skip to Main Content

July 20, 2020

Final Summary

The UH Mānoa New First-time Students Working Group is responsible for developing a plan to enroll and engage new students within the unique COVID-19 environment. This planning was necessary because a first-time student’s college experience is varied and multi-faceted. It is vital for the university community to provide a comprehensive, inclusive and continuously engaging first-year experience that fosters student learning and success. The working group identified key areas of concern for first-time students who are impacted by COVID-19 and proposed solutions (while anticipating where resources need to be allocated to ensure a successful fall semester).

The working group’s full report is available for public review and covers these areas of concern for first-time students:

  • First-time students include any new student to the campus (freshmen, transfer students and graduate students)
  • The health and safety of students is the university’s top priority. As stated by the Hawaiʻi Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the university will follow required and suggested protocols for the safety of our students, faculty and staff. Please see the University of Hawaiʻi COVID-19 guidelines for details.
  • Admissions and student recruitment have transitioned to a virtual environment and continues to offer information and assistance to new students and their families.
  • Engagement and retention have been revamped to give first-time students the opportunity to connect with each other and become successful academically and socially. We are working on a series of online and face-to-face opportunities (with proper protocols in place) for students to engage outside of the classroom.
  • The university will continue to follow quarantine guidelines issued by the state of Hawaiʻi.
  • Student housing will be giving priority to non-Oʻahu freshmen, exemption groups (athletics, special needs, residential learning programs), neighbor island renewals and other renewals.
  • Summer advising will be delivered virtually to provide students with an overview of how their requirements work, to introduce them to academic resources on campus and to begin planning their academic journey at UH Mānoa.
  • New student orientation has transitioned to online delivery. A schedule has been created to introduce students to the university, orientation leaders and a variety of UH Mānoa faculty and staff.
  • First-year program Access to College Excellence is a first-year college academic experience that creates clusters of less than 15 students who share the same major and are enrolled in the same courses to develop social and academic relationships.
  • Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED) first-year programs College Opportunities Program, Mānoa Access Initiative, Hawaiʻi Undergraduate Initiative will continue to offer modified versions of these programs.
  • Graduate students will have a New Graduate Student Orientation integrated into the five-week virtual welcome of all students. Throughout the fall semester there will be webinar events hosted by the Graduate Division for students to develop their professional and personal skills.

UH Mānoa is committed to providing first-time students and their ʻohana with all the necessary resources, tools and skills to navigate their new environment, as well as arranging alternatives for first-time students to engage with one another to build the social bonds that help them successfully find a sense of community.


  • R. Shabazz (Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management, and Director of Admissions)

Core membership includes the following and we will invite contributing members to develop and present plans as needed and requested:

Working Group Members

  • Dave Akana (Associate Director, Student Housing Services)
  • Krystyna Aune (Dean, Graduate Division)
  • Ron Cambra (Assistant Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs)
  • Tom Conway (College of Education and Chair, MFS SEC)
  • Abigail Huliganga Hurgo (Assistant Director, Admissions)
  • Lori Ideta (Interim Vice Chancellor for Students)
  • Punihei Lipe (Native Hawaiian Affairs and Kualiʻi Council)
  • Laura Lyons (Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs)
  • Andrew Nichols (Director, University Health Services)
  • Christine Quemuel (Director, SEED)
  • Roxie M. Shabazz (Lead, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Director of Admissions)
  • Sabrina Fallejo Uganiza (Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Students)

Contributing Working Group Members

  • Kyle Van Duser (Director, First-Year Programs)
  • Leilani Takeuchi Harjati (Academic Advisor, Manoa Advising Center for Exploratory Students)
  • Kevin F. Kaneshiro ( Assistant to the AVC Enrollment Management)
  • Jennel Sesoko (EM Branding and Marketing Manager)
  • Rosemary V. Woodruff (Director Learning Assistance Center)
  • Ryan Yamaguchi (Associate Director, Admissions)

Scope of Work

Provide a smooth transition for new first-time students into Mānoa within a COVID-19 environment, and develop strategies to help new students engage and connect with each other and the campus community within the context of health and safety guidelines.

Back To Top