mānoa are a rare find — rarer still are those Native Hawaiians who actually graduate.  If we extend the idea of an educational pipeline to this discussion, even rarer are the profession­als (including faculty members) at the end of the pipeline. Part of the answer to addressing the concerns of building and supporting the educational pipeline especially for under-rep­resented populations, such as Native Hawai­ians, is to provide student services programs which address the successes, challenges, and cultural norms of these populations.

Recognizing the continually growing need for institutional support to facilitate higher educational success among Native Hawaiian students, Kūali‘i Council[1] advocated for the creation of Native Hawaiian Student Services (NHSS) to provide another permanent sup­port program for ‘ōiwi (native) students.

With the birth of Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge in June 2007, NHSS found a nurturing and supportive home to grow and develop its organizational identity. As part of the School, NHSS has two distinct but related broad kuleana (responsibility): to serve Hawai‘inuiākea majors and to serve all Native Hawaiian students. NHSS encourages the broad participation of Native Hawaiians at UH Mānoa.

[1] Kualii Council is Native Hawaiian advocacy and advisory group at UH Mānoa composed of faculty, staff, and students who are Native Hawaiian and/or are concerned with the status of Native Hawaiians in higher education.

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