The University of Hawaiʻi System of higher education has been selected by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to join a nationwide group of 12 higher education systems exploring higher education transformation at a large scale and solving common issues encountered during implementation.
UH aims to create innovative tools that provide real-time information on academic progress to students, academic advisors and administrators. These tools will enhance UH’s ability to respond quickly and more effectively to the needs of students, and aid students’ progress toward timely degree completion, which is one of UH’s systemwide goals.
Hawaiʻi needs more citizens with postsecondary degrees and training to ensure its future competitiveness in a global knowledge based economy. “Today, only 42 percent of Hawaiʻi’s citizens hold a two or four-year degree and our younger generation (25–34 year-olds) are not as well educated as their parents or grandparents,” said Interim UH President David Lassner. He continued, “Increasing the educational capital of the State of Hawaiʻi is essential because it is estimated that, by 2018, 65 percent of jobs in Hawaiʻi will require some college education. We are the sole public higher education system in Hawaiʻi, and support for innovative approaches from strategic and forward-looking partners like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be essential to help us achieve our 55 by ’25 statewide goal,” Lassner concluded.
The 55 by ’25 Campaign, sponsored by the Hawaiʻi P–20 Partnerships for Education, establishes the state’s education goal to have 55 percent of working age adults hold a college degree by 2025. Since 2008, when the Hawaiʻi Graduation Initiative was launched, UH has increased the number of graduates with two- and four-year degrees by 27 percent and the number of students transferring from UH community colleges to four-year campuses has increased by 30 percent.
Other partner higher education systems selected for the initiative are University of Texas System, University of Wisconsin System, Utah System of Higher Education, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, the State University of New York, University System of Maryland, University of North Carolina, California State University, University System of Georgia, Montana University System and the Tennessee Board of Regents.